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Q. Monique Allen is a Washington, D.C. based residential interior design and lifestyle blog dedicated to capturing and chronicling my experience as a first time custom home builder, consultant on design projects, and consumer of all things "mountain modern" including furniture, fabric, accessories, lighting, and more.

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A year and four months we signed on the dotted line to purchase a rocky lot with a questionable view in the Wintergreen Resort, much to our delight we finally have a house! We were originally told that the process should take about 9 months. Due to weather and major foundation issues, the building process was extensively delayed. I really wanted to spend Christmas in the house, but we received the certificate of occupancy on the Friday before so it just wasn't feasible. We...

Last weekend, we made the 3 hour drive from DC to Wintergreen, VA to meet with our contractors and do our own low voltage electrical wiring. It was a really full weekend with more work than leisure but my daughter and I managed a girls-only dinner where we talked about boys and school and a movie on the lawn where we cuddled in a blanket on what ended up being a really chilly summer night in the mountains. It was one of the highlights of our trip and one of the reasons why...

Nothing says rustic glam or mountain modern like a statement making fireplace. Anchoring the living room, recreation room or the master suite, fireplaces are essential for vacation homes in cold locales. It's a practical and beautiful addition to any mountain home.

Right now, I am in the process of designing my own fireplace for our vacation rental. It's going to cover an entire wall in the main living area. So, it needs several key features like mixed materials, rustic but...

The 10 Most Beautiful Rustic Kitchens Ever

New feature! On the blog each week, I am introducing a new feature #RusticRoundUp! I am also happy to introduce you to my new hashtag #IAmRusticChic.

The new feature gathers the best 10ish examples of rustic decor in a given category Iike kitchens, baths, exteriors, etc. Those images will be featured in a collage and posted on the blog. I will include the photo, source if I have it, and one or two things that I love! 

So, l...

Do you love reclaimed wood, but not the prices? Go with me on a field trip to the lumber yard to explore the alternatives. Also, learn why wood from the lumber mill is so much more affordable than retail outlets.

Are you building or renovating a home? Well, me, too! If you're anything at all like me, it feels just a bit overwhelming. Once you've found the contractor, the lot, the plans (not necessarily in that order) and the building process has started...then what?! Most of us are not onsite swinging a hammer so it feels a little abstract. I am not one to sit on the sidelines and wait for the contractor to give me a week to make an important design decision. Nope. Not gonna happen...

I used to go to church a lot more than I do now. Over the years, I have heard one of my favorite sermons preached on 2 separate occasions by 2 different preachers. While it makes me wonder if the sermon is downloadable on the internet somewhere, I have to give credit where credit is due. It's a heck of a message. The title, in both cases (he he!), was "Thank God for Closed Doors." The premise was simple. There is a reason why we don't get what we want in the world. Because...

What an exciting time! Many families dream of a second home by the water, in the mountains, on a farm or a location that is simply away from it all. However, a second home is a major investment of both time and money. To make owning a second home more affordable, many homeowners, like me, buy or build a vacation home with rental income as a secondary priority. If you fall into that category, here are 4 easy steps to improve your income and secure your investment. 

1 - Choos...

This holiday season I have devoured photos of mountain and lake retreats all decked out for the holidays. Most homes were decorated in a minimal but tasteful style. This makes perfect sense to me because I can't imagine having to haul holiday decorations to a second location or attempt to store boxes upon boxes of bulbs, lights and bows. Nope. Simple is best.

The team that is working on the house just updated me on its (somewhat) slow process. Apparently, the engineers...

For years I've loved the mountains. The majesty of rolling hills towering over deep, secluded valleys has a way of grounding me. Being amongst the mountains is a constant reminder of just how small each of us are and how big and impressive our world is. I am always trying to get back there...


For nearly 10 years, I've had a home in the mountains at the top of my bucket list. Until now, it simply wasn't possible. The stars have now aligned. This past summer, I worked with a...

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Q. Monique Allen

Have you ever felt like there is something really special that brings you joy that you simply don't do enough of? I'm not sure what that might be for you, but for me, it's feeding my passion for interior design, furniture and the arts (all of them - visual, performing, culinary...). With a full time career in financial services in Washington, DC, a bustling family, a demanding schedule (and the list goes on), it's tough to find time for things that you love! But, I've committed to MORE. More inspiration...more hands on expression of my own creativity...and more beauty in my world. As I explore and expand my own space and fill it with chic "mountain modern" design, experiences, and ideas, I look forward to using this lifestyle and design blog to share them with you.

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@2015 Q. Monique Allen

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