Saturday, March 14, 2015

Selection Series: Master Bathroom

Today, instead of counting the hours until baby boy's arrival, I'm dreaming of master baths!
Ours - after the remodel is complete - in particular.
I feel so undeserving to be able to plan out my dream bath....truth be told, I've lived with a tiny bathroom for most of my life and it's worked out just fine.
BUT. . . I am over the moon excited to be able to make my vision for a master bath come to life.

One disclaimer: I wanted to go brass; but Michael put his foot down at that.
He's so very open to SO many things - for some reason he has a mental block on brass fixtures and I'm OK with that.
{Probably because he knows me well and knows that the moment the trend starts to lose its luster, I'll be begging to switch back to polished chrome.}

The first and most prominent element of the room will be the wet room.
{Fancy term for putting the tub inside the shower}
Have you seen this trend?  It's really nothing new - very popular in Europe especially!  However it's just starting to pick up steam on this side of the pond.

{via Apartment Therapy}

I first fell in love with this concept at a dear friend's home and hoped that one day it would make its way to our bathroom.  It somehow gives the room a luxury, spa-like feel at not much more cost than installing a tub and shower separately.  Win, win!

Let's talk flooring:
We have these large slate tiles in our downstairs bath currently and I absolutely adore them!  Easy to clean, very durable and I think I'll love the contrast of their deep grey with the white marble.
To keep things from looking too sterile and to add warmth to the room, I'm thinking it's time for those traditional bath mats to GO!! Let's make room for a Persian rug in there - who says you always have to play by the rules? 

Faucets:
Since we're not going brass, I'm thinking Waterhill Collection from Moen will be gorgeous!

Vanity:
Because of the way the room lays out, our vanity will be extremely long {10 feet or so....giving Michael plenty of room to "primp"} Jussst kidding - that would be ME!

To make the best use of the space and break up the two sinks a bit, we've decided to go with some b built in cabinetry in between the two sinks.  This gives us plenty of storage and keeps a lot of those unwanteds off of the counter space. 
{via Houzz}

Lighting:
Thankfully, we'll have lots of natural light flooding this space.  In addition to that, we'll also add recessed lighting above and four of these gorgeous little sconces to the vanity area:
I'm always amazed at the price of some sconces.  I found several that I love; but couldn't get past their price tag {especially since we'll be needing four.}
Home Depot to the rescue: Remington Brushed Nickel Wall Sconce
At $49 each, I think they'll fit perfectly into the budget.

I'm sure there are a million more selections to come for the master bath . . . . 
But for now, I think we've got a great start to what I hope will be a gorgeous and airy room.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Making an Apartment Feel Like Home

We did it!  We've moved.  With just days to spare until our baby boy's arrival, we've packed up hundreds of boxes (I'm sure that's not an exaggeration), stored most of our furniture, purged every single closet, sold some "extras", and made countless trips to Goodwill.  Though it was exhausting and not at all fun for a nesting mama-to-be with a 16 month old clinging to my leg; it feels so good to be temporarily settled into our tiny cozy apartment.

Michael and I joked that everyone should move at least every five years- it reminds you that less really IS more and you get rid of SO. MUCH. JUNK.
{Not even kidding, I found monogrammed cookies in wrappers from our wedding five years ago....exactly what was I saving those for again?} 

So until our home renovation {see previous post} is complete, we're nice and comfy in our pint-sized three bedroom apartment, just minutes away from our sweet little home that's about to become a serious construction zone.  Still seems surreal.

Apartment living is definitely a drastic change from the spacious home and yard we're used to; but I think with a little creativity, a LOT of organization, and some serious patience, we'll make the next few months here feel a little less like an apartment and much more like our home!

First, here's our "blank canvas" - where we started just three days ago.

{nursery before}
{Dining Room Before}
{Living Area Before}
Pretty normal.  Pretty boring.

So....For anyone else like me who is dying to decorate and "nest" in a temporary apartment or rental, here are my thoughts on how to make your new space feel more like you:

DIY Temporary Pieces:
Since we are only here for a short time (I hope!) I couldn't fathom the thought of spending even Target prices on bar stools.  So off to Goodwill we went. 
I didn't take a before picture - but you can imagine...they were $2.99 each and even THAT seemed like a stretch!
Nothing a little white and gold spray paint couldn't fix.
$6 feels MUCH better for a temporary need like this:
Even little changes can make a HUGE difference in a room. 
I recently found this IKEA Hemnes dresser on Craigslist for a steal.  
{I can't tell you how long I have been looking for one of these!! I know I could have driven to IKEA and bought one at any point; but the thought of putting it together seemed too daunting.  Although, really, who am I kidding? I would have passed that job off to Michael after the first step in the instruction booklet.}
Though I loved it as is, I wanted to make it POP a bit more:
RING PULLS to the rescue.  
Here's my favorite source:
 MUCH better!
{And now....baby boy Knotts is free to come anytime.  He finally has a nursery.  Even if it is in an apartment.  Goodness knows he won't mind.}

Utilize Baskets {make it functional}
Baskets and other organizational tools are important always; but especially so in cramped quarters.  
A place for everything and everything in it's place, right? 
{It doesn't hurt that these baskets from the Container Store are super reasonably priced.  So if they don't work in the new house, that'll be alright too!}

{A colorful Target dollar spot tray is all ready for Baby Boy Knotts in just a few days!}

A vintage ladder takes up no room, fills up dead wall space, AND doubles as a blanket holder.
Triple win!
{Though the living room is not the ideal place for Elle's favorite tee-pee, it sure makes cooking dinner easier when she can play within eyesight.}

 Dress Up Your Table
A decorated table adds so much warmth and sparkle to a home {and when you're living in a drab apartment, you need all the sparkle you can get}
This particular table was sitting in our garage as were the chairs.  We won't use either in our newly renovated home; but they work well for now. 
I know, I know . . . enough with the gold and white, right?
I. Just. Can't. Stop.



Outshine the Ugly:
Sometimes apartment living presents significant decorating challenges.  Take this air return vent for example.  Obviously we can't cover it; but distracting the eye a bit with an equally large mirror and never hurt:

And instead of staring at a boring patio every day, we brought a little of the lake with us - our favorite rocking chairs.  But instead of gazing at a lake, we're now staring at a pool; but, hey... it's better than a parking lot!


Add "Uniquely You" Touches:
Though you may be here 4 months or 24 months, don't hesitate to make it feel like home. 
Hang that art you love and bring in pieces that have meaning.
In our case, most of our big pieces went to storage, but we did bring along a coffee table Michael made for me from driftwood we found together in the lake.  I've never loved this table more.  It now reminds me that we'll soon be back to our real home.


Because.... plants and fresh flowers are ALWAYS a good idea!

And my final tip: even though it's temporary, even though it's a rental, make sure others ALWAYS feel welcome.  This home of yours - temporary or otherwise - may not be perfect and you may not love everything about it; but be sure to  love on everyone who walks through those doors!  


As I heard one of my favorite authors and speakers say this past year: when guests leave your home - be it a mansion or a shack - they should leave feeling better about themselves and not better about you. 
{paraphrase of Shauna Niequist}

Isn't that what true hospitality is all about anyways? 

Cheers to a cozy apartment and my two {soon to be THREE} favorite people I am blessed to share it with!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Selections Series: The Kitchen


Timing, as they say, is everything.  For us....well, let's just say it's not our forte.  We never seem to plan very well.  Case in point: the last time I was in my third trimester of pregnancy, we moved everything out of our house and installed hardwoods.

Well here we are again in third trimester with our second baby and THIS time....well, we're looking at another renovation.  A renovation, might I add, that makes the last one seem like amateur hour.
This time, we're taking the roof right off and adding another story.
I feel pretty confident that this HAS to be the last baby; because this....we can't top! (literally)
I'll keep you updated along the way....but here's the exterior that we've fallen in love with:

{via Urban Building Group}
No guarantees whatsoever that our home can transform into this...but it sure is fun to have a gorgeous goal like this to reach for.

For now, I thought I'd walk you through the selection process room by room.
Though I thought I'd love this process (finally making selections for my personal home instead of a client's).... it's been much more of a challenge than I had anticipated.

For two reasons I believe:
First, because there is such an over abundance of wonderful sources from which to choose.  It nearly drives you batty after the seventh hour of pouring over bathroom fixtures and cabinet hardware.
Secondly, because I've never put my own home together in a matter of weeks.  I've always much preferred the "collected over time look" as opposed to a house that appears ordered straight from a magazine.

So in an effort to make your hunting easier {should you be in the renovation habit as well}, I thought I'd share my favorites so far for each room.
For today.... here are my top picks for a classic and elegant kitchen.
Here's our current kitchen before and after the hardwoods:
It's functional for sure; but there's no big WOW factor.
We hope to change all of that by gutting it completely - taking out the back wall of cabinets to open it up to the rest of the house and borrowing quite a bit of space from the adjacent morning room.  Most importantly, we hope to add an island that truly becomes the centerpiece of our home.  Plenty of room for cooking, studying, and chatting, and chopping - all at once, even.

So after hours of searching for deals and scouring every crevice of the Internet, here are my choices for a more updated look:

Cabinets:  Shaker Style White Cabinets win every time in my book:
Source: We will order ours from Aristokraft (Although their Shaker style doesn't officially come on the market until April, this will be perfect timing for us)
I also loved the look of glass uppers without the panes - keeping it simple, fresh, modern and crisp.

Cabinet Hardware: It's Restoration Hardware for the win!
Either of these choices would be beautiful and classic in any kitchen:
Asbury Pull

Source : Restoration Hardware Lugarno Pull

Though I could have found less expensive options, I love the fact that Restoration Hardware offers sizes ranging from 3" to 8".  This will allow for a uniform look on all sizes of drawers.


Lighting: Though any of these choices will most likely blow our entire lighting budget, show-stopping pendant lights over a large kitchen island are a MUST in my opinion.
Here are a few of my favorite options:
{via Decorpad}
Source : Restoration Hardware Harmon Pendant
{via Decorpad}
Source : Shades of Light Quad Hanging Lantern

{via Pickell Architecture}
Source : Restoration Hardware Keynes Pendant

{via Sand and Sisal}
Source : Shades of Light Oversized Cone Pendant

Countertops: Of course I love the look of real Carrera Marble; however it's so delicate.
As an alternative, many are leaning towards Quartz.  No worries about staining or etching here:
Just loads of gorgeous gray veining!
Source : Caesarstone Quartz  
(My top pick from them is Frosty Carrina; although there are several great options to choose from)

Backsplash: I love the look of a High Gloss Subway Tile.  In my opinion, it adds a bit more drama and sparkle to the room.

{via Decorpad}


Source : Mission Stone + Tile


Kitchen Sink:
{via White and Gold Design}
Source :Ikea's Farmhouse Sink is always an easy choice in my opinion.

And finally...The Faucet:
You can't beat the price on this bridge-style faucet from Overstock!
Source : at $165, this was the best deal I've found by far on this gorgeous style.

Still LOTS more kitchen decisions to come, I am sure.  
But for now... it's on to the baths!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Card Season!

I love Christmas card season - that magical time of year when checking the mail becomes the highlight of your afternoon instead of just another dreaded, mundane chore.

When credit card offers and Target ads are accompanied by colorful envelopes and friendly faces of friends old and new....Christmas is almost here!


This year, I enlisted the help of Tiny Prints for our cards.  I was amazed by their selection and the ease of the whole ordering process!  They made it SO easy that I miraculously already have ours sitting here waiting patiently to be sent out the day after Thanksgiving.  That NEVER happens!  Ever.
And, with little baby boy Knotts on the way, I feel sure that this will most likely never happen again.


Getting these daily surprises is wonderful indeed; but year after year, I seem to struggle with how to find them a fitting place in my home.  Because you know those sweet moms put MUCH thought into coordinating Christmas outfits for the kids, enlisting the help of their favorite photographer & carefully selecting the PERFECT card to sum up a year in the life of their families.  (Or is that just me?)

Regardless these beauties need a spot to shine this season.  Because...truly opening them is only half the fun- the real joy comes in seeing these sweet faces every day in that magical time between Thanksgiving and New Years.

You could always go the tradition route of ribbons and clothespins or sit them atop a mantle.  Both great options.  If you're like me, however, and are up for a little DIY Christmas card challenge, I think you'll like this easy idea:

1.  Find an old frame (shop your house or Goodwill first...you  never know what you'll find for little to no cost.)  Just be sure it's large enough to hold all of those gorgeous friends of yours.
I ran across this one while thrifting last Saturday:


2. Give it a fresh coat of paint (if needed.)  I just dry brushed ours with a coat of Annie Sloan's Paris Grey Chalk Paint.  I wanted some of that gorgeous wood to show through and add a little dimension as well.


3.  String twine across the back and attach with a stapler!  It's THAT easy!


4.  Start hanging those cards just as fast as they roll in!
(If your frame fills up quickly, rotate the cards as much as you like.  The extras could always be compiled into a little coffee table book....just punch a whole through them, tie a ribbon & admire your fabulous friends all season.)


Merry Christmas!