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Put a bird on it … an inexpensive art option

I know birds might be a little cliche, but I actually really do like them. I am always drawn to art with birds, fabric with birds (especially this!), these chairs – oh how I want them in my house, and even clothes (like this dress for me and this adorable sweater for Audrey).

Years and years ago I came across a coffee table book filled with delightful illustrations of – you guessed it – birds.

Instead of using the book for its intended purpose, I promptly sliced the pages out to use as art. Long ago, I pasted them all up on the wall above our piano (It’s so fun to look back at old blog posts. These were taken way before the need for good photos … just me being creative sharing it with early blog readers. It’s fun to see how much my style has changed, too).

I have held on to that stack of bird illustration and continue to reach for them when I’m in need of art.

The swift print has been a mainstay around my house for a while. You’ve seen it in the entry.

You’ve seen it in the spring studio.

And again in the studio styled out for the summer.

When I was adding a fall touch to the studio, I went back into that stack of bird prints and found the perfect more muted fall-toned bird.

I just popped it into the same vintage frame (with faded mat – my favorite part!) and looks so great with my pumpkin painting.

In the Birds book, there are 46 different illustrations to choose from. Here are a few more of my favorites:

Aren’t those great? I do think a wall with a bunch of them framed would be charming, or just pick and choose the bird that makes you happy. That rook up there would be cute for Halloween, the snowy owl for Christmas and heron (bottom left) is fun for summer.

I know finding art that is affordable can be tricky so hopefully this resource will help!


SIMPLIFIED DECORATING is open for registration

I wish I could come to each one of your homes to help you pick a paint color or rearrange your furniture or shop for pillows, but since I can’t (you know, 4 kids and dinner to make and a blog to keep up and all) I have put all of my best decorating tips and suggestions and resources together in an online class called SIMPLIFIED DECORATING.

Learn how to identify your personal decorating style, figure out what items work best with your style (so you don’t buy the wrong things!), create a design board to see how everything will work together and learn my approach for layering a room to make it comfortable and welcoming. All of the videos are fun to watch, with tons of visual examples and you can move through at your own pace.

It’s basically what I would do if we were working on your home together in real life :)

Registration is open for a limited time. I can’t wait to see you in class!

Sign up today

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Fall touches in the studio

I told myself I wasn’t going to get into Fall mode until after last weekend. Audrey had her first soccer game, we celebrated Brady’s 12th birthday (what?!) and the Seahawks played (sad loss, but I’m trying to forget it). I saw my first falling leaf of the season and our hydrangeas have changed into the prettiest dusty blue/green tones. It’s definitely fall.

Which means it’s time to add autumn touches around the house. I’ve said this before (probably with every new season), but one of the best parts of decorating with mainly neutral pieces is that it is so easy to switch out a few accessories, pillows, throws and artwork to give our home a seasonal feel.

I keep a small bin of autumn decorations (faux pumpkins, a few wreaths, acorns and collected feathers) and pulled them out this weekend to start in on the studio. It’s still early fall, so I didn’t want to go to dark and cozy quite yet, so I kept things light and fresh with just enough elements to make it feel like a change from summer.

chair | blanket | pumpkin canvas | shelves | linen file box | basket | Q&A book

I started with my white pumpkin painting canvas. You might remember the original from our old house (see it here). I had it professionally photographed and turned it into a reproducible canvas last year. I adore how it turned out! You can order one for your house here. The medium size is shown, but you can also get a smaller or larger version.

I just love how all of the textures play off of each other – baskets, shiny metals, antique frame, the little cotton wreath, wood desk, leather chair and wool blanket. This whole set up feels very true to my casual/layered style.

I found that green vase while walking through Home Goods a few weeks ago. I almost passed it up and then went back for it at the last minute. It just seemed like a good timeless piece to have on hand. And it looks so pretty with a branch popping out.

It is so nice to walk into the studio and see this pretty view first thing. I’ll keep making small changes in the rest of the space – and in the house as well – and will share more as the rooms come together. For now, I’m loving the touch of fall to this little corner of the studio.

desk | desktop | chairpumpkin canvas | buffalo check blanket | lamp diy

 

Happy fall, my friends!

For more on the studio:

Before + After | The Initial Design Plan | Desk DIY

Spring Studio Tour | Summer Studio Tour

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why I still make the bed even though our mattress is on the floor

Today is National Make Your Bed day (did you even know there was such a thing?!).

Several months ago, Crane & Canopy offered to send us a new Belgian linen duvet and sham set and I, of course, said yes. If you’ve been around here for long, you know that I have a longstanding thing for linen. Linen sofa, linen pillows, linen curtains … and now linen bedding.

You guys. I love this bedding so much. It is so soft and lightweight, crisp and classic, and the wrinkly casualness is just right for our cozy house. I always go for white duvet covers and shams because they feel so hotel-ish and this new linen set is for sure my favorite we’ve ever had.

Months have passed since our new bedding came and I’ve been waiting for some updates to be made to our bedroom until I shared.

We sold our old metal bedframe (see it here) after we moved in almost a year ago and planned on replacing it with something more substantial, a little cozier and more masculine in style to fit in better with this house. I genuinely wanted to put our bedroom together first because master bedrooms always end up being the very last to get any attention in a house. I even put together a great design plan! We have plans to add architectural interest to the wall behind the bed (and potentially cover up the hexagon window that is oddly placed), we need nightstands and a reading chair/loveseat over by the window and we’re even considering putting a tv in the room (gasp!).

And yet, here we are all these months later with our mattresses on the ground, an ikea step stool for a nightstand and an otherwise empty room.

But here’s the thing: even though we don’t have our perfect furniture, I still make the bed.

I make the bed because it’s something I can do to make our bedroom feel put together.

I make the bed because it looks pretty.

I make the bed because if the bed is made, I feel a little more in control of my life (weird, I know. I feel the same way about having a clean car. When it’s out of control messy, it stresses me out.)

I make the bed because it feels so good to get into a nicely made bed at night.

My recipe for a well-made bed consists of a subtly pattered sheet set, a coverlet, duvet (with down comforter inside) folded at the foot of the bed, two sleeping pillows (on regular and one memory foam), decorative sham and a few accent pillows.

I’m such a fan of mixing patterns and textures and it makes my neutral tendencies so much more visually interesting.

For instance, we have a petite pattern on the sheets, a striped pillowcase for the memory foam old-lady pillow, a quilted velvet coverlet, linen duvet and shams and and embossed design on the throw pillows. The whole mix feels casual, classic and a little bit preppy.

Over the weekend, I painted a scribble art piece to hang over the makeshift nightstand … and I’m totally smitten with it. It adds a quirky graphic punch to keep the room from going too traditional.

So even though our room is far from where we hope it will end up, I’m so committed to making it work in the meantime. And sometimes all that means is taking a few minutes each day to make the bed.

SOURCES

sheet set | coverlet (similar) | duvet + shams | floral pillows | step stool (aka nightstand)


Hop on over to my fellow-bed-makers to see how they are pulling things together in their rooms on this national make your bed day: Kristi at I Should be Mopping the Floor, Anne at Flax & Twine, Camila at Effortless Style.

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The Best Gold And Brass Picture Frames

The right frame puts the finishing touch on art. Brass and gold has been trending for a while, but until recently, it’s been hard to find a good minimal brass metal frame.

I have gathered six of my favorite frame options at varying quality and price points to help narrow down the perfect picture frame hunt.

Here are my favorites:

gallery brass frame – cb2 | gallery frame – West Elm

brushed brass – Crate & Barrel | profile frame – Room & Board

metal frame – Target | gold frame – JDC Goods

As you can see, some of the frames are a bit pricey, others are less so.

My sister has the West Elm brass frame in her house and it’s heavy and nicely made. See it below in her newly remodeled kitchen/dining room:

amy's-house Because it’s in a prominent spot, it is nice to have a great looking, quality frame. Plus, hers is large with a big mat and really gives that custom look to an 8×10 art print. (ps. their house is so pretty. Here is a tour of the kitchen.)

I have a smaller version of the same West Elm frame in our house, too:

If the budget does not allow for lots of money on frames, give the Target version or the one from my house + home shop a try. They are certainly not as heavy, but when up on a wall, who can tell?!

We just restocked the frames in the shop (and they tend to sell out fast!). They are a great, simple frame and come in three sizes. Grab one here.

Also, don’t be afraid to mix metals! I’m a big fan of the collected and casual look of mixing different types of metals, wood, black and white throughout the house and even on the same wall (or on top of the piano, as was the case in our old house).

A minimal metal frame feels classic and timeless. If you’re looking for the perfect brass or gold-toned frame, I hope my picks are helpful!

 

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Updates and decorating (finally!) in the family room + kitchen

Our house is not done. We have so much more to do with it, so many ideas and plans and sometimes it can feel a little frustrating to have the vision, but have to wait to bring it all to reality.

I do my very best to look around and see all the things we have done, to remember where we were just 10 months earlier, to be grateful for this big, wonderful house with its big, beautiful yard. But, ugh, sometimes I can feel a little impatient and a touch envious of all the pretty, finished homes out there (like my sister’s, my friend’s, anything by Studio McGee).

Our kitchen and family room are two rooms that we can’t wait to update. They are the heart of our home, the spaces we spend the most time in and hang out when our extended family and friends are over. We have great ideas for how to transform these rooms … we’re just not exactly sure when we will execute.

So we’ve been doing the small projects that feel like progress – painting the walls and trim, replacing the bulky kitchen cabinets with open shelves, wallpapering the guest bathroom, changing out light fixtures. All of these minor changes have done a lot to update the rooms.

What hasn’t really happened is decorating.

We’ve been in the house for nearly a year and I have hung approximately three pictures on the wall (and they’re all up on the third floor where I hardly ever visit).

A few days ago, I wrangled my friend into helping me move some furniture around in the family room just to try to make it look better in the meantime. I didn’t want to buy anything new because ultimately we’ll add built-ins and move the tv and figure out the rug situation once hardwood floors are in. But I just felt so bummed out looking at a bare room with zero decoration. It was time to make some changes, make it feel a little more lived-in and inviting and add some personality.

We shopped the house, moved things around, stole lamps and even hang a few pictures.

It’s not the finished, perfect, ideal space we hope to get to at some point, but it’s so much better. And, actually, it feels so much more homey to us all.

This old wood church pew is my favorite borrowed piece from Ryan’s mom. It hasn’t had an official home in this new house until we tried it (and love it!) pulled up to the kitchen table.

(Let’s not talk about the wrinkles in the rug. I hosed it off to clean it, laid it over our outdoor furniture to dry and it hasn’t been the same since).

chairs | leather pillow | pendant light

bar cart | lamp

(art print from the September Paper Works collection)

sectional | ottomans | floor lamp | x-pillow | pom pillow | leather pillow  | stripe basket

chair | pillow

bookshelf | basket (on shelf)

Moral of the story: do what you can do today, with what you have to make your home feel happier to you :)

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