Category Archives: Guest Bloggers

Relaxing At The River Dunes

Hello!  My name is Celia Becker, The OC Housewife Who Ran for the Hills, and I’m the voice behind the Lifestyle Blog called “After Orange County”.  Sarah has kindly asked me to be her guest blogger today, and I am touched and honored to be here.  Since Sarah’s beautiful homebase is in North Carolina, I thought it appropriate to share with you a wonderful place in North Carolina called River Dunes. This truly idyllic community is located just across the Palmetto Sound from the celebrated beaches of the Outer Banks.

702ParkProject - AOC1

It’s a place that was calling my name ever since I first discovered it 7 years ago in Coastal Living Magazine. Coastal Living built a magnificent design/idea home here, that sadly has since burned down.  So, after dreaming about a visit to River Dunes for a long time, my husband and I finally made that dream a reality in August. River Dunes is a 1,300 acre master-planned community that is located in Oriental, North Carolina. It is a place known for its world-class sailing, power boating and fishing. At the heart of the community is Grace Harbor, which features a 400 slip inland basin marina with direct access to the Intracoastal Waterway.

702ParkProject - AOC2

Driving into the community you know you have arrived when you are greeted by these two charming cottages that flank the entrance to River Dunes.  The cottages are actually unoccupied facades, there simply to provide ambiance.

702ParkProject - AOC3

Our first stop was The River Dunes Harbor Club where we would check-in and get the keys to the charming cottage we would occupy for the next three days.

702ParkProject - AOC4

My husband felt right at home in the club’s rocking chairs that invite guests to relax and slow down in the shade of the covered porch.

702ParkProject - AOC5

But before moving into our cottage, we took a tour of the relaxed but refined atmosphere of the Harbor Club. As you enter the front door you find the warm and inviting game room.

702ParkProject - AOC6

A painted staircase is decorated with framed prints of the wide variety of fish that can be caught in the local waters of the Neuse River and nearby Intracoastal Waterway.  Arriving at the top of the staircase is the lovely dining room with its imposing brick fireplace. I loved the slipcovered Parsons Chairs with nautically inspired tie-backs.

702ParkProject - AOC7

The color palette used in the design of the Harbor Club interiors beautifully compliments its harbor setting, bringing the outside right on in.

702ParkProject - AOC8

I fell in love with the weathered wood used in the cabinetry of the bar. And the buttery soft leather of the turquoise upholstered bar stool invites one to belly right on up to the ship-inspired bar and sit awhile.

702ParkProject - AOC9

Adjacent to the bar is an informal dining area in the conservatory-like enclosed porch with its wide-plank, rough-hune wooden flooring and charming rattan furniture.

702ParkProject - AOC10

Heading downstairs there is an inviting screened-in back porch with seating in front of a fireplace. There are a total of 7 fireplaces to be enjoyed around the grounds of the Harbor Club.

702ParkProject - AOC11

Stepping outside I found myself in one of the nicest and most inviting pool decks I’ve ever seen.

702ParkProject - AOC12

It features a mineral swimming pool, lined with charming cabanas that provide a respite from the summer sun. I loved every aspect of the design of these cabanas; from the red metal roofs, weathered red brick backdrop and complimentary red and white striped curtains, to the white siding and azure blue cushions on the weathered teak lounge chairs. It just doesn’t get much better than that!

702ParkProject - AOC13 702ParkProject - AOC14

Then there is the pool house which serves as a gathering place for visiting boaters and residents alike who enjoy many social gatherings and catered events here.

702ParkProject - AOC15

It contains a bar and outdoor kitchen that is crowned by a lovely open-beamed roofline, the perfect setting for the many oyster roasts that take place here.

702ParkProject - AOC16

There is also an adjacent bath house, fitness center and guest laundry facility. The Canoe Club features launching sites for the canoes and kayaks available to guests of River Dunes.

702ParkProject - AOC17

The community dock is an ideal location for a variety of activities from fly-fishing, to bird watching, to planaire painting.

702ParkProject - AOC18

A summer storm was moving in as I took these photos, with wind that toppled over some of the potted plants. Had rain not been in the forecast I would have liked to stay and enjoy this harborside oasis.

702ParkProject - AOC20

But we had lots more to see and our cottage was waiting!

702ParkProject - AOC21

So tomorrow, after you see what Sarah is up to on 702 Park Project, I hope you’ll come visit my blog too for lots more of River Dunes North Carolina.  I’ll be taking you on a tour of the inside of the small but very sweet cottage we occupied during our stay, and I’ll tour you around the lovely village and neighborhoods of this very special community.

702ParkProject - AOC22

Thank you so much for visiting.  It was very nice to meet you! And, many thanks to Sarah for asking me to join you all here.

All photos via After Orange County.

Let The Holiday Decorating Begin!

Hi everyone! I’m Kris from Driven by Décor and I’m so flattered that Sarah invited me to be a guest on her blog today. I love following along with Sarah and her husband as they renovate their home and am totally in awe of the projects that they tackle. I mean, did you all see the state of their house when they first bought it? It’s seriously unbelievable to look back at what they started with and compare it to how their house looks today. Sarah has some serious DIY skills (and great design taste to boot!).

Since fall is officially here and before you know it we’ll be sliding on into Thanksgiving and the holidays, I thought I’d share some of my favorite seasonal decorations with you. I don’t go all out with my seasonal decorating (who has time for lugging out boxes and boxes of stuff just to have to put it away again?) but I do like to add a few touches here and there. For fall, I love to decorate with natural elements such as feathers

{Driven by Decor}


and dried grasses:

{Driven by Decor}


but I also like to bring in some brighter seasonal colors like in my window boxes

{Driven by Decor}

and accessories such as this fun DIY witch’s hat:

{Driven by Decor}

For Christmas, I like to make use of all the free greenery that’s right outside in my yard. Last year I used it to decorate our front door, 

{Driven by Decor}

our mantel, and our dining room chandelier:

{Driven by Decor}

And ever since I was little I have loved to wrap presents so I wrap them up as soon as I buy them and leave them out as part of our holiday decorations:

{Driven by Decor}

We have lots of fun holiday traditions, but I’m pretty sure my girls would say that their favorite is the one that we just started last year – making homemade marshmallows and setting up a hot chocolate bar. We are a family of sweet tooths!

{Driven by Decor}

Now don’t be fooled by into thinking that our house is always clean and perfectly decorated throughout the holidays. What you don’t see in these pictures is the chaos that reigns behind the scenes – the dirty hot chocolate mugs left in the kitchen sink, the spools of decorative ribbon laying amok on my kitchen island, the whole family still in their pajamas at 2pm. Now THAT’s real life :)

 Thanks so much Sarah and all of you 702 Park Project readers for letting me come for a visit! When you have a chance, I’d love for you to come say hi at Driven by Decor or find me over on Instagram. Hope you all have a wonderful fall and holiday season!

Guest Post: Wallpaper In The Powder Room

Are you constantly checking out Zillow to see what’s new in your area, even if you aren’t actually looking to buy? I can’t be the only one, right? That site is addicting! So when Jennifer asked if I would like to do a collaborative post, I hopped right on board!  Today she’s bringing you the how-to on wallpapered powder rooms.


Wallpaper is a beautiful alternative to plain paint. However, over-abundant patterns can appear cluttered and close off interiors. To limit overly-strong wall designs, apply wallpaper in small spaces, such as powder rooms and bathrooms where alternative accessories are limited and the confined dimensions are undisguisable. Although the space is right, constant moisture and humidity might lead to blistering and peeling throughout time, so it’s vital for homeowners to use the proper materials and follow the best application procedures.

702 Park Project - Zillow

To best apply wallpaper in bathrooms, use the following steps.


Spread wallpaper across a flat workspace and cut to fit designated wall dimensions. Decide the proper layout of the pattern, aligning sheets to fit like a puzzle and evaluating where designs should hit the ceiling. Then, cut about six inches longer than the desired top line. Add 1⁄2 an inch for each corner to create lap seams.

Remove nails and outlet covers from walls and cover floors with drop cloths or alternative protective sheets to avoid drips of adhesive. Sand down any previous paint blemishes and use drywall to fill divots. Applying wallpaper over damages may save time, but becomes apparent after drying. While it may not bother the current homeowners, shortcuts can potentially deter homebuyers in the future.

702 Park Project - Zillow4


Purchase a high-quality, oil-based primer so wallpaper glue doesn’t desiccate too quickly. Then, roll up wallpaper with adhesive facing outward. Submerge rolls into wallpaper trays filled with water for about 15 seconds and lay wet paper pattern side down on a dry table for even folding. Fold both sides of wallpaper sheets inward so they meet in the middle to activate wallpaper glue and keep glue from touching other surfaces. These can be folded or “booked” ahead of time for quicker application.  Mark the wall with a vertical line a 1⁄4 inch shorter than the width of a sheet of wallpaper.

702 Park Project - Zillow6


Begin wallpapering in discreet regions, including above and behind doors, in case of beginner errors. Unfold the first sheet and adhere to the wall from top to bottom, ensuring that the desired top edge (six inches lower than the actual edge) of the paper is lined up with the ceiling crease and the side hits the marked perpendicular line. Smooth the paper by rubbing a wallpaper brush vertically and clean surplus glue with a wallpaper sponge. Try to match patterns up as best as possible when continuing with adjacent walls. Finally, trim the tops and bottoms with a sharp utility knife. Use a seam roller to smooth joints and let dry for 48 hours.

Make sure bathroom wallpaper is washable and not in any direct contact with water. Further, avoid Mylar, foil and solid-Type II vinyl, as these materials tend to harvest mold. Instead, opt for vapor-permeable wallpaper varieties for stunning, withstanding wallpaper designs.

702 Park Project - Zillow5

Note: This is not a sponsored post, but simply a collaboration with Zillow.

linked here.

Scotch Hall Preserve

In case you haven’t noticed, I love love love living in North Carolina! I’ve traveled the country and been to several other countries, and each time I enjoy returning to NC more and more. We’ve got the mountains, the beach, beautiful landscapes and all four seasons. You really can’t beat it!

So when the coastal town of Scotch Hall Preserve approached me, I was eager to learn more.


Everyone needs a getaway from time to time, right? Why not get away to coastal North Carolina? Take a weekend and discover the charming coastal town of Scotch Hall Preserve, a master-planned community that captures everything that makes active relaxation popular. If you are already in North Carolina, you don’t have to travel far from home to feel like you really got away.


The Location

Scotch Hall Preserve’s location makes it an ideal place for a retreat. Sitting on the Albemarle Sound, Scotch Hall Preserve has a choice waterfront property with tall, mature trees and beautiful coastal areas. A boardwalk along the water helps you take it all in, while hiking trails through the forests help you enjoy the quiet of nature all around you. Nestled in the midst of these natural wonders sits a collection of waterfront cottages that embrace coastal living at its finest.

Relaxation Designed for Active Families

Scotch Hall Preserve offers you the chance to relax, but in an active way. Imagine waking up each morning to the sound of the water and the smell of the forest outside your window. Spend your weekend away enjoying championship golf, swimming in the sound-side pool or watching the kids play for hours on the playground overlooking the water. Bring your boat and spend some time fishing or boating on the Sound. Everywhere you look, opportunities for active relaxation are abundant in Scotch Hall Preserve.


Check Out Scotch Hall Preserve’s Real Estate Options

When you come to Scotch Hall Preserve, you may find that you fall in love with the community and all that it offers. If you do, take some time on your weekend to explore current real estate options. Scotch Hall Preserve has a variety of home sites and home styles available for purchase, so you can come back and enjoy the relaxation whenever you want. For vacationers, fully-furnished Legacy Cottages are the ideal choice.

Whether you come for a weekend or decide to stick around longer by purchasing your own property, you will be glad you experienced Scotch Hall Preserve. Book your Discovery Weekend today!



 What do you think? Would you like to visit?

 Author Bio: Joe Restivo, a seasoned marketing consultant, is originally from Ohio, but relocated to North Carolina because of its proximity to both the coast and mountains, as well as the benefits it offers to living an active lifestyle.

{Interested in contributing to 702 Park Project? Contact me here!}

Coastal Living

Hello 702 Park Project readers! I’m Laura from Simply Lowcountry, and am thrilled that Sarah asked me to do a guest post on her blog today.

My husband and I live in Charleston, South Carolina and we love it. The salt air breezes from the ocean, rows of palm trees, pastel Charleston colors and of course, the southern hospitality. One of the greatest things about living on the coast is the fun beach and coastal inspired decor that is incorporated into many of the homes in the Charleston area.

We moved into our place just over a year ago, and we are still decorating and making it home. I have been trying to tackle one room at a time to make sure it’s perfect and something we love instead of something we are going to want to change in a few months.

The coast has inspired my decor in a lot of different ways: color pallets, accessories, paint colors, lighting and furniture style. Today I thought I would share with you my inspiration board for the perfect coastal-inspired living room.

Our living room is still  not a finished product, but it is getting so much closer. Here was my vision for the room:

Coastal Inspired Living Room