You guys. Demo day is less than a month away! The architect has been by, permits have been pulled, cabinets are being made, appliances are ordered, and it’s now almost not moving fast enough! I wish that it was August 27th, yesterday! Here’s a few images that inspired the end design that we came up with!
We’re going with a shaker style, stacked cabinet. The lower cabinets will be black and uppers white!
Countertops were a debate. We weighed the different materials – granite, marble, quartz and even porcelain! Each material has its own pros and cons but we ultimately decided on quartz. Low maintenance and being able to predict what each slab is going to look like (read: reduce my stress as much as possible) contributed to it became the clear winner! It was SO much fun going through and seeing all the giant slabs in person. So much fun that we changed our minds about 5 times on what we wanted! We narrowed it down to three and then two and after seeing the samples in our space (which I highly recommend because of lighting) and comparing to the color of our cabinets we picked a winner. We’re going with Calacatta Verona quartz!
The veins are lighter than other slabs, yet still defined and will hopefully make a really beautiful match for the island’s waterfall edge and slab backsplash. Which brings me to the next piece of inspiration… backsplashes. Pretty much from the very beginning I knew that I wanted waterfall edges on the island and a slab backsplash. I love the look those two features both create. Unfortunately this meant that we needed to get a second slab to cover the sq. footage, but I thought it was worth the extra cost. Changing to a subway tile (which is everywhere) or some sort of design would change the whole look that I was going for and since our space is smaller, the less busy the better to create an open and larger appearance.
Not all gallery walls are created equal. Sometimes I think they’re too kitschy with the mismatched frames and colors, other times they stop me in my tracks. Like most decor, gallery walls can make or break a room’s vibe. It’s so important that if you’re creating a gallery wall you keep these tried and true tips in the back of your mind during the creation:
Use art that you really love. Art should speak to you and not something that you pick up just because. Plus good art is expensive! Even prints end up adding up when you mat, frame, etc. Sure you can find some good prints and pieces at homegoods, but if you find a piece that makes your heart flutter just go for it because I guarantee you’ll kick yourself for passing it up, or spend hours searching to find it again!
Pick an anchor piece. The anchor piece of art should be the decider of how much cohesion and difference is in your gallery wall. And don’t be fooled- anchor pieces don’t necessarily have to be the biggest piece of artwork on your wall but make sure it’s not lost with the other pieces displayed!
Have the right amount of cohesion and difference. I’m a big fan of mixing mediums and gallery walls is the perfect opportunity to do so. Choose different metal frames, add wood frame in there too. Try to keep it to 2-3 different color frames depending on how many photos are included. Another way to not get too mismatched is to stick with all wood shades, or the same color such as black or white but mixing between wood and metal frames. Always, always mix photography and prints and paintings. Pull out certain colors and/or shapes from your anchor piece to help balance the differences and similarities.
Don’t overwhelm the space. Gallery walls do not need to cover corner to corner. In my collection above I picked 4 pieces that spoke to me. I could have kept adding pieces but I tend to lean toward simple rather than complex. If you have a small wall sometimes adding a bunch of art brings that wall to life. If you have a large wall sometimes adding a bunch of art just looks messy. Make sure you consider other elements in the room when designing and organizing your gallery wall.
I’m in the process of slowly but surely developing a gallery wall in my upstairs guest room. It’s the back room behind my office/closet so I’m having a fun time figuring out the vibe I want back there. I’m thinking modern meets library. Here are a few of my favorite gallery walls done right for some inspiration:
Another house project checked off the ol’ never ending to do list! Completing projects are always satisfying but this DIY project turned out exactly how I imagined. The before and after of our backyard is night and day so I’m super excited to share!
First let’s start with a little before action (look below). How sad!!! Behind our house there’s an alley and vacant brick building. A lot of our neighbors park their cars behind their house so sitting out on the back patio area was never really that relaxing. We watched cars and people go by, and felt like everyone was looking in on us. It wasn’t private, it wasn’t relaxing, and if/when I was sitting out eating dinner at our little bistro set, I was just staring at a line of trash and recycling bins. Not really my first preference of scenery!
In December I started looking at the cost of replacing our fence. Given that we want to start planning our kitchen remodel soon, the $$$$ estimates coming in weren’t really feasible. I started thinking. And googling. And pinteresting. I knew that I could figure out a way to make this chain link fence not so chain link fence-y. I considered purchasing more of the bamboo cover that the right side fence is covered with, but considering I don’t love the look, I opted not to. After running by a few other options with J, we decided to give covering our chain link fence with a wood plank facade a go. So spoiler alert, the chain link fence is still there, you just can’t see it!
So our backyard went from this:
Wondering how we did it? Don’t worry, I’m about to share!
*Disclosure: I would recommend having two people assist in the actual putting together.
Since it’s two swinging doors, and ideally we wanted to still be able to open the doors if needed, we measured each “door” and figured out we needed two sets of 72″ H x 81″ W for each. (We had Home Depot cut the planks to the length that we needed to save a step at home plus it’s free.)
We picked out the stain that we liked, and stained. And stained. And stained for a total of 3 coats on each side. We realllly didn’t want water to warp the planks so we made sure we used up the gallon of stain and then purchased this Thompson Waterproofing spray to seal the deal.
Once all the planks were stained we laid them out and picked the sequence. We wanted to make sure we put the best planks with the coolest wood grains at the top, and ones with drips or nicks at the bottom since they’d be covered by the loveseat or other furniture in the future.
I painted the side posts of the fence an aged bronze/black to go one step further in removing that chain link feel.
We then used the six 1″x3″x6′ boards to create the “frame” on the fence. We braced one on each side, and one positioned in the middle with the brackets at the top and bottom to secure to the fence and prevent the planks from sliding.
Then plank by plank, position, level and screw away! (We used a screwdriver wedged between the planks to create a consistent gap between wood planks.) After we had all the planks up, we sat back and enjoyed the transformation for about 5 minutes before I wanted to get started on gardening 🙂
We went back and forth on whether to position the wood horizontal or vertical, and I’m so happy that we landed on horizontal. It gives it a little bit more of a modern feel, and goes with our patio furniture. I’m debating what we should do with the bamboo covering on the right end, and divider fence on the left… maybe paint them black? Or cover with the faux boxwood screen squares?
If you’re renting, this option doesn’t ruin the existing fence so it’s an awesome option for renters too! If you don’t want to put in the effort there are actually a ton of privacy screen ideas to consider if you want something less permanent or even more affordable than covering your chain link fence! I ordered this faux boxwood screen squares and was pleasantly surprised at how great it looked when I covered the single door next to the wood fence.
The total cost of the fence ran us about $450 for the wood, stain, screws, and brackets which is considerably more affordable than having a company put in a new fence.
Tell me this thing isn’t beautiful. The front porch, the transoms around the door- ah! It takes you back to a bygone era where sitting on the front porch with a glass of lemonade didn’t have to be pre-planned and scheduled into your day. My gosh golly this house makes me want to stop tinkering around with ours and just move on out to the Virginia/West Virginia line. The stained glass, screened in porch, exposed beams – it’s all too good! I got some good messages from the previous post I did explaining some of my design ideas so I figured I’d do it again with this old farmhouse built in 1896 on more than 6 acres! The wheels were turning as I clicked through the post’s pictures and for less than $350k, this house really only needs a little bit of TLC. A couple cans of paint would do wonders, maybe some fun wallpaper or antique finds but who ever buys this house… please please please don’t knock down the walls. Don’t do anything to those beams, and please don’t replace the stained glass windows. In old homes like these I envision taking it back to the way it was intended. Working from home was working on the land at this estate so here’s my idea for an office/library in this room with these beautiful windows…
I’d keep the wood floors (they’re in perfect condition from the looks of it), build up the shelves to the ceiling and fill them with books, color coordinated of course., and probably give them a fresh new stain- potentially in a richer shade of brown. Remove the old ceiling fan and replace with a light fixture like this or keep a fan and replace with this one, wallpaper the remaining walls, and add some very old school furniture that you can’t help but curl up with a book on.
It’s almost a little comical that whenever I put together little design mock ups, they’re not what my house is styled like (at all!), but I spend my free time looking at homes on Redfin and Zillow just for fun and I envision how I’d decorate and/or renovate them. Sometimes I venture so far out I end up finding a house on the market in Yucca Valley that gives me all the heart eyes imagining a desert, bohemian, casual cozy abode. For this desert darling I’d paint the house a deep navy, create a large lounge area around the fire pit with some concrete stools and butterfly chairs and play up the indoor-outdoor living you can get away with in the desert! For the eating area, since the house under 1000 sq. feet, I’d do a fun simple little set. A moroccan print round rug in a gray and ivory, leather swoop chairs, tulip table, and some refurbished wooden shelves. You could argue it’s a little more on the masculine side with the leather chairs and metal base, but the light wood gives it a simple, natural look. A simple half dome lamp in either a black or a hammered brass would the perfect size overhead light for a small tulip table while still making a statement. And these chairs. Go ahead and order 4 because a) they’re under $100 for a set of 2 and b) they’re so cute that if you don’t want to keep all four at the table, you could use them in the living room or in the corners of the bedroom.
Shop The Look:
P.S. 2.5 acres under $200k. This house is a little gem!!
Going into staged homes can either be a blessing or a curse. Blessing because you can see what size furniture works (or doesn’t work) and curse because then that set up is stuck in your mind. I kept picturing the staged set up- which I thought worked really well- but I wanted to nail down pieces that were a good mix of feminine and masculine, traditional yet modern, and make a bit more of a punch since it was the first room you see as you walk into our home and sets the stage.
The brick wall was like an obstacle that I had to get past. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I was having the hardest time figuring out what type and shade sofa that I wanted that would look good against the brick. J & I both liked the idea of a leather couch with a fun profile since this space is our more formal, conversational room (read no TV) but finding the leather sofa was difficult. I didn’t consider black leather until we came across this West Elm Modern Chesterfield sofa and we immediately knew the buttery soft, tufted leather in Licorice was exactly the punch that we were looking for! To brighten up the room, I opted for a pair of mid-century modern wingback chairs in a neutral twill, a black and gray overdyed rug, and brass accents throughout the room.
I had everything in place for a couple weeks, minus a coffee table. I debated a few different coffee tables but ultimately decided on this CB2 one. A simple marble slab. At our old place our coffee table was always covered in things, trays, books, mail, etc. so I’m trying to keep the accessories to a minimum and let the white marble show off itself!
Staged Living Room while on the market:
My Living Room Design:
Living Room Reveal:
I was overjoyed when I walked in during our house search to see so much of the original character maintained. The French doors and crystal door knobs make me smile every day!
Although I don’t have a pink living space (yet) I love the way you can really freshen up a space with the all-the-rage shade in a very adult like way. The soft shades of pink have been on the interior decorating market for some time so it’s definitely a trend that’s going to stick around for awhile. When done right, it can act as a neutral or even the pop of color your neutral space needs!
Millennial pink works so well with a cozy, bohemian style. In this mock up I’ve paired a pink slipper chair (super affordable) with a neutral couch and different patterns and materials to give the small space concept some depth and interest while not crowding. If you’re afraid to add in pink via your furniture, try adding in some decorative pieces like the globe, vases, or throw pillows.
Going from a 700 sq ft apartment to a 2100 sq ft row home was a big difference. When we were moving in and transferring boxes from room to room, I literally could not find J anywhere in the house. I called down, no answer. I walked downstairs, no J in sight. We laughed that we passed each other without even noticing! Much different than what we were used to with our one bedroom, one living space apartment! But with the increase of space means more rooms to furnish, which can get a little bit overwhelming, and expensive!
I decided to focus on the furnishing the living room, dining room, back sun room on the main floor and our Master and Guest Bedroom upstairs. The basement, additional bedroom rooms (which is acting as my closet), and office are on the backburner for now.
All the interior doors in our house are painted black- which I love!!- and the majority of the walls are Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray (SW 7029). We still loved our bedroom furniture so we brought that with to use, and moved in a floor length mirror that we previously had in our apartment hallway. We changed up the bedding, replaced the ceiling fan, bought two new matching nightstands, a rug that would still showcase the original hardwoods, and added some pictures from our Italian honeymoon above our headboard to give our Master a fresh new feel. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking it here and there, re-styling the nightstands, etc. but I am super happy with the outcome! See the progress below!
Staged Master while on the market:
My Master Bedroom Design:
The finished Master Bedroom:
I bought three of these wall hooks/knobs from CB2. I have two next to my dresser to hang purses that are in my current rotation, and J has one next to his closet to hang up any shirts, belts, etc. It’s a great way to keep things off the floor, avoiding things from piling up! (These are the small size)
We’re attempting to keep things simple and not over crowd our night stands and dresser tops. A leather catchall is a great way to keep collar stays, pocket squares, and loose change tidy! I’ve also been much better at my night skincare routine now that I’ve been keeping my creams and oils on my night stand. I’ve been loving this Vitamin E oil. Already seeing a difference in my skin!
I totally should not be shopping for clothes right now after doing a major furniture purchasing spree, but I just can’t help myself when it comes to big seasonal changes like Fall. The rich colors, thicker fabrics, and opportunity to layer has me all sorts of excited. I’ve tried to buy strategic pieces 1. Because it’ll help keep my bank account at a whimper instead all out screaming at me and 2. I don’t have the closet space anymore so I need to purchase items that are classics and able to be mixed and matched.
After many seasons of watching this J.Crew camel blazer, I finally pulled the trigger. I’m excited to style throughout the different seasons but especially for this Fall. I’m thinking jeans and white tee for the weekends and paired with these forest green pants & a blouse for work! I’ve been loving the newsboy cap trend right now. There are some super cute & affordable ones out there right now (like this ASOS one!) and if you’re unsure of the look, you can always give your baseball cap an upgrade with this cool one!
P.S. This scarf is under $10 & comes in three different patterns!
While our almost 100 year old row home is in great condition, and it’s evident the previous owners really took care of it, there was one major thing that they did that completely bugs the heck out of me. (Even more so than the dated kitchen appliances!) They bought fans and light fixtures that are completely the wrong size – either entirely too big for the rooms, hanging down too low, or just plain ugly. I don’t know if it was what was on sale or if their taste is really that different than what mine is, but I knew switching out light fixtures and fans were a top priority!
Since we just recently settled on and purchased a dining table, my search for a chandelier and wall sconces are in full force! (I can’t wait to get rid of the fan they put over the dining table. Talk about cold food!) Here’s the first “Save vs Splurge” post rounding up some really pretty chandeliers & pendants to hang over your dining table! It’s amazing that if you want a certain look for a certain price, it’s out there! Or if you want to splurge because you know it’ll just make the room – go for it! Either way, pick the one that you love because lighting really makes or breaks a room!