Things that make you go, hmmm: That’s the topic of my column this week. Whether it’s something fun, unique or just plain interesting, when it comes to certain spaces I like to create vignettes that make you pause.

To me, no space is more suited to this than a powder room. Powder rooms by nature have a private atmosphere, and unlike larger rooms, these can deviate from a home or office’s overall d├ęcor style. So when I remodeled this half-bath in my home, I created a cascade of twinkling votive lights ready to fall into a pair of upturned hands.


It’s the first thing you see when you walk in, and it’s full of wow and whimsy. The hands are functional — they’re a stool. The lights are just for effect, especially when we’re entertaining and I light the candles.


And here’s my point: If you want to create an effect, go for it and go all the way. But take a closer look at this arrangement. To really pull it off, you need to pay attention to even the smallest details.

In my vision, these beautiful votive vessels had to hang seemingly in midair — or at least come out of the wall about four inches. But they didn’t come with matching screws or mounts.


So I went to the hardware store, found long screws and somewhere else to find sleeves to fit around them. I painted the sleeves and screw heads a similar brushed gold, and voila! You’d never know the entire thing wasn’t a set.

Would anyone have noticed if I hadn’t gone the extra step with the paint and then cover the screws. Maybe not, but I would have. The smallest details create a sense of cohesiveness. Just as the white in the hands ties into the white of the sink, and the warm gold ties in with the vessel, there’s a reason and a purpose.

So when you’re ready to install that piece or vignette, make sure your details add up to cohesion. That’s how to make people pause and say, hmmm, instead of, what’s that?


Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, visit And keep up with Cathy’s dream home makeover at her photo blog, Homefront.