Pegeen Finishes our Spa Blue Heaven House

SO… this is going to be a really long post. Forgive my indulgence but I am really proud of the results.

On a recent trip up north for a wedding, my family asked me to post more photos of our home.  I was asked how we were attracted to this house in the first place – and my immediate answer was that the outside was painted, of all colors, my favorite shade of aqua – Pegeen Blue!

Painted swing  - Pegeen Finishes by

The interiors were all white but that left me that pallet to do what I had been dying to do – multiple shades of spa blues, sea glass and tiffany blue throughout the interior.  Because most of Florida tends to be new construction, and since we loved renovating older homes, this new home/old Key West charm was the attraction.  We loved the old doors on the second floor in each of the bedrooms (although my grown up sons find it odd that they are all-glass) are antique window paned doors.

Antique Bedroom Doors  - Pegeen Finishes by

PAINT: Colors used through out the house we primarily custom-mixed as i gave swatches of fabrics to the great paint crew at my local Home Depot but there were many colors used that came from the OOPS table there.  I used them especially for the wash of the antiques (yep I painted most of my antiques and even re-purposed some,

Repurposed Breakfront for TV

We re-purposed a mahogany Breakfront for the TV as well as repainted almost all of our antiques

PAINT COLORS:  Even though I am a children’s wear designer, I still believe that I could be born again as a MIXOLOGIST! I found that most paint colors had too much hue or the “whites” were too washed out. Except for using Behr’s Honeydew (lime green) because it was an exact match for the plaid in my antique Drunkard’s Bench for our reading nook and Teal Ice for the office, I really had to start from scratch. Remember the scene from “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House?” Well that was me – red, blue, green, yellow, white. I LITERALLY had to take pieces of tile, our Pegeen Website background, fabric swatches and spa glass I collected over the years and because there was this WONDERFUL staff (and manager MJ) at my local Home Depot, I was able to accomplish the exact shades of Spa Blues that I required for the house. I tested them too on a board and later hung the board on the wall.

Tested paint board  - Pegeen Finishes by

Many of the fabrics come from our silks we now carry and since I had difficulty achieving precise colors from brands such as Valspar, Ralph Lauren, Glidden, Porter, Benjamin Moore, I found that working with the paint team at Home Depot on a custom basis worked best for me. I also found their “oops colors” ($5 a can) worked great for my dry brushing technique for our antiques that I learned from painting scenery in my Theater Days…. I mean there was almost no piece of furniture I didn’t paint. Once I found out no one wanted to buy my antiques I had collected, I took to the paintbrush and a piece of cardboard to wipe off excess (men’s shirt cardboard works the best).

I was able to put my mix and match set of glassware and various collections together to form a set of dishes x30 years into marriage but they held together.

Fiesta Ware from Dillards with Mexican blown-glass from Amici

Fiesta Ware in Lime, Turquoise and Teal with Mexican blown-glass from Amici and additional glass ware from Pier One

When we started to look for a place, we needed one that was smaller since our children were off to college but something that if grand kids finally come, we had room.  Recently, we were able to entertain with 14 overnight guests and still had room without putting them up on our office floor.  The open floor plan was perfect for entertaining.

Great Room - Pegeen Finishes by

Reading Room - Pegeen Finishes by

Our goal was to find a place that was a fairly clean and open canvas but one we could personalize. I didn’t want to put a lot of time into renovating (been there and done that) but the house was SO white on the inside that it was really the perfect place for me to experiment and display all the turquoise “things” we had collected. The house is located on one of the many lakes situated near Downtown Orlando. We really were looking for a home that would be the perfect visual spot for our weekend office….I was so tired of looking at basements, train tracks and brick walls when away from the factory. So I was particularly interested in a lake view.

Lake view with turquoise swing - Pegeen Finishes by

Though the house doesn’t have a pool yet, it has a tropical feeling and I will be able to look at it in the rear as well as my lovely lake views in the front. It will be a lot of fun for us to design the pool and spa area as we are looking to make it recreational and very kid friendly for my kids will start families of their own and we are thinking building one to suit (like a lazy river) and a REALLY big bar area! LOL.

Truly a spectacular LAZY RIVER pool. From[/caption%5D

I really had to thank this wonderful upholsterer (Beverly’s Interiors) in Winter Park for her fabulous work – and the fabrics I was after was again, pretty much in one pallet throughout the home so I headed to this great chain throughout Florida called Boca Bargoons who carries all fabrics from Lee Jofa, Pindler, Brunschwig & Fils and so many more – I was going for this 1950’s Tropical Barkcloth look in that Frank Sinatra “A Hole in the Head” or “from Here to Eternity” look.

[caption id="attachment_486" align="alignnone" width="640"]Truly, a GREAT ROOM Truly, a GREAT ROOM

Besides the experiment in color, I find that Pier One has that “look” for accessories but I am always scouring Tuesday Mornings, Marshalls and of course flea markets and auctions….. There is this fabulous one in Dover NJ called Berman’s that my kids used to go to with me – a really great source for art deco and really any period and I wish there was an auction house like that here that I could find. I also shop a lot in Naples FL as well as nags Head for certain things but again, we are talking life time of collecting.

Upholstered stool from our 1760's antique drunkards bench  - Pegeen Finishes by

1920's Art Deco glass table and chair - Pegeen Finishes by

Water color from our NJ Tudor Home  - Pegeen Finishes by

The house color and style (Key West Style) quickly sold us after our search for a lake Home. Literally I searched on the internet for months but then, once I saw this house was turquoise blue I almost couldn’t contain myself… I knew it was mine even before we saw the house. We walked out on the dock and looked back at the house (with our agent) and wrote it up right there.

My entire hope was that I could “brand” my house in Pegeen Blue and from the porches to the bedrooms, my inspiration were spa glass colors – piece of glass worn long by the ocean from my childhood in the then tiny town of Sea Isle City NJ. I have been lugging glass around since the late 1950’s and anytime I saw one, I would pick it up and wonder where it came from. The real excitement was when you found a glass that was turquoise or teal that was unlike any other in my collection.

Closet Office

Closet Office

 Cribbage board and game collection - Pegeen Finishes by  Cribbage board and game collection - Pegeen Finishes by Pegeen Finishes by Repainted china cabinet - Pegeen Finishes by Kitchen view - Pegeen Finishes by Reading room - Pegeen Finishes by Repainted china cabinet - Pegeen Finishes by Repainted and formerly built-in bookcase Pegeen Finishes by Repainted china cabinet - Pegeen Finishes by Kitchen view - Pegeen Finishes by reading area and home office - Pegeen Finishes by

I think this house, my Pegeen Blue “turquoise” house is a real bit of Spa Heaven.

Guest bedroom  - Pegeen Finishes by Young man's bedroom - Pegeen Finishes by Master bedroom - Pegeen Finishes by Master bedroom - Pegeen Finishes by Young man's bedroom - Pegeen Finishes by Master bathroom - Pegeen Finishes by Hallroom - Pegeen Finishes by Young man's bedroom - Pegeen Finishes by Stairwell - Pegeen Finishes by Laundry room - Pegeen Finishes by

Also at Berman’s in Dover NJ, we were able to purchase quite a bit of antique glass and some of them fit perfectly in bathroom and bedroom windows.

Antique glass windows bought at auctions - Pegeen Finishes by

Antique glass windows bought at auctions – Pegeen Finishes by

Antique Glass  - Pegeen Finishes by

Antique Glass  - Pegeen Finishes by

I had a blast with spray paint from Rustoleum – I mean LOOK at these colors! My projects ranged from painting the antique bird cage to a flower “bed” for my yard.  Krylon’s website is much better to see their colors – but I am pretty sure they are the Lowe’s choice and I usually shop Home Depot that carries Painter’s Touch.

Summer Porch - Pegeen Finishes by Deck and swing- Pegeen Finishes by Antique Finch Cage- Pegeen Finishes by Pegeen.comGarden "bed" - Pegeen Finishes by

Rustoleum Spray Paint projects:  Keylime Chairs. Lagoon coffee table and flower "bed", Aqua swing and bird cage and Fern Green porch tables

Rustoleum Spray Paint projects: Keylime Chairs. Lagoon coffee table and flower “bed”,  Aqua swing and bird cage and Fern Green porch tables and Silver for the chandelier

Painted chandellier - Pegeen Finishes by

Since I have been designing my whole life, whether it was the red fur lined cape I made in 3rd grade or doll house furniture made of sponges (my mom’s idea), I have always been imagining, designing, playing with fabrics. A trained dancer, I have my masters degree in dance and theatre arts.  As a kid, I used to either perform in plays or help paint or construct sets for plays. In college I learned from some of the best in Theater Arts.  I think it helped me transition into children’s clothing and especially like the Christmas Season when I create the several hundred Clara Party Scene dresses from Pegeen’s Nutcracker Collection.  The house finally gives me the view I craved for over 30 years of seeing cinder block walls.Pegeen Design Studio   - Pegeen Finishes by

I started my children’s wear company PEGEEN shortly after my sister’s daughter, now 35 or so, was born. Although I no longer have to sew as I have some really great seamstresses that work for me, I still do what I did as a small girl, create clothes for my “dolls” – and now they are just a bit bigger…. As in the flower girl dresses we now produce. My design studio was built so that can work the long hours that I do and create the website or work on new designs for my clothing line. PLUS it’s really nice when you need to make curtains to have the girls sew it for you instead~ !! Weekend Design Studio Weekend Design Studio

Finally, I have had a good time working on the outside garden. Eventually, I will work on doing something at the waters edge but for now, I am just happy to remove much of this Augustine Grass.  Pegeen Finishes by Pegeen Finishes by Porch -  Pegeen Finishes by Porch -  Pegeen Finishes by Pegeen.comPorch -  Pegeen Finishes by

Well, that’s all.  Thanks to my sister-in-law Joanne who gave me the nicest compliment – “Can I live here”?

Getting ready for two weddings in our family….. weird, I don’t feel that old.

Somehow, I don’t remember getting older.  It definitely feels like not too long ago that my husband and I were planning our wedding…. or so should I say my mother was.  In the 1980’s you pretty much left the work to your mother.  So it was for me as well.  I was busy building my business and really, things were left for the most part in her hands but that is another story.

My niece Joan, getting married this Saturday, is really the reason I got into children’s wear in the first place.  After an injury in dance, my oldest sister started hawking my goods, encouraging me along the way.  As a matter of fact, the reason I got into children’s bridal wear some 4 years after starting Pegeen was because at the time I could not find any children’s clothing that I was in love with for my wedding.  Hard to believe that 29 years ago, I created my first flower girl dress for my niece Joan, using some antique laces I had accumulated and some gorgeous silk I had in my possession for 10 years for my niece’s flower girl dress.  (I also had a cousin in the wedding wearing a ring bearer suit, again from Pegeen).  Luckily for me, WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) picked up the wedding and I was off to a great start for our bridal collection.  My point too is that it is hard to believe that my flower girl, now a doctor, is getting married.  I have had many customers who do call me and say, “Hi Pegeen! When I was little, I was a flower girl and now I need to have you make a flower girl dress for my wedding”, or even stranger to hear, for her daughter.  When did I get so old?  I don’t feel that way.

Our first Pegeen flower girl dress

Our first Pegeen flower girl dress, 1985

Since that time, Pegeen offers 200 colors and a boat load of styles and includes the new dress we designed for my nephew’s wedding being held next month. Below here is that dress for the children in Daniel’s and Jeanie’s wedding and I must say, times have changed!  For example this dress, filled with tons of Swarovski Crystals on the front and back and on the skirt,  what is a flower girl dress without tons and tons of tulle, silk and crystals? In the 80’s when I began my first flower girl dress collection, the choice was white or ivory and I was having none of that.  Dresses were shorter and God forbid, too fluffy. Now, the bigger the better (well, we still have some fairly conservative, classic styles on our original collection).  At Pegeen we still say “Anything but a white dress”.

I will be very proud to see Daniel and Jeanie’s children going down the aisle in our flower girl dress style 904, “Topaz” from the Fairytale Collection!  More photos coming!

Toffee Flower Girl Dresses with Swarovski Crystals - Pegeen Fairytale Collection style 904

Toffee Flower Girl Dresses with Swarovski Crystals – Pegeen Fairytale Collection style 904

The Rangers Won – well they are in the finals

Let me start by saying, I am NOT a hockey fan.  In fact, I am not a fan of sports at all really but in a house of testosterone, with three men, I can’t avoid it, hard as I try.  My husband loves the NY Rangers and it has been 19 years since their last Stanley Cup Win.  He has made my oldest son a fanatic and even my book worm gets excited at the playoffs and finals.  Three men… three margaritas for me.

Teddy with googles

Well tomorrow night is game four of the finals and it has been exciting thus far, I know because I am upstairs watching Netflix, or doing laundry, or at the computer, working of course…. anything but not watching hockey.  HOWEVER, I hear the screams and the oh no’s and wooohhhooooots and I think, this is positively the best time to get my work done.

I even came into watch the last few nail-biting minutes of game three (did I actually say that?)  So maybe, I like hockey after all.  Maybe I can experiment with the margaritas while they are watching.  I like watermelons.  Watermelons and margaritas?  Yum

Margarita recipe: I got hooked on these after going to dinner last summer at Outback.  I wish I knew where the black salt could be purchased but then again, if I did that, I would REALLY raise my blood pressure, especially during the hockey finals.  Did I really say that?

Found a great recipe for Watermelon Margaritas on The Chew.  Tomorrow is game 4 of the Rangers v. LA Kings… definitely trying this.  Tonight however I am going to catch up on “Jack” (beloved 24) and try my old tried and true recipe.  I have to make watermelon salsa for tomorrow anyhow.  Not that I really am into cooking, that’s what my man is for, but on Friday’s I do TRY.  More on that later.


Published: Our Turquoise House

It has been a lot of fun this past year moving into a new home and getting some recognition for our hard efforts.  My husband and I had rennovated many homes including a 1928 Tudor and let me say, it was really hard for all of my family to sell that house and move to the warm weather of Florida, but we did.

DSC_1479Our new home is located on a lake in Orlando and we have really enjoyed working on this project.  We started with a color pallet of all shades of spa glass, reminders of my yesteryear on the Jersey Coast and picking up glass that was well worn by the ocean currents.  I used to love it when I would find glass in deep shades of turquoise or indigo blue in an age when everything was put in glass bottles and not plastic or tin cans.  Well, not entirely but Milk of Magnesia was my favorite glass to find – it’s deep blue and a small bottle factory in Central South Jersey would bottle their products in a deep turquoise color.  Then washed on the sea beaches were evidence of glass once used and after a hurricane, it was like discovering hidden treasures.  Sometimes I would find whole bottles, sometimes just broken pieces.

Years later, now, those colors inspired me to paint the inside of our home in those beautiful colors.   Last month, in April, our finished home was featured in House of Turquoise.  Home sweet home 🙂 – here it is.

Our Turquoise House

Our Turquoise House – Pegeen Finishes, Interior Design



Newborn Twins Photographed Holding Hands


It has been said “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”. The viral photo of newborn twins holding hands is a heartwarming encapsulation of what should be their marching orders as they begin their life’s journey. As twins they will share an even deeper bond than that of other siblings, and as twin girls, even more so.

Jillian and Jenna Thistlethwaite faced their first challenge with breathing difficulties after birth, needing respirators for a short period. The identical twin girls shared the same amniotic sac and placenta. Such births are called monoamniotic, or “mono mono,” and doctors say they occur in about one of every 10,000 pregnancies. They will face many more hills to climb in their lives, but those hills will not be as steep if they face them, metaphorically, hand in hand.

Boyfriends and girlfriends may come and go, but sisters are forever.

Bruce Willis: Parenting at 59

Bruce Willis and his wife, Emma Heming-Willis, welcomed a new daughter, Evelyn Penn Willis, into the world the other day. What has made this remarkable, besides the joy of a new birth, which we should celebrate in any event, is that Willis is 59 years old. Some might say that 59 is too old to deal fairly with all the issues parenting raises. Others point to the statistics that say older parents are much more likely produce progeny with disabilities. Baby Evelyn is healthy and doing fine.

What struck me at first was how I would might meet the challenge of raising a newborn (Bruce is five months older than me). I recall how tired I was most of the time with my two boys as a father who was 37 and 40 years old at their births. My wife and I were work-at-home parents when the boys were young, arranging our office either really near to our home or finally an office within our home, so I was blessed to be around to watch them grow up. I wouldn’t have traded that for anything. I treasure all the memories from those precious years, but they were a handful for me in my forties. Without my wife’s help, well… I might have needed a rest camp.

My wife and I chose at the time to have “nanny at home” much the same way she was raised. The girl came to our home and was responsible for taking the kids to parks or events we could not attend though being near his school, we always could to get to as many events, Halloween Parades and games as we could. But hair cuts? No, we weren’t at each and every clipping. We were never comfortable having our children too far from sight especially after one nanny quit in the middle of the day, leaving my youngest at the Mall Police Station saying she couldn’t cope any more. While the police loved him for the forty minutes it took us to get there, crying, my youngest was a handful. He’s a brilliant kid now happy and healthy at an Ivy League school and had we not been hands on/home based business folk we never would have all those moments with him to learn about him

Bruce and Emma, even with consuming careers such as ours were, can hire nannies to help with all those tasks that tire out 59 year olds however from appearances sake, he seems to be a very hands on parent. Who isn’t? We love our kids. We love to be with them. And yes ladies, men love the way they smell too. Although I was tired, somehow at an older age I was able to deal with my children quite differently than if I were in my twenties. SO, I traded wisdom for energy.

So yes, I was pretty tired and can imagine how at nearly 60 Bruce Willis may feel at times but children are truly a gift from God. So, at any age I would never trade fatherhood for the rest home.


Family photo, 1927

Couple Turn Their Wedding Vows Into an Adorable Song

Sing a wedding song together at your own weddings, sign with a record company hours later.  Sounds implausible.   That is exactly what happened to Michael and Carissa Alvarado during their wedding.  Shortly after their wedding, this couple in love and the singing duet called “Us The Duo” signed with Republic Records.  A similar story, we attended a wedding here in Orlando a couple years ago to see my dear friend and son’s former high school teacher marry the man of her dreams, and yes!  Just after they said I do, Michael McDonald (not the same) but successful gospel singer burst into a seranade to his new wife.  The entire room of wedding guests were crying (women) or sighing (men “Damn, why can’t I do that?”) and everyone applauded.  My gift to this new couple was two lovely dresses for their flower girls and I must say, we had a blast!


More and more couples submit their wedding videos online – some are fantastic, some quite professional and some are down right hysterical.  Which are your favorites?


Our Fairytale


My husband and I have just celebrated 28 years of marriage and are business partners as well. We have had a fairytale relationship and are mad about each other. We share all the likes that couples do, renovating old homes and visiting the parks in Orlando. Our annual trip to Disney World, at first was just the two of us, then three, and finally four of us from our home in New Jersey as our family grew. My husband always got worried every time we finished renovating a place because he knew my eyes would start wandering again. About 8 years ago, we had just finished an entire renovation on an old, 1928 English Tudor House and gardens. We entered a contest, winning an honorable mention in Better Homes and Garden’s Whole House Redo. So instead of waiting until our traditional December trip to Florida, we decided it was time to have an early fall trip to Florida.


That year, while driving on the return trip from a wonderful Halloween visit to Orlando with our boys, we were just a few hour North over the Florida border, when snow flakes started to fall and the air got down to a chilly 40 degrees. Looking at my husband who was driving, we both said to each other “turn around.” He looked at me first and then at the road and then uncharacteristically for him, turned right around in the median strip back to Orlando (so to speak). We started to look for homes the next morning in Central Florida. A year later we had built a new home and moved to Orlando, and the warmth of Florida.

Our flower girl dress business is fun but frantic as the wedding business tends to be. We decided that if we had to work a lot of crazy hours we may as well be nearer to the parks when we need chill time. Although our decision to move to Florida was an on the spot move, our promise to live in Orlando grew from our love of the parks. Face it, Disney just makes you feel good. Don’t get me wrong, we love Universal too (especially since they opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter). No matter what your day has been like, your week or year – Disney gives you that special feeling that makes the blood pressure just turn back to normal. We get season passes and find ourselves there generally once a week (except in Summer, we leave that to the tourists!) We enjoy ourselves there so much that we are excited when friends visit and head straight to the parks there. Eventually, we decided to celebrate our nearly 30 years in business working together (and our wedding anniversary too) with family and friends. Where better to have a vow renewal than at our favorite “get away” place?

So this year, we will be working on renovating another home and discussing our experiences working together as partners.


AltarOur wedding in 1985 was wonderful but my mom and Percy Leach (God bless both of their souls) were really in charge of all the decisions. I was busy building a business with Jim and I trusted my mother’s taste explicitly. Percy was the owner/curator of Waterloo Village in Stanhope, NJ where our wedding took place, and an Interior Decorator who was used to supervising all sorts of fund raising, music and so forth at the Village of Waterloo he and his partner Lou Gualandi loved. Percy invited my father and family up there when I was just 7 years old to show the dream to him and to enlist my father (who was in politics and a law practice) to see his vision. I saw Percy’s vision right then and there and enjoyed my many years of visits to Waterloo. As a young girl, he promised me that I could get married there, only I was 7 and had to find a husband! Seeing him often, we made plans for the “wedding” without a fiance! I even called him from London during a buying trip for fabrics and laces in 1983 and told him I had found “the dress”.  My family attended many concerts and events there, and even my brother proposed to his wife at the same spot. Two years later, after a whirlwind of just three dates, I took Jim on a picnic (unintentionally) and showed him this marvelous place I had fallen in love with. Right then, outside the old Methodist Church of Waterloo, he proposed, just 5 days into our relationship! Percy and I were off and running, and although not professional, he was a very good wedding planner who made our evening magical.

I was building my business at the time, so much of the wedding was decided by Percy and my mother since that’s what you did 25+ years ago. I think except for the cake, I had no firm ideas and left most decisions to my father and mother because they were of similar tastes as I. From the fantastic music and food choices, I left it to them to make final decisions.

This blog is dedicated to my former mentors, Mom and Percy —- and hopefully they will be watching me from above with full blessings…. both of whom not only helped me get my wedding together but both of whom shared with me their love for design and interior design. Percy was a celebrated Interior Designer to New Jersey’s famous residents as well as many other. He also had a wicked sense of humor. His love for design was carried through in one of his great loves, the restoration of Waterloo Village in Stanhope, NJ. I love them and miss them both terribly.

I hope you will join us in our journey of life, love, home, and work.

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