this week’s giveaway: all that glitters

In case you missed the announcement two weeks ago, we’re now running weekly giveaways!

Each tuesday, we’ll put together an assortment of favorites to give away. We definitely want you to enter to win (and there will be plenty of chances for that!) but I also hope the collections inspire gift ideas, color combinations, accessories for your home or office and introductions to new great products. This week’s collection is called: ALL THAT GLITTERS

1. helena necklace // noonday collection
2. xoxo glitter banner // etsy
3. glimmer dipped journal // anthropologie
4. set of six gold foil dot pencils // etsy
5. ten gold tissue rosettes // paper source

The giveaway ends saturday so be sure to share with your friends for extra chances to win! You can enter above or head to the giveaway page.

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how to paint a piano

Furniture purists … avert your eyes. This is a post about how I changed our perfectly fine piano from glossy mahogany to white. Did I ruin it? Maybe. But do I love it 1000 times more? Yes. Yes I do.


I posted a mid-progress photo on instagram and was surprised by how many shared the desire to paint their piano and also questions about how to do it. So here it is – all my steps, tips and encouragement for painting your piano.

First, a little back story. We inherited our piano from my grandparents but it is not a piece that holds any particular sentimental meaning. From the day we brought it into our house six years ago, I’ve wanted to paint it. There was a trend a few years ago when everyone was painting their pianos mustard or aqua and I was so tempted (especially by this photo), but just never felt committed to any one color. Years passed and the piano always felt dark and not right for our style until a few weeks ago when I came across this photo and it was jut the push I needed.

Paint it white. That was the answer.

So Ryan and our friend dragged the piano outside to our front walkway (a crazy place to paint, but it was the spot that made the most sense) and away I went. It was a pain, I’ll be honest. But totally doable. And I’m so happy with the results.

Here’s how the process went:

STEP ONE // take apart the pieces and tape it off.


Be very detailed to make sure you keep the paint off the keys, the inside components and the metal foot pedals.


STEP TWO // sand each piece


I used a fairly fine grit sand paper (100) just to rough up the finish.

STEP THREE // wipe clean


Make sure you get all the dust off. I wet my cloth a tiny bit to grab the sanding dust which worked well.

STEP FOUR // prime

Once the piece is sanded and wiped clean, apply a light coat of primer. For the piano bench, I brushed on the primer, but I did not like the brush strokes so for the piano, I switched to spray primer. It was much easier.

STEP FIVE // spray paint


I bought 8 cans of glossy white spray paint and it was just enough. I also picked up this spray adapter which made things much easier. Then I just sprayed away.


Some things I learned when spray painting a piano (these might help you avoid my mistakes):

1. use thin coats and quick sweeps across the furniture

2. let it dry for a few minutes between coats


This made me so frustrated and I think the wrinkles came when the overcoats went on too heavy.

3. lightly sand in between coats. I didn’t fully sand – just the places that were a bit rough.

4. shake the can often to keep the paint mixed up. I used gloss paint that did not totally go on glossy. It’s a little blotchy. I think if I had consistently mixed up the paint, it would have gone on smoother.

5. be so careful about over-spray.


I had a blanket and paper and cardboard down, but the spray still made it onto the walkway and over to my car parked in the driveway (big oops!). Just make sure you cover anything and everything that might come in contact with flying specks of paint.

6. maybe don’t paint it in your front yard.


My poor neighbors had to see it wrapped up like this each night for a few days while I was in between coats. I did about 4 or 5 light coats of paint (plus the first coat of primer). I let each coat dry fully so I could sand if needed. It took me 4 days to complete the project.

7. If I were to do it again, I would have opted for a can of paint in a softer white and a sprayer. The basic glossy white spray paint is white-white without any warmth and can look a little stark. Once the piano was back in the house and accessorized, it does not look quite as bright, but could still be a a bit warmer.

8. It really wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be. I should have done it years ago.

Before and afters are always fun, so here it is:


It feels so much more modern and fresh. Someday when we replace our carpet with hardwood, you’ll be able to notice the pretty brass pedals and casters on the front legs (my favorite part). But even still, I love how much lighter this nook feels with the piano now white.


So tell me, are you wanting to paint your piano? What’s stopping you?!


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how to hang platters on the wall

Do you watch Fixer Upper on HGTV with the darling Chip and Joanna Gaines? It’s our favorite. Ryan and I don’t watch much tv together (I don’t know, something about project runway just doesn’t capture his attention like it does mine), but we love being inspired by the makeovers done to the houses on this show. If you haven’t seen it yet, oh my, you should. So good. Or maybe not because it will make you want to buy the worst falling-down house and make it wonderful.

Anyway … you’re probably wondering what Fixer Upper has to do with hanging silver plates on the wall? Well miss Joanna (who has fabulous style) always hangs something unconventional or dimensional on the walls of the homes she styles. Now she goes more country/rustic than I do in our house (think chippy gates, architectural salvage, child-sized chairs) but hanging vintage silver platters on the wall in our dining room is in line with her dimension/unconventional wall concept.


It’s interesting and personal and neutral.

Oh, and super easy to do.


All you need is a collection of silver platters (or any pretty dish) and plate hangers.


My mother-in-law gave us most of the silver found in our home – she bought it all at thrift stores and grew tired of it. Lucky girl, I know. And a few of the pieces were my grandma’s. I like it slightly tarnished and maybe shine it once per year. Or maybe not.


You can find these spring plate hangers at your hardware store or online here. They come in a few different sizes, so just make sure you find the ones to coordinate with your plate size.


Hook the top two arms on the top of the plate then stretch it down to hook onto the bottom of the plate.


Next, tap in a nail to the wall (I eyeballed this arrangement because I’m not patient enough to measure).


Then hang your plate up. Easy as can be.


When hung in a group, the plates look so pretty.


I love having them out rather than stacked in a drawer and their silver sheen is just right for the dining room.

Moral of the story is: look around your house and see if you have anything laying around that might make nice wall art.

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sources for entry, office, bath & dining room

The first half of the fall tour was fun, right? I loved pulling my house together and giving it a fall look (if you missed the tour, you can see it here). There were many questions about sources for items shown and I’m all about sharing!


Not that you are going to go out and purchase everything you see here, but hopefully it helps show what can be done without spending tons and tons on furniture and accessories.  For the fall tour, I mainly shopped my house – rearranging furniture, moving around accessories, pulling out a few fall decorations I keep stored. Like I said on the house tour, I recently quieted the house and striped it of all of it’s ‘stuff’. It was the best thing for me! I actually had a semi-difficult time putting things back out because it was just so nice to have clean surfaces, bookshelves, walls. But it was time to put things back together and I like the more edited version of our house this time around. I’m sure things will change (as they always seem to do around here), but for now, this arrangement suits us.

Okay, back to sources. Let’s start with the entry. Most of these items are new-ish because I was ready for a more simple and open entry (see the entry before here and here). This looks feels very minimal, yet practical.


mirror // boo. I can not find it on the ikea website. But it was cheap – like $49ish – and big with clean lines.

bench // sorry, no link. Marshalls/tj maxx/homegoods are hit or miss – on one particular day, it was a hit for me when I found this sturdy bench.

hook // you can’t really tell from the photo, but this monogram letter hook is super cute. It’s an L (naturally).

scarf // if you’re looking for a perfect everyday scarf, this is it. Soft, easy to wear, a purchase with purpose.

bag // I had been eying this striped/leather bag for forever and bought it to carry my laptop to Rwanda this summer. It is perfect in style and size for my 15″ macbook and I opted for an outside zippered pocket for extra storage. I wish the stripe fabric was a little sturdier and durable, but I would still recommend it. Plus, I love that the company provides work for women who otherwise would not have a job (learn more about better life bags here).

rug // trendy? yes. But inexpensive and graphic and dark enough in the entry to hide dirt. It slips around so it needs a rug pad under to hold it in place.

There is a little welcome decal on the mirror that doesn’t show in the photo, but it is super cute and from here.


shelf // you will never believe how inexpensive this shelf is … $49! It’s surprisingly nice for the price and keeps things modern in the bath.

frames // silver frames were all the rage years ago, but I still like them grouped with my little darlings’ photos.

mirror // from my grandmother. I love it all chippy and gold.

painting // it’s my first large-scale painting (proud moment) that I turned into prints available in the shop.

towel // these soft hand towels are my favorite.

stool // such a great basic that can be stained or painted any color.


wallpaper // the world’s most time-intensive diy, but totally and completely worth it. 4 years later, it’s still my fave.

chair // my search for the perfect office chair led me to this handsome but too-short one, so I added casters.

rug // an oldie that is no longer available at ikea, but you can get a similar one at crate & barrel.

frame // another vintage chippy gold frame (I sense a theme …)

sconces // this whole collection of lights is so good. Especially the black & white striped cords.

desk // salvaged door + ikea table legs + ribbon + nailhead tacks. dining-room-sources

window // we found the large window at our favorite salvage store in Seattle, hung it from barn door tracks and it works as a great room divider between the entry and dining room without blocking light.

chairs // no longer available, but these are similar. I just wouldn’t recommend them for everyday use if you have kids who make crumbs.

table // no longer available (unfortunately). It’s one of the first pieces of furniture we bought as a couple. We found it at the restoration hardware outlet store for a steal. It’s super heavy and will stay with our family for a long, long time.

light // another find from the rh outlet store. Again, for a steal.

shelf // great lines, made well, fun to style. Great option if you’re looking for an affordable, but nice bookshelf.

runner // one strip of white butcher paper, a second strip of $1 target wrapping paper. I bought every roll they had in my store and wish I had 10 more. I love this paper.

pew // my favorite thing my mother-in-law ever passed down to us. She bought it years ago from an old church. It’s rickety, but so, so charming.


So there you have it – all the sources. As always, let me know if you have any other questions!

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fall house tour

Fall is my favorite. Truly it is. So naturally, I like a cozy decorated-for-fall home. This year, I am just coming off of quieting the house and it felt really good. When putting accessories back in to each room, I was really selective and picky – nothing made it back that is not practical, pretty or meaningful.

It was a mad dash to get the house photo-ready, but I made it (just barely!).


I’m so pleased to be joining an insanely-talented group of bloggers on the Finding Fall Home Tour. You can start at the beginning here and I’ll link below to the next stop. If you are coming from Rhoda’s lovely tour, welcome!


Today I’d love to show you the front of our house (the entry, half bath, my office and the dining room). Next week, we’ll continue the tour with the living room and kitchen (I’ll give you a few sneak peeks of those rooms today because I’m terrible at waiting). As you will see from the photos, I’m slightly addicted to neutrals and try to keep things interesting by adding a ton of texture. Pattern, sheen, metal, varying wood tones – all of these elements are the base of how I love to decorate.

Shall we begin?! Welcome to our home …

// E N T R Y //

When you step into our house, we have a nice open entry. A full mirror, graphic rug and sturdy bench work well in our busy household.




// S M A L L   B A T H //

Right off the entry is the small bathroom our guests use.


Lots of mixed metals in there! (and a big pumpkin painting that I still can’t believe I painted).

// O F F I C E //

Of all the rooms in the house, my office is my favorite. It feels cozy and fresh and is where I go to work, create and just be emily.


I recently pulled out the carpet (!) and have yet to replace the floor. I honestly like it one hundred times better even with just the painted sub-floor. The rest of the carpet in our house better start counting it’s days because soon it is all coming out.


(see more of my office and the painted wallpaper here and here).

// P I A N O   N O O K //

Off the entry and across from the dining room is this bump out where the stairs are that fits our piano perfectly. Last week, I painted it white. It was a pain, but it looks great and it was well worth it (tutorial coming with tips for how to paint yours if you are so inclined).



// D I N I N G   R O O M //

Our dining room doesn’t get a ton of use but it’s one of the first rooms you see when you walk in the house, so it’s important that it sets the tone for the rest of the house. It’s currently decorated with neutrals (of course) and a pretty mix of textures.







In the corner, the bar cart is host to our annual thankful tree (see the first year here, and last year’s updated look here).


The tags are ready for the kids to write on earlier than we usually start, but I think it will be nice to spend the whole fall season being intentional about giving thanks.



As promised … here’s a little peek at what’s happening in the rest of the house:


Stop back next week for the full details.

Thanks for coming by today! Up next on the tour is my cutie friend Ashley from The Handmade Home. If my house feels a little too neutral to you, you’ll love Ashley’s because she is not afraid of color and uses it so beautifully. Can’t wait to see what personal touches she’s added to their home.


You can see the whole line-up of fall house tour bloggers here, get fall decorating ideas galore on the BHG + Finding Fall pinterest board, and be sure to sign up for Better Homes & Gardens 100 days of holidays list.

p.s. a new WEEKLY GIVEAWAY is open today … click here to check it out and enter to win!

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