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Updating the Entry: painting the doors, trim + staircase

As we are beginning to meet people in our new town, we’re finding that when they drop by, we end up chatting in the entry.

The problem is, the entry is not the best representation of our style and what we’re doing in the rest of the house.

Here is the entry on the day we moved in (taken from the now moody living room):

The ultimate vision for the entry is to update the front door (with something like this to let in more light), add medium-toned hardwood throughout the entire main floor to keep the floors consistent, simplify the banister, remove the carpet from the stairs and replace with wood, add bulkier white trim to the baseboards and around the doors.

Before Christmas, we did make a couple of updates: switching out the light fixtures for these simple drum shade flush mounts and painting the walls and ceiling the same white as in the kitchen (shoji white by Sherwin Williams).

This definitely helped clean up the area, but it is still so far from what our vision is!

I would say that has been an interesting challenge so far in this house. We have a clear idea of what each room will end up like, but the process is slow, budget must be considered and there is an order that makes most sense.

For instance, replacing the carpet on the second and third floors takes precedence over adding hardwoods downstairs. Before we do hardwoods on the main floor, we want to take out the wall between the kitchen and dining room. And while we are taking out that wall, it will require moving appliances, so we want to be prepared to redo the whole kitchen at that point. It’s like the ultimate “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” moment.

We are trying to be realistic and find the balance between giving ourselves time to really live here and jumping ahead with our vision. And to top it all off, every square inch of this house has me so inspired to make changes that it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. I have this sense of urgency to make updates when really, there is no rush. I keep reminding myself to take it slow, keep it fun, share the process.

So what we’re ending up with is a series of stages of updating. Phase One: make short-term changes that freshen up the space for little investment. Phase Two: make long-term choices that take longer, cost more, but ultimately give us the result we’re after. Phase One might feel like a waste since it will all be changed out eventually, but these changes help us enjoy living and entertaining in the house today and that feels worth it. (The kitchen mini makeover is a perfect example).

The entry is another place for us to make our Phase One changes.

After we updated the kitchen and painted out all of the orange-toned oak trim, cabinets and doors, the doors and trim connecting the kitchen to the entry really stood out.

This is a view I look at a million times per day and so it was time to pull out the paintbrush and make a change.

Using the same method as before, I spent this past weekend painting and am so happy with the in-the-meantime results.

We used the same color as in the kitchen – Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams – in a semi-gloss finish. After a light sanding and cleaning, I simply painted on two coats of latex paint (the Behr highest quality, Marquee).

What a big difference!

The dark doors look modern and clean and even with the change in flooring material, it feels less busy.

Here’s another view from the entry:

The french doors leading into the still-untouched office are so handsome in the new dark paint!
And the stairs.

There is much to be desired with this entry staircase. We would love to have it feel more grand and open, but we’re a bit limited with how the floorplan is laid out. So the basic layout will remain.

While it looks like the carpet runner is just put down over the wood stairs and therefore would be easy to remove and paint the treads, this is not the case. The wood only runs along the edges. So for now, the carpet must stay. When we put in new wood floors, we will run them all the way up the stairs for a consistent look. At that time, we will also remove the rounded end cap and put in a simple straight-lined banister (something like this).

In the meantime, however, these stairs needed an update.

I wasn’t sure exactly where and how much to paint, so I started by just doing the side trim and banister/rails.

It ended up looking very choppy and drew more attention to the orange tone in the wood and the odd placement of the carpet runner – not things we were wanting to highlight.

So out came the can of paint and I went over all of it with the charcoal color.

So much better. Still not the perfect solution, but it does simplify the space.

When we moved in, we put that black dresser in the entry and I threw a few things out in an attempt to have it look decorated.

A favorite print found in a local boutique (sorry, I don’t know a source!), a vintage brass tray, cement light (from Target a few years ago), pleated wreath (here’s the tutorial) and a vase made in art class by our oldest son (a new cherished possession).

The black dresser feels pretty dark and bulky in this spot and will find a new place to be shortly. It is one of my favorite pieces we own, but it isn’t quite right for the entry. I’m thinking now with the dark paint, we need something lighter and brighter in the entry. I’ll keep you posted …

Right inside the door we have a bench, basket for shoes and tall mirror (such a steal at $49 from IKEA). I’d love to see a bigger rug in here – something durable with maybe a touch of color. I’m on the hunt.

Opposite the bench is a row of my favorite hooks (from here) for guests to hang coats and bags when they visit.

Phase One in the entry is complete. Phase One part two will be some changes in the furniture and styling and we’ll get to the bigger Phase Two changes later this year. Overall, these simple fixes do a lot to freshen up the space and make it feel more like us.

Now when guests drop by, the entry feels a little bit more like us.

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When you can’t find the table lamp you want, you improvise

After all the back and forth and option-weighing, I decided the desk in the studio will stay as originally planned. We’ll adjust the chairs to raise them up a bit and call it good.

I actually feel very happy with the decision and can continue on with putting the studio together …

Next up is adding in more ambient light in the form of table lamps. The light of table lamps is nice to work by and will also anchor either side of the desk.

In my initial design board, I planned on using these white textured lamps from Target. I liked the simple shape, but when I went to order, there was only one available (what?!).

As a second option, I came across this handsome ceramic lamp from West Elm, which I also really liked. I just couldn’t justify spending $300 on lamps for my office.

While out shopping the other day, I saw a pair of these column table lamps on clearance in the kid section and snatched up both of them for $45.

The shape is great, I love the wood base, the color was definitely not right for my studio, but I had an idea of how to fix that.

Enter the good ole days of DIY-Emily.

(Side note: I have not done a DIY project in almost a year. Crazy for a crafty girl who loves a DIY project! I’m glad to be back, friends. Glad to be back).

By altering these lamps, I hoped to create a hybrid of the two inspiration lamps – combining the shape of the first with the chalky gray color of the second. And because I didn’t spend much, I figured it was worth the DIY risk.

After taping off the base and neck, I painted on two coats of basic black chalk paint.

As chalk paint does, it dried a nice matte gray-black.

I could have left the paint as is, but went with the next step of ‘seasoning’ the chalk surface.

Typically, you season a freshly painted chalkboard to cure the surface and allow for full erasing once you start writing on it. These lamps won’t function as writable chalk surfaces, but I still wanted that pretty mottled look that seasoning creates.

After rubbing chalk all over the lamp, I wiped it in with a dry cloth and blew off the remaining dust.

The finished color is just the chalky black I was hoping for.

The lamps are now flanking the desk and look so nice!

Even though I initially wanted a pair of white lamps, these lamps remind me that bringing a touch of black into a room is always a good idea.

This was about as simple of a DIY as could be and I’m happy to be back in the crafty game.

Have you created anything lately that you’re particularly proud of? I’d love to hear!

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The third floor hangout room | a cozy, casual design plan

Since the studio desk situation was hurting my creative brain, I moved on to coming up with a design plan for the hangout space up on the third floor.

This house is just one big project and even though it would be great to go one room at a time, I can’t help myself :)

So while I continue to figure out the studio, we are simultaneously working on finishing up the third floor.

Let me remind you of what the space looked like when we bought the house:

This third floor was a major bonus and we knew right away it would be useful for our big family. To best use the space, we walled in that back half to create a bedroom for our oldest son (see his design plan here) and the rest of the space will be used for a hangout area.

Now that the paint and trim is finished and two new industrial lights installed, the shell is starting to come together.

Carpet is next; we’re ordering this week and should have it installed shortly. We are going a little lighter on the carpet and it will have a nice texture and more cozy feel than the industrial type that is up there now.

Audrey mainly plays in her room where all of her doll stuff is kept and the two younger boys have all of their legos and nerf guns in their shared room. Other than that, we don’t do a lot of toys anymore which means a playroom isn’t necessary. This third floor area will primarily serve as a hangout space for the boys and their friends.

Last week we found a sectional at Costco and bought it on a whim. We wanted to have a spot for the kids to lounge and this durable fabric, secure cushions and affordable price tag was a good fit. We will be bringing up a tv for the kids to play xbox and watch movies on, and we have a square coffee table that doubles as a great surface for board games. It will be really nice for them to have a separate place to be loud and have fun and not hear their mother reminding them again to please take their feet off the nice couch.

With the new kid-approved sectional in place, I spent some time pulling together a design plan to finish out the rest of the hangout room.

The first thing we ordered for the room were the two industrial lights. They are substantial, cool looking and set the tone for the slightly industrial/loftish boy space.

Next were the National Park posters. We had such an amazing time exploring a bunch of National Parks this summer on our road trip and so it felt right to bring a bit of nature and good memories into the room. I chose Yosemite and the Redwoods because they were two of our favorites, they reflect the evergreen trees we are surrounded by and the color of the artwork is so pretty.

From there, I pulled together some items that we already have and ordered a few accessories to fill in the gaps. The kids are notorious for pillow fighting with my good pillows, so I didn’t want to go overboard on pillows.

A living plant always feels like it finishes a space and after reading through the comments on this post, I am taking your advice and getting a zz plant for this space. It is supposedly very low-maintenance, prefers little water and can tolerate minimal natural light which will be great for this room.

We have a few more construction things to do (carpet, painting the railing and door, touching up the ceiling paint) and then I can start putting the decorative touches in!

SOURCES

National Park Art | Industrial Light | Paint: Revere Pewter |  Trim: Shoji White | Green Pillow | Pom Pom Pillow | Textured Pillow | Pom Pom Throw (coming soon to the shop) | Brass Tray | Bean Bags | 4 Cube Shelf | Gray Basket | Float Frame | Table Lamp | Rug

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Studio progress: there is an unexpected hiccup in the design plan

I set up a temporary desk in the studio last week and have loved working in this new space. The light is so good, it is quiet, big and open and the perfect backdrop for creative work.

Spending more time up there made me extra excited to get working on putting the studio together.

After we came up with the design plan, I ordered the dressers, countertops, lights, chairs, hardware, and diy whiteboard supplies to get this space organized and looking good.

The first step was putting together the IKEA dressers, which took me forever. Like at least two hours each. At one point, my 9 year old was helping me and doing a much better job at understanding the directions than I. I’ll chalk that up to his mad lego-building skills.

The third and final one was finished on Friday, just in time for the gorgeous leather chairs to be delivered on Saturday. So my weekend plans pretty much centered around pulling the rest of the room together.

As per the original desk idea, Ryan cut off the legs of the dressers to reduce the height and we topped the three with the wood countertops.

All was great until I pulled up the new chair to try it out.

The seat height was too short. BOOO! 

We knew it was going to be close, but with the adjustable height chairs and with the estimated measurement of the desk, we thought it would work. Unfortunately, the chairs are just too short.

Or the desk is too high.

Time for Plan B.

I’ll be honest: I don’t always do well with changing plans once I have something in my head. What I have in my head is what I drew on paper before ordering all the items to put it together:

And what I drew on paper is pretty much what it looks like with the dressers/counter tops/chairs in place.

I like the visual weight of the dressers. I like the symmetry. I like the double work areas and storage the drawers offer.

I don’t like that the configuration doesn’t go all the way to the wall on the right or that there is a seam in the wood countertop right in the center. Neither are total deal-breakers for me, but it opened up the door to explore new options.

The first option is to keep the desks as-is and just switch out the chairs. The ones we ordered are beautiful, functional, comfortable and I’m a little bummed to have to loose them. As a close alternative, I could use these counter stools. The 24″ seat height should work and it would keep the warm leather, which is what I was hoping for.

The second option is to change the desk.

So we started moving things around and brainstorming new ideas.

SIDENOTE: When I say ‘we‘, what I really mean is Ryan. He is flexible and a problem-solver and balances out my stubbornness and indecisiveness in situations like these.

Anyway, back to the desk. Here is one scenario we tried:

We could put one dresser in the center under the window with the wood countertops mounted on either side at a typical desk height (we pulled barstools from the house to get the idea. The desk would be mounted to the wall and up a little higher). Picture both sides having wood desks with the dresser slightly higher in the center.

A third option could be to remove the dressers altogether (and use them elsewhere in the room) and attach minimal table legs (like these) under the wood counters to create two side-by-side desks (similar to my old office desk as seen in the first photo above). They wouldn’t run the whole width of the wall, but it would allow for one solid desk surface. This option could work. I just really liked the idea of drawers at the desks and the way they anchor the end of the studio.

I don’t know, you guys. Why can’t I just decide?!

I told you that I would share the process of designing the studio each step of the way and this hiccup is a very real step in most design projects. Flexibility and creative problem-solving are good skills to have when you run into little issues like too-high desks and unfortunately, I don’t possess large amounts of either of those skills. At least not for this project where I had my mind set on the original plan.

And that is where we left off.

Ryan did get the can lights installed and I managed to bring up a million boxes of storage and office things that have been temporarily stacked up in the garage. At least that feels nice to have those parts finished.

But I’m still stumped about the desk and a bit bummed that the plans are not working as I hoped.

Hmmmm … what to do, what to do …

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The Family Room Sectional was our best choice yet

In our last house, the living room was open to the kitchen. It was our main hang-out space for hosting parties, hanging out with the kids and watching tv. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll likely remember the shingled fireplace and tufted chesterfield sofa that lived in that room.

The new house has a more typical floor plan with a formal living room near the front of the house (see it here) and a good-sized family room off the kitchen.

Having two spaces for gathering was very appealing as we could use the living room for quiet, adult-ish time and the family room for more casual family hanging out. We put the tufted sofa in the living room (see it here) which left us seat-less in the family room.

And that meant a search was on for a good, comfortable, stylish couch was on.

The main criteria were:

SIZE – big enough for all six of us to sit on

STYLE – clean, straight lines

QUALITY – durable frame, hard-wearing upholstery, down-filled cushions

AVAILABILITY – delivery within 4 weeks (we were on a time crunch to get furniture in the room before our family came to stay for Christmas).

Because of the size and slightly strange shape of the room and because we wanted a big, deep, cushy couch, we decided an L-shaped sectional was our best option. After lots of online searching and a few days of furniture store shopping, we ultimately landed on the Lounge II 3 piece sectional from Crate and Barrel.

You guys. I know it is just a couch, but seriously, it is by far the most comfortable couch I’ve ever sat on. Which can be a real problem because all I want to do now is sit on it :)

The size fits perfectly in the odd nook of the family room. We have big plans to elevate the simple style of this room (I’ll share our ideas soon!) but until then, the couch was just what we needed to make it feel cozy and usable. At Christmas, with all our family here, we fit 8 adults without a problem on this big thing. That was exactly what we were hoping for and it made us extra happy with our choice.

Once we pulled the purchase-trigger on the couch, we realized we didn’t have a coffee table. The hope for this room was to be a family-friendly, casual place for hanging out and entertaining so we wanted a coffee table that would not only be the right scale next to the huge sectional, but could also work for extra seating.

After searching and searching, I came across this tufted ottoman bench on sale at Target. The price was great and with two placed side-by-side, it creates a large surface that can also be pulled apart for more seating. The linen color is very close to the color of the couch – not a perfect match, but not too clashy. I’m thinking I’ll reupholster the top of the ottomans at some point just for contrast and maybe in a more durable, darker upholstery fabric since these get lots of wear. I’m thinking a navy herringbone could be pretty.

To save the existing fabric and add more pattern to the room, I draped my favorite wool blanket across the ottomans and topped with an old basket to hold books, remotes, a vase of the prettiest ranunculus and Jenga blocks for impromptu playing. There have been a few times when we needed a hard surface for drinks and snacks, so I just bring in another tray to set those on. For the most part, though, we don’t eat and drink out of the kitchen, so that hasn’t been much of a problem.

We ordered the couch online, but went into a Crate & Barrel store beforehand to see it in person and make sure it was the right choice. I’m so glad we did. We would have ordered the darker gray version, but in person much preferred the light color (ours is the Taft fabric in Cement). And – BONUS! – it is an in-stock fabric so it shipped much faster!

The couch is very deep, which we absolutely love, and throw pillows are almost necessary to keep you sitting upright. Luckily for me, I have a total love affair with pillows and was happy to add a few more to my collection for this room.

Overall, we are so pleased with the choice. It was an investment, for sure, and hopefully a family couch we can keep for years and years.

There will be so many more updates of this room that we’re hoping to get to this Spring. I think it might become my favorite room in the house if all goes as planned. Details to come, of course.

For now, here are all of the sources found in our casual family room setup:

1. sectional | 2. floor lamp | 3. pom pom throw | 4. leather pillow | 5. x pillow | 6. side table | 7. ottoman | 8. check blanket | 9. wood lamp (similar) | 10. basket | 11. faux fur pillow | 12. modern dot pillow | 13. geometric pillow | 14. blue pillow (similar)

 

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A classic + modern design plan for the studio (I’m so excited!)

Now that the shell of the studio is complete, it’s time to get to work on a design plan for how to best use the space.

You would think that I would have had this all planned out for months, but nope. This is probably due to the fact that I’m simultaneously thinking about a bunch of other rooms and that I’m so much better at visualizing things once I can stand in a space and get a feel for it. Now that the studio is ready and kitchen makeover is complete, my focus is fully on this space.

(Well, that’s half true. I’m also thinking about the fireplace makeover I have planned and choosing carpet and repainting the third floor … so many fun things to do in this house!)

I love a good before and after, but I also totally see the value in sharing the process of how to get from that before to the after. So for the studio, my plan is to share it all step-by-step.

When approaching the decorating of any space, I like to think about a few things:

What is the purpose of the room?

and

What is the desired feeling for the space?

I will use the studio to work at the computer, store my craft/decorating supplies, take product photos for the shop and instagram, record Coffee Chats, sit with Ryan to plan and calendar all things JDC, meet with clients and gather with friends to work around a table. I am such a visual person that I work best when my space is clean and orderly, and also creatively inspiring. So my goal for the studio is for it to be light and bright, organized, warm, comfortable. Basically, a place that feels inspiring to work in and relaxing to be in.

Last week Ryan and I spent some time up in the studio figuring out how to layout the space to make the most sense. The dormers and angles are charming, but also cause limitations (there are only three flat walls to hang things on!). Ryan is so good at space planning so I rely pretty heavily on him to offer his vision. And he delivered. He came up with a great plan to build in a desk along the entire back wall, add bookshelves/storage on the wall between the dormers, put a table in the center of the room and a reading/planning area in one slanted-ceilinged corner.

Here’s a rough sketch of the layout:
Once we had the general layout figured out, I got right to work coming up with a specific plan. I have a pinterest board dedicated to my favorite office spaces, so it was great to look through those images to pull inspiration.

Since we decided the best use of space was to create a built-in desk along the back wall, that was my first focus. I spent hours – literally hours! – searching for creative built-in desk solutions.

My mom has a cute home office desk with three sets of filing cabinets holding up the wood top. That was initially what I was going to mimic, but then I started having second thoughts.

First, the wall we are putting the desk on is quite large. I felt like a small filing cabinet just wouldn’t be the right scale. Second, I don’t need storage for files and paperwork. Third, filing cabinets are not cheap! It felt like if I were going to pay several hundred dollars for this desk situation, I might as well make it very functional and more in line with my desired aesthetic for the studio.

This led me down a long and time-consuming rabbit trail of searching for something other than a filing cabinet I could use as the base of the built-in desks.

I came across this image and it was the perfect jumping off point. I figured if a filing cabinet could be used as the base of a desk, so could a dresser.

Next it was just a matter of finding the right scale and price point for a piece of furniture. I scrolled through all of my favorite online stores, salvage places and craigslist to find three matching dressers/bookshelves that were the right depth and height and came up without many options. With the options I did find, I drew out the measurements and prices along with pros and cons until ultimately landing on the Hemnes 3-drawer dresser from IKEA.

The dimensions were not perfect, but with some alteration the height would be workable.

To help me visualize what the dressers would look like, I printed off a photo of the studio and drew right over top.

Seeing it on paper (even in a not-to-scale, sketch-y version) was just what I needed to make the final decision.

With the built-in desk figured out, all of the other finishes and pieces could be chosen. For the studio, we’re going for a classic, modern and pretty minimal feel.

light | chair | dresser | wood countertop | table lamp | throw | acrylic sheet | standoff screws | windsor chairs | rug | cowhide rug

I’m not straying much from my typical style, but maybe pushing it slightly more clean-lined than I would in the house. A warm, neutral color palette of white, black, natural wood and brown leather will give a simple backdrop to the creative work projects that will happen in the studio. I still haven’t decided if I’ll paint the dressers that gorgeous deep green (Calke Green by Farrow + Ball), or keep them white. Either way, I know I’ll bring in green with a few plants to add a bit of life to the otherwise colorless palette. There are a few things I’ll pull from our house (like our dining room table and a reading chair) to add to the mix and we have another built-in shelf to figure out for in between the two dormers. But progress is being made!

We have two out of three dressers put together, chairs and lights are on their way, a diy white board is in the works and one of these days I’ll get the kids to help me lug up the million boxes of office stuff from the garage.

Hopefully seeing my design process is helpful! I’ll keep you updated as we continue to make progress …

 

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Discover your style + decorate with confidence

I truly love decorating. The act of taking a space and infusing it with personal style, putting order to something haphazard, making functional and aesthetic improvements to a space, this is one of my most favorite things to do.

And based on the online conversations we’ve had over the years, on the comments and interest you’ve shown in the changes we made to our old house and are now making to our new home, you love it, too.

What is this draw we have toward decorating a home?

Some of it is just purely the visual part of living in a home that is pretty.

But the other part – the part that is harder to define and transcends trends, budget, style – is the way a decorated home makes us feel.

Welcome. Comfortable. Calm. Inspired. Energetic. Cozy.

Just as how wearing an outfit we feel good in makes a big impact on our days, decorating our homes in a personal and stylish way makes a noticeable difference in how we live in them.

And – BONUS! –  when we feel happy and relaxed in our homes, we are much more likely to invite others in.

The desire for a pretty home is in us, but what if the skills to make it happen are not?! 

The newest online class, SIMPLIFIED DECORATING was created to help us all make our homes into places we love.

How fun would it be if I could come over, chat about what you’d like your home to look/feel like, maybe move some furniture and shop for a few pillows or a new couch or whatever you need?! Since that is a little tricky to make happen, let’s do it virtually, instead.

I put all of my best decorating knowledge into video lessons that you can watch from the comfort of your soon-to-be-happily-decorated home.

We’ll walk through the whole decorating process: first identifying your personal style, next assessing your room, creating a design board with items that fit your style and finally, putting it all together in a way that makes sense.

The course takes place online and you can follow along at your own pace. There are 15 lessons, each about 5-11 minutes each (for a total of just over 3 hours of inspiring video learning).

WITH SIMPLIFIED DECORATING, YOU WILL:

  • Discover your personal style
  • Avoid common decorating mistakes
  • Create a design board for any room
  • Incorporate your style into your home
  • Save money by not spending on the wrong things
  • Get a cohesive, comfortable home that makes you happy
  • Have a clear decorating direction

 


The course is split into four parts:

In the first portion of the class, you will walk through a series of steps to identify your personal decorating style.

Putting a name to it and understanding what the style is characterized by is the first and most important step in the decorating process.


In the second section, you’ll learn the seven essential elements for every room, common decorating mistakes with practical tips for how to avoid them, and a simple way to establish a cohesive color palette.


Before you begin on decorating your room, you’ll need a plan. This section covers what features to look for in your space, how to create a design board, practical tips for avoiding overspending.

You’ll also learn my step-by-step process for decorating any room.


This is where you put your knowledge to work! Be inspired by before and after successes and discover three things you can do today that will make a big impact.


THE COURSE INCLUDES:   

  • worksheets for discovering your style
  • seven elements that are essential for every room
  • step-by-step guide for how to decorate any room
  • practical tips for where to save and where to spend
  • the best home decorating sources
  • 5 common mistakes and how to avoid them
  • how to create a design board
  • three things you can (and should!) do today

Registration is now open!

You can join now and begin at any time (tonight? yep. Next week? Sure. In six months? Also, yes).

Here is what Simplified Decorating students are saying:

“I LOVE LOVE LOVE your simplified decorating class and have had so many aha moments with your approach to decorating. I now see clearly my design style and my approach to shopping for things for my home has been more focused which is awesome for my husband. ?” – Natalie G.

“Thank you so much! You do a great job of breaking down the steps and making it easy to understand! Now I am motivated to finish my art studio, living room and dining room!” – Melinda B.

“My house now feels more complete and peaceful as I think about bringing home a new baby. No more empty blank walls! Thanks so much for all your help in making this task not seem as intimidating. I learned a lot!” – Kate W.

If you need a little help, inspiration and motivation to make changes in your home, I can’t wait to be part of it!

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Coffee Chat Episode 15 | in the new kitchen

Grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat!

Today we’re in our newly made-over kitchen.

I posted the full reveal with lots of before and after photos (read that here) and your comments were so fun to read through! Many questions were asked on repeat, so in today’s video, I thought it would be fun to answer them on video and talk through our answers.

Welcome to our kitchen! Let’s chat …

MENTIONED IN THE VIDEO

The most asked question by far was “Where is the microwave?“.

Answer: we moved it into the pantry.

Isn’t that a lovely photo?! It’s just a tiny pantry tucked under the stairs and we sacrificed some shelf space for the microwave. Ryan is on a mission to make this space more efficient, so I’ll keep you posted if/when he adds more storage.


Next question: “Do the open shelves really function as well as they look?” and sister-question: “Do they offer enough storage?

Answer: I love them, they function well and storage is not a problem for us.

I snapped a few photos to show you inside the cupboards. I am a big fan of editing and giving away anything that either I don’t use, like or need on a fairly regular basis. This reduces what we have and allows us to keep the less-lovely kitchen essentials in the lower cabinets.

If you love the look of open shelves but can’t give up all of your upper cabinet storage space, you could also try removing just one cabinet (in a spot that makes sense) to give you a space for display while still keeping some of the uppers for storage.

Or, just take them all down and whittle down your dish collection to only the ones you use and love and display them proudly :)


Many questions came in asking “How did you paint the cabinets?“.

Like I mention in the video, you will want to take your particular cabinets into account before following my instructions. Our cabinets are solid wood with a slight sheen and were very easy to paint. Other cabinets will need more of a sanding job or different paint formula in order for them to be durable. Just remove a door and take it into your local paint store to get an expert’s opinion.

Here are my steps: lightly sand with 120 grit sand paper. Wipe down to remove sanding dust. Paint two coats of latex semi-gloss paint (with a good quality brush). Let dry a few days to fully cure.

I took all of the drawers out and doors off to paint the cabinet bases and drawer fronts, then put the doors back on to paint the front and sides of those. We chose not to paint inside the cabinets, but if I were planning on keeping the cabinets for a longer time than we are, I would have at least done the inside of the doors.

If you are painting dark cabinets a lighter color, you may want to prime first, then do two or three coats of paint for a nice finish. Our dark paint color covered really well and made the job quite easy.


The shirt I’m wearing in the video is THIS COZY ONE.

Thanks for watching!

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A little peek at our house this Christmas

I hope you had a lovely Christmas!

We have spent the past two days doing absolutely nothing and it feels amazing. Especially after the weeks of non-stop work on the house to get it ready for hosting.

bradyfire Whew! It was a marathon that turned into a sprint on those final few days.

Thankfully, my mom and dad stopped by the day before Christmas Eve and we put them straight to work. We unpacked boxes, moved things to the new studio (I can not wait to show you how it is shaping up!), hung pictures and coat hooks, made beds, put up garland, vacuumed, mopped, scrubbed and – my favorite part of all – installed the open shelves in the kitchen.

We are so excited about how the house is coming together. We are slowing making progress putting our touch in each room and it is truly transforming it.

I’ve shared a few photos on instagram and wanted to share more with you here on the blog.

I know it’s after Christmas and we’re all ready to take down the tree, clear out the garland and freshen up for the New Year, but the house looked so pretty and the sun was shining in and I just couldn’t resist snapping a few photos before our family came over on Christmas day. Enjoy the little peek into our house!

livingroom The living room went through phase one of it’s makeover with new paint on the walls, trim and ceiling. Just the paint changed this room completely (see the house when we bought it here).

I’ll talk more about this room, our vision for it and what we’ve done so far more in detail in the new year so stay tuned for more details. I will say, though, that the deep green/blue/gray on the walls (Ancestral by Behr paired with the same charcoal trim color that we used in the kitchen (Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams) is doing just what we hoped it would for the room: it’s feeling so cozy and moody in there.

fireplace sofapillows2 We put our beloved linen chesterfield sofa in the living room and layered it with favorite textiles.

*the sofa came from a shop that is no longer in business, but I’ve done a little bit of research and found that it is this one. The sofa is only available to the trade, so click around and you should be able to find a retailer near you.*

furpillow The stripe blanket was a recent purchase – it is lightweight and those corner tassels are so good. The green velvet pillow is from Crate and Barrel and comes in an assortment of pretty colors. The white goat hide pillow is available in our House + Home Shop and is even better in person.

pillows I love how the green and white on the left mixes with the blue ikat pillow (made by my mom with this fabric) and gorgeous modern leather pillow on the right. The leather pillow makes us want to add much more of that rich camel color in this room. I popped in an old Noel pillow for Christmas and will have to find a good replacement for it soon.

trayontable livingroomfire I have fireplace makeover DIY idea that I’m hoping to get to soon. But seriously, it is pretty amazing how different and updated it looks with just a new coat of paint.

cornerchair livingcorner diningtable Other than pulling off the wallpaper border, the dining room hasn’t been touched. It actually looked quite nice simply dressed with cedar garland, felt pom pom garland (no longer available from West Elm) and a runner made with wrapping paper, more greens from the backyard, white bottlebrush trees and candles in old silver cups.

diningtablecenterpiece diningroomtoliving The metal dining chairs from Restoration Hardware, doxology canvas is by Lindsay Letters, library shelf is from World Market.

The kitchen is my favorite transformation so far. Kinda crazy since we were not even planning on doing anything to the room until the big rip-it-all-out remodel we have in mind (read more about that here).

christmaskitchen I will do the official kitchen reveal with before and afters and the budget breakdown soon. I can’t wait to show you the whole thing!

Ryan and I love entertaining and we’re so thankful for this place to welcome our family and friends in to. It was a mad dash to get things put together before our family came to celebrate and now that it’s over, it was worth every ounce of energy.

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Favorite Christmas House Tours from Around The Internet

I was supposed to be part of Lindsay’s Blogger Stylin’ Home Tour today.

Sadly, I had to drop out. I had a moment last week when I thought maybe I could pull it together in time, but I was having a moment of insanity and then I came back to reality.

I know moving takes a lot of time. Moving while also doing construction projects, painting projects, running a business, opening up a new shop, catching a few episodes of This Is Us (I adore it) and being present for our kids? It’s not very orderly or fast.

messydining There may have been a mild meltdown last weekend. I might possibly have too lofty expectations. It’s a struggle to live in the midst of chaos and feel constrained by budget and time and surely that struggle is not just felt by me. It is just part of moving and of house renovation and we fully welcomed it all. Now if I could learn to chill out and enjoy the process …

Anyway, I wanted to pop in today to say that while we might not be ready around here for a Christmas House Tour, there are some pretty amazing showcases going on around the internet right now!

Here are a few of my favorite images so far:

WHITE BUFFALO STYLING CO. white buffalo styling christmas tour

THE INSPIRED ROOM cozy-living-room-christmas-house-tour-2016-the-inspired-room-the-white-brick-cottage

THE CURATED HOUSE
0067-thecuratedhouse-christmashometour-768x1152 0041-thecuratedhouse-christmashometour

RESTLESS ARROW restlessarrow

STYLE YOUR SENSES holiday-home-tour-2016-9

How gorgeous are all of those rooms?! Click on the images to see the full tours.

And just for good measure, here is our house decorated simply last year:

It was so pretty!

I probably sounded complain-y up there at the beginning and I really don’t mean to be. We LOVE this new house. I can’t wait to decorate it for Christmas and bring our vision to life. And I can’t wait to share it with all of you! It just might have to wait until next year :)

Happy Christmas House Tour day!

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Light those fancy candles

I had a funny realization yesterday while puttering around the house.

We’re still very much in the unpack boxes stage and everywhere you look there are haphazard piles and boxes. I’m trying to find little areas to put together to make a tiny bit of sense of this place.

In the entry, I grabbed a lamp and framed art, a tray, a plant and my favorite candle to put atop a dresser. It is very likely that it will all end up elsewhere, but for now, it is nice to at least have some slightly decorated space in the house.

greenmoss That candle got me thinking …

I am afraid to light it.

Why, you might ask?

Perhaps you have the same candle issue.

I don’t like to light the candle because I don’t want to waste it. 

When I had this conversation with myself yesterday afternoon, I had to laugh and shake my head at my silliness. That candle (and a handful of others sprinkled throughout the house) is there to give ambiance and light and scent to the house and the only way for that to happen is for it to be lit!

I didn’t realize this was my unconscious thinking about candles but it is totally true. I have barely melted candles that I’ve had for years and hardly ever light them.

It was time to change my crazy ways.

So I grabbed my lighter, lit that candle and let it burn for over an hour while I was home alone.

And I enjoyed every minute of it!

copper We have another candle in the kitchen that Ryan brought home from our favorite boutique in the area. It is a fancy candle (read: not cheap) and my inclination is to not light it (and therefore not waste it), but I am forcing myself to anyway. It smells so good and adds twinkly light at night that feels cozy and calm. It will run out one of these days and we’ll have to go get another, but at least we are using it.

I haven’t always been a candle person. Sometimes the scents are just too strong or sweet or headache-inducing. When it’s the right candle, however, there is just something wonderful about having them lit.

Here are a few of my current + longtime candle favorites:

Favorite Candles for Around the House

Green Moss | Driftwood + Indigo | Tocca in Florence

Roam Los Angeles | Moonshine | Iowa Pine

Do you have a favorite candle? Do you light it or hoard it?!

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Kitchen Mini Makeover | Design Direction + Progress

We didn’t mean to do a kitchen makeover. Really, we didn’t.

kitchendesign But on the first night, while I was in another room, I heard Ryan’s drill and I knew: those cabinets were coming down.

Let me back up for a minute and remind you of what the kitchen looked like on the day we closed:

kitchen kitchenisland kitchentowindows From the moment we first saw the house, we knew the kitchen/eating space wouldn’t stay this way. It took a bit of creativity and lots of sketching before we had a pretty good plan in place.

What is that plan, you might ask? I’ll spare you exact details but will say it involves tearing everything out, removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room, taking out the french doors, aligning the whole kitchen along the back wall, creating a giant island, replacing all the floors and adding in as much natural light as possible.

Needless to say, this project is not on the immediate horizon. We both decided we would live with the perfectly fine (if slightly dated and very orange) kitchen until we begin the big remodel.

And then the drill came out (on the first night! We are crazy like that!) and Kitchen Makeover Phase One began.

kitchenmakeoverphaseone

CABINETS

The first problem in the kitchen were those bulky upper cabinets. This house is pretty dark and the cabinets were not helping, so down those came.

I painted the cabinets in our old house and was very happy with how they turned out so we decided to do the same in this kitchen for the lower cabinets. My default for cabinets is always white, but in this house, white didn’t feel right.

Because we have to work with the dark tile floor and the speckled black and white granite tile, we felt like dark cabinets would be best to connect the floor and counters and minimize the contrast. If we went white, I could imagine it would feel pretty disjointed between the white walls, dark counters, white cabinets, dark floors. Grounding the bottom portion of the kitchen seemed like the way to go. Plus, the direction we’re trying to take this house is more handsome (to balance all the sweetness of the dormers and cottage-y features) and a rich charcoal was a great way to accomplish this.

I tried three sample colors for the cabinets and decided on Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams.

SIDE NOTE: I had the paint color matched at Home Depot in their highest quality in semi-gloss. Keep in mind that all of this will be replaced when we do the big kitchen remodel and so we’re doing our best to keep costs at a minimum. Honestly, I’ve been quite happy with the quality of paint.

With the gray floor, cold granite and charcoal cabinets, we’re adding a bit of warmth with brass hardware. I found brass cup pulls and knobs on sale from the Martha Stewart line and they will work perfectly in the kitchen.

LIGHTING

There was also an issue with lighting.

A massive, old fluorescent light hung over the island that was cased in more wood and felt very heavy. The can lights were scattered randomly and had black inner rings and off-white plates that read dirty and dark. The double pendants over the eating area were off-center and for some reason having two felt off.

Ryan and a friend decided on a whim one night to add a few more recessed lights and to fix the placement of others so that they all lined up on a grid. The pendants came down, one hole will be patched up and the other was replaced with a leftover pendant light from our old house. It is amazing how much brighter it feels in the kitchen now with the extra cans and the clean white of the metal, rather than the off-white/black combo that was previously used.

lightsreplaced Once the upper cabinets came down we realized how dark the walls were painted and those got a coat of white paint to freshen up the space. You can see the contrast of the previous gray wall color on the left side of the beam. We will paint out that terrible beam and the ceiling in white once the holes are patched.

TRIM

All of the window, baseboard, doors and trim in the house is the orangy-wood that was popular in 1992. Many of you have asked if we’re leaving it (no), painting it (possibly) or replacing it (most likely).

Again, since everything will eventually be torn out of the kitchen we are using what we already have and decided to paint the trim and doors. My default for trim is white and so I grabbed a can of trim paint from our old house and figured it would work perfectly for the kitchen.

It looked terrible.

Perhaps it was the wrong white? Perhaps it just needed another coat? Perhaps. But both Ryan and I agreed that white was not the look we were going for.

One day, while I was out and about, Ryan texted me with a “don’t hate me, but …” message and sent a photo of the window trim half painted in the dark cabinet color. I loved it! So did he. So dark trim and doors it is in the kitchen. At least for now. Or maybe for always and throughout the house because we really do like how it looks.

SINK + FAUCET

I didn’t realize the sink was a problem until we moved in and starting using the kitchen. While it is large (33″ x 22″), the split basin and off centered faucet made it difficult to wash dishes. We had a single-basin sink in our old house and I am forever and always a fan. I love being able to fit a cookie sheet or my gigantic cutting board into the sink to wash it and that wasn’t possible with this sink and faucet combination.

oldsink Since we’re trying to keep this makeover low-cost, we opted for a stainless steel sink which are typically less expensive than porcelain or enamel/cast iron versions. The one we chose is huge, square, so minimal and gorgeous.

Fun story about the faucet: I was on my computer searching on one website, Ryan was on his computer searching on another site. I said, “ooh, I like this one“, turned to him and he had just clicked on the same one. It was faucet-destiny.

Okay, ready for some progress shots?!

Here’s how the kitchen looks today:

eating kitchenback kitchenfaucet kitchenisland kitchensink Hopefully this week I’ll get going on painting cabinets and finishing up the rest of the trim. We’re still on the hunt for the perfect wood to use for open shelves and thinking through a few different art options to bring in some warmth.

So far, this little makeover is making me so happy and feels absolutely worth the time, money and effort.

Now that I really think through it, it makes total sense for us to make a few changes to this most-used space in our home. Sure, we could just wait until we do the big remodel but I don’t always believe in that. We live in our homes and sometimes making incremental changes to make a space into something you can use and enjoy now is just as valuable as saving and planning and doing it all at once later. I want this home to feel like us and mini-makeovers might be just the way to get there.

SOURCES

pendant light | single basin sink | faucet | brass knobs | brass cup pulls | dish towel (coming to my new shop next week!) | rug | chairs | barstools

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New House Update + Choosing White Paint

I finally got started on a few house projects this past weekend.

To catch you up to speed in case you missed it: We bought a new house. It took forever to close. We lived in our friends’ above-garage apartment for six weeks while we waited. The week we moved in was also my busiest work week ever. We listed our old house and all of our furniture is still over there since it looks so nice staged. We are currently sleeping on air mattresses, eating off a folding table and using camp chairs for seating. Basically, these past two weeks have been mildly-organized chaos and I kept feeling like I just needed to get through last week before I could mentally move on to working on our new house.

Well, here we are. I feel like I’ve come up for air and am so ready to make this fabulous house ours. I really like it here. I like the layout and the exterior and the views out the windows and our vision for each space.

It will take time, I keep reminding myself. Our last house was a work in progress for 10 years and this one will be the same (well, hopefully not 10 years, but we’ll see …).

We have plans for nearly every single space. Some plans are more involved than others and there are a handful of spaces that won’t be done until we’re ready to do a bigger remodel (take out a wall, replace the floors, new kitchen layout, move doors).

So my goal at this point is to make our main living spaces feel more like us – as inexpensively as possible – since this is really just a phase 1 fix.

The easiest way to update a space without a lot of effort or budget is paint.

And the good news is that I happen to enjoy painting.

This weekend, I pulled out our painting supplies and got to work.

First up: the guest bathroom.

redwhitepaint This bathroom is right off the kitchen, is windowless so it gets no light at all and was painted a very deep red. I know red was a thing years ago (remember how everyone was painting their dining rooms red?!), but it happens to be my least favorite color. Red and black together is even harder on my eyes.

In this tiny bathroom, the combination was not working for me and so the minute we got back from our son’s football game on Saturday morning, I popped open a can of old white paint and slapped it up on the walls.

I posted the photo above on instagram and smiled at the comments.

No, I don’t normally dress like this when I paint.

Yes, of course I use a roller.

This was just me unable to contain my neutral-loving self any longer :)

There were also a bunch of questions about picking the perfect white paint. So let’s chat about that for a minute.

Picking white paint is tricky. We went through the whole process in our old house (here is a post about that – the before and afters make me so happy!) and are doing it again in this house.

We hoped we could use the left-over paint from the other house to paint the walls in the kitchen for our phase 1 fix. Sherwin Williams White Heron is a warmish gray white that looked great and I was very happy with the choice.

But in this new house? It looked terrible. So cold and a little dirty and not what we were hoping for.

I did use the leftovers in the guest bathroom because my plan is to put up removable wallpaper (like I did here) for a pop of pattern until we can get to the bigger bathroom remodel phase. So the white was really just to cover up the red and act as a light background for wallpaper (still undecided, but I’m leaning heavily toward this one).

bathroomwhite It looks one million times better.

white-paint In the kitchen, we needed a different white. So I pulled out my massive paint chip card from Sherwin Williams and searched through the whites. We were looking for something warm, but not yellow. The house is not super bright, so stark white would feel too sterile. The previous gray on the walls didn’t read super dark until we pulled off the upper cabinets and it revealed an off-white underneath that made the gray look surprisingly dark (you can see a little sliver in the photo above where the off white and gray meet in a 90* angle).

I bought three sample pots and tried them on the wall in a few different places.

Sherwin Williams Downy

Sherwin Williams Snowbound

Sherwin Williams Shoji White

It is amazing how you look at white paint in a paint can and it just looks white but when you put it up on the wall it takes on a different hue.

The top color (Downy) looked pink.

The middle color (Snowbound) read cold blue.

The bottom color (Shoji) looked taupe.

One thing I’ve learned about picking white paint is that the color takes on what’s happening around it. With the orange-wood trim and gray background, it was a little hard to tell which white had the right undertones. I painted a few splotches on a white paper plate and that sealed the deal. It was so much easier to see the undertones and pick a winner.

We went with Shoji White.

whitepaintkitchen Now that it is up on the walls, it does not feel taupe at all. Just a nice, warm white.

Oh, white paint, you are such a challenge but you sure do make things look fresh!

So here are my best tips for choosing white for your home:

  1. Don’t pick a white paint color you’ve seen online or in someone else’s home. It’s tempting, but don’t. Every room and home has different natural light, shadows, flooring, etc. A white that looks great on my friend’s walls in Kansas will look much different on my walls in Washington.
  2. Think about what undertone you want. Blue, yellow, pink, green. If you are on the blue side, it will feel cool. Yellow will feel warm (but I caution you from going too far on either side because you’ll end up with baby blue or pastel yellow walls rather than white).
  3. Try a bunch of samples in several different places. Don’t be afraid to mess up your walls. Just paint big swatches all over to see how each color looks around the room.
  4. Sample the color on something pure white. This made a big difference for us so we could really see what color we were working with. It is so hard to tell on the little paint chips and sometimes challenging when your eye is also seeing colors next to or near the paint sample on the wall. Putting it on clean white makes undertones more apparent.
  5. Give it at least two coats. Even the best of the best wall paint looks better when covered twice. It will remove any background color and give you nice, clean coverage.

Things are slowly shaping up around here. We have far to go, but white paint makes all things better.

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A Bountiful Thanksgiving Table

This post is sponsored by Pier 1

Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday. I know I say that about every major celebration, but truly, Thanksgiving ranks high (like right at the top with christmas and easter). We have the best memories of Thanksgiving from when we were kids – big family gatherings, weekends at my great Aunt & Uncle’s house in their small town, cutting down our christmas tree – and it’s continued to be a time of year that feels festive and filled with tradition even now.

One of the best parts of Thanksgiving happens around the table. The food, obviously, is a highlight. But so is the gathering of family, the conversation and the sharing of gratitude.

We love being together as an extended family and do it as often as possible. To take Thanksgiving dinner from an ordinary family gathering to a special celebration, I love to set a pretty table.

tabletwoplacesettings This year, with the help of a few new pieces from Pier 1, the table will be set with a decidedly bountiful feel. Rich, earthy colors, fresh flowers in warm shades of deep orange and dusty pink, leafy branches cut straight from the tree. These organic elements mixed with vintage silver, sparkling wine glasses and cool marble makes for a perfect setting to celebrate Thanksgiving together as a family.

tabletop To pull this table together, I started where I always do: classic neutral basics.

tablediagonal White dinnerware is a staple when it comes to setting a table. It works for everyday; it works for special occasions. I prefer a simple shape like these round porcelain dishes and layering them over a gold charger adds just a bit of fancy to their simplicity.

sneakpeek These cloth napkins – with their metallic stitching in a classic windowpane pattern – are so pretty in person. They look great on the table and pick up the gold and warmth used throughout the table. For embellishment, a rustic bosc pear laid over a sprig of greenery feels chic and simple at the same time.

wine Another classic staple is a good wine glass. On this table, I used stemless glasses which work equally well for water glasses and just one all-purpose traditional wine glass. You wine connoisseur may beg to differ, but I find you really only need one style of glass to serve either red or white wine in. Keep things simple, that’s my motto. These crystal glasses are really nice, have a small bead around the lip and feel sturdy enough to take regular use.

tablecenter For the center of the table, a gorgeous black marbled stone cheese board filled with all the makings of a tasty charcuterie not only works as a focal point (how pretty are those figs?!) but also functions as an appetizer while we wait for the turkey.

fruitplate How great is that white marble bowl filled with pistachios? It is a marble mortar & pestal combo that works just as well as a serving bowl. There’s a tip: look around at what you have and see if there are ways to use it unconventionally. A sugar dish for a vase, a breadboard as a tray, a mortar and pestal set as a serving bowl.

platter Let’s talk about that breadboard used as a tray. This one is petite and the perfect warm wood tone. It adds a bit more of that earthy, organic texture and balances the stone bringing in more warmth. You can never go wrong with collecting pretty breadboards. They are just so versatile.

And those darling salt and pepper cellars? I’m so into them. If you have a big table, you could scatter a few sets around to make seasoning your meal a bit easier. I also think they would make the perfect hostess gift.

saltpepper Once the table is set, flowers are the finishing touch. To keep things slightly less formal, I chose a few humble flower bouquets from the grocery store, cut them down short and put them in tarnished silver julep cups (and an old sugar bowl). This is my tried-and-true method for elevating inexpensive flowers and it works every time (see the quick tutorial here).

lazysusan I raised the little vases up onto Ryan’s new favorite thing: a marble lazy Susan. Poor Susan. Why does she have to be known as lazy? I would love to know the story behind that name…

tabletoliving Our new yard is bursting with leaves of every shape and size. I cut the pretty green branches and layered them down the middle of the table to create a natural table runner. The green looks so pretty and fresh and, best of all, was free.

tablediag Of course the most important part of setting the Thanksgiving table is making it warm and welcoming and a place where our family can linger over conversation and good food. I can’t wait!

If you are looking for classic neutral pieces to add to your tabletop, may I recommend these 10 items from Pier 1:

tabletopfaves

  1. Wine Goblet | 2. Stemless Wine Glass | 3. Olive Wood Cheese Board | 4. Salt + Pepper Set | 5. Marble + Wood Coasters | 6. Stone Platter | 7. Woven Gold Checked Napkin | 8. Chevron Serving Board | 9. Marble Mortar + Pestal | 10. White Dinnerware

GIVEAWAY

To help get you started on your Thanksgiving table, Pier 1 is offering one JDC reader a $100 gift card!

To enter, leave a comment sharing your favorite Thanksgiving tradition. I’ll pick a random winner on November 2nd!


CONGRATULATIONS!

The winner of the $100 gift card is GRACE.

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On Changing Decorating Styles

There has been some decorating chatter over on instagram about our new house. A friend commented teasingly that she was waging bets on how soon everything in our new house would be painted white.

Because if you know anything about me, you know I have a great affinity for white paint. Paint it all! 

whitekitchen Have no fear, there will be plenty of white in the new house. I can’t help myself.

But – shock of all shocks – I’m thinking about straying from our go-to formula of white everywhere.

I like to call my style Clean, Classic and Collected with a touch of Pretty.

rejoicealways But this new house is pushing me outside of that familiar, comfortable style to something close, but decidedly different.

I’m calling it Clean, Classic, Collected with a touch of Handsome.

Did you catch that subtle change?

As before in our house I tended toward pretty, the new house feels like it needs to be handsome.

Maybe its because it is so adorable.

I love a balanced space (warm and cool tones, hard and soft, modern and patina’d) and I feel like if we went all sweet and white inside, it would be unbalanced. So I’ve been looking for ways to bring in that balance with more handsome features. Things like straight lines. Deep, moody colors. Rich textures.

I’m hoping for a good mix of cozy warmth and clean lightness. More use of vintage, salvage and found items combined with classic pieces like our tufted linen sofa. It won’t be a major stray from how our previous home was decorated – just maybe more warmth and perhaps a deep color or two.

Curious about what all that means? Here are three images I’m super inspired by for this new space.

INSPIRATION No.1

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-9-06-12-am via @bradytolbert

This handsome living room caught Ryan’s eye and I’m 100% with him on it. We love the texture, the classic shapes but modern finishes, the oversized art and general feeling of relaxed sophistication. Love, love, love it all.

INSPIRATION No.2

chrislovesjulia via chrislovesjulia

Do you all follow Chris Loves Julia (the blog and on instagram)? They have transformed a basic home and made it into such a warm, interesting, personal space. This front room, in particular, always catches my eye. It has that combination of classic, clean and handsome that we’re going for in our new home.

INSPIRATION No.3

kitchen

via Mazen Studio

I’m studying this photo for kitchen inspiration, for sure, but I also love how the whole thing works together. The chalky deep green-gray with the shiny white, aged natural wood tones with mixed metals. This is the feel we’re totally into right now.


So that’s what we’re thinking. As you can see, there is still plenty of white and softness balanced with straight lines and deep tones.

We can’t wait to get started!

If you need help figuring out your style, if you have a general sense of lostness and overwhelm when it comes to decorating your home, I have just the thing for you!

SIMPLIFIED DECORATING is my newest online class. I’ll walk you through the whole process I use while decorating any space: first identifying your personal style, next assessing your room, creating a design board with items that fit your style and finally, putting it all together in a way that makes sense.

The course takes place online and you can follow along at your own pace. There are 15 lessons, each about 5-11 minutes each (for a total of just over 3 hours of inspiring video learning).

With Simplified Decorating, You Will:

  • Discover your personal style
  • Avoid common decorating mistakes
  • Create a design board for any room
  • Incorporate your style into your home
  • Save money by not spending on the wrong things
  • Get a cohesive, comfortable home that makes you happy
  • Have a clear decorating direction

THE COURSE INCLUDES:   

  • worksheets for discovering your style
  • seven elements that are essential for every room
  • step-by-step guide for how to decorate any room
  • practical tips for where to save and where to spend
  • the best home decorating sources
  • 5 common mistakes and how to avoid them
  • how to create a design board
  • three things you can (and should!) do today

To help you get a feel for the class and to learn more about what we’ll be learning, here is the introduction for the class:

 

Registration is only open until November 2nd, so grab your spot now! LEARN MORE HERE

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