After 4 road trips, 3 airports, and tons and tons of family, food and fun, we have officially survived the hoildays! We are so thankful for all of the amazing people we have in our lives, and my favorite part of this time of year is, stressful traveling aside, we have the chance to catch up with everyone. Catching up usually comes with some presents, especially for our 1.5 year old son. He was in no need of more toys, but who can resist?!?! It is all so cute and fun… and loud and cumbersome. Now that we are home, it is time to get our house back in order, or actually to find new order, by finding homes for all these new gadgets and gizmos. That led to me think that I can’t imagine we are the only family out there struggling to keep their kids’ toys from taking over the house! Here are some of my favorite toy storage products to help you get order back in your home!
I love the sleek look to this toy bin. It will fit right into with your living room decor, but with an open top, it makes toy storage and clean up a cinch!
Tight on space and budget? This is a great solution. It offers multiple ways to store toys and book, has a very compact design and a great price tag!
I love this desk and chairs to create a little arts and craft nook. The desktop lifts up to store all of the art supplies, and with this price tag, it’s okay if the paint ends up on the table!
This toy chest is sure to add a ton of personality to your playroom, while also creating a great place to easily store lots of toys. The animals are adorable and the bins are soft making them a great addition to young kids’ spaces.
These baskets are on the pricier end, but they have a sophisticated look that will blend right in with your living room, while still being incredibly functional. I love their chic laid-back style!
I love the style of this basket, plus, it will be practically indestructible! These would be a great basket to use in your playroom (or even a few at your entry for your own stuff!), and for $9, you could add as many as you want!
My stack of children’s books seems to keep growing and growing, and I’m running out of floor space. This is a great way to keep them all organized, make them easy for young ones to pull them off and put them back, and not take up any floor space.
You can’t forget about the bathroom! Don’t let your kids’ bath toys keep you from enjoying a relaxing soak in tub. These adorable bath toy storage pieces are fun and functional. They not only gather up all of the toys, but the mesh allows them to dry while hanging on your wall.
I hope you guys all had a great holiday season, and here’s to a great 2016!
The term ‘contemporary’ is evolving into a blended mix of new and old. It’s elegant and antique rolled into one happy space. The trend began it’s evolution from geometrics to ikat prints then moved on to brass finishes and is now including bright pops of unexpected colors and eye-catching details. Long gone are the days of bland, neutral and safe. It is time to start having a little fun again! Your home should be a reflection of your personality and your life, so make sure to include that in your designs. Here are the top five new trends to help you update your home!
1: Start mixing in some vintage inspired pieces. By adding an heirloom end table or chippendale dining chairs, your space will start to take on a whole new feel. One of my favorite ways to play around with this trend is to upholster a vintage chair with a modern fabric. This trend works well in any style. Here is a contemporary console with a mid century modern table lamp and ottomans by Emily Henderson. Simple, yet so effective!
2: In with the brass, out with the silver. While chrome is still very much in style, satin has taken a backseat to brass, gold and bronze. Whether your home is rustic or chic, this look can seamlessly work its way into your world. Think, tables, lighting and drawer pulls! And mixing chrome and gold finishes creates a layered and sophisticated look that will make your home a showstopper! Studio McGee transformed this kitchen and laundry cabinet doors with brass hardware.
3: Loosen up with your prints. No need to be stiff and rigid anymore! Balance out your geometric and striped prints with some floral, ikat or abstract prints. This will soften up the look of your home and make it more inviting. Win win! This otherwise traditional striped chair looks updated, fun and inviting with this ikat patterned throw pillow found on Domino.com
4: You most likely already have a great neutral foundation to your home, so this tip should be easy to incorporate. COLOR! Add in some punches a real color, not muted toned down color, but bright and vibrant color. Nothing makes a space feel more alive and all around happier than a fun pop of color. Doesn’t this bright rug on Domino.com just put a smile on your face?
5: Rug styles are moving in one of two directions. The first direction is shag. Who doesn’t love a nice, warm and fuzzy shag rug to run around on. But, if shag isn’t your thing (which I guess it isn’t everyone’s), classic oriental rugs are making a strong comeback, as well, but if you want to have even more fun with this, try one with oversaturated colors. Just look how this gorgeous runner gives this kitchen designed by Becki Owens a completely new feel.
These are all quick and easy ways to update your space, create a more fun and inviting feel, and put a smile on your face! Isn’t that what it’s all about really???
I have found a new love…metallic spray paint! I really have to control myself because I want to spray paint everything in my house. I realize I am a little late to this party, but I am so happy I finally made it. Right now, I have extended my obsession from just the spray paint to these metallic pumpkins that I made for my Thanksgiving dinner table. They are so cute and fun, and they are at about the highest level of DIY that I am capable of accomplishing well. So, as I have said before, if I can do this, you DEFINITELY can do it!
My first attempt at this project failed miserably. I painted first and spray painted second, and I quickly learned that painters tape would take off all of the white paint. So, I scratched that and tried again. This time, I spray painted the entire pumpkin first, and then painted second. What turned out was amazing!
First, I used Valspar Metallic to spray paint the entire pumpkin. I thought I would make the most of having snow outside, and spray painted on top of the snow. I was able to shovel away any mess that I made!
After letting the spray paint dry for about an hour, I gently used painters tape to create a line around the middle of the pumpkin. Make sure not to press the tape on too firmly because it will take off a little of the spray paint.
Once I had my taped off line, I used Rustoleum American Accents Craft and Hobby Enamel in Gloss White to paint the top half of the pumpkin being careful not to paint the base of the stem. Once I peeled off the tape, I did have to go back and straighten out the line in a few spots, but nothing I couldn’t fix with the brush.
I love how they turned out, and with them being the perfect holiday party decor, I think I will hold on to them through New Years now!
I love beautiful centerpieces, and even more than that, I love creative and unique centerpieces. As I mentioned yesterday in my blog about creating centerpieces, there are some clever ways to use your groceries for your holiday tablescape, and today, I’m going to show you how to create candle holders out of artichokes and asparagus.
Let me first start off letting you know that I am not a big fan of DIY projects. Nothing ever turns out looking as good as I would hope, and you can always tell that I was the one who fixed something up. This is the main reason you won’t find many DIY projects on my blog. We all have our strengths, and while I can pull together designs with the best of them, please don’t ask me to repaint your grandmother’s china cabinet or reupholster your sister’s hand-me-down armchair. With all of that being said, these are DIY projects even I can do (and I did!), so I can guarantee you can do it too. If I can do it, you DEFINITELY can do it. And trust me on this one, it will turn out amazing!
For the artichoke candle, I can’t even really call this “DIY” or even a “project” because it is going to take you two seconds. Cut off the base so that the artichoke sits flat on the table. Pull back the leaves until you reach the heart, and stuff a votive sized candle in the middle. That’s it! Seriously!
Now, for the asparagus candle, I am going to claim this as a “DIY project” for two reasons. 1: It requires 4 supplies and 2: I want to say that I have successfully accomplished a DIY project. But, this still hardly should be called a project.
The 4 supplies are a pillar candle, asparagus, a rubber band (I used the one that was already holding the asparagus bunch together), and some twine or ribbon. Start off by putting the rubber band around the candle, and then thread each asparagus under the rubber band until the entire candle is covered. Next, cut the bottoms of each spear to the desired length (I liked the spears poking up above the candle, but I’ve seen it done where they sit below the top, as well). Then, tie decorative twine around the asparagus to hide rubber band. Viola! Done!
Tomorrow, I’m going to go through how to make those metallic pumpkins that I am obsessed with right now. They really made my table look elegant and festive, and it’s another DIY project that, while at first I royally messed up, I learned was actually really easy. Also, check out my post on last minute holiday decor that will turn your party into an instant hit!
With only one weekend left until Thanksgiving, it’s time to start checking all of those holiday chores off of your to-do list so you that you can sit back, relax and enjoy some turkey… or if you’re anything like me, you are ready to dive into that pumpkin pie! One thing we all have on our checklists for the holidays is to get our houses, and our dining rooms, company ready. Here are a few quick and easy dinner table centerpiece ideas to help you check one more thing off your list.
I love using food in unexpected ways, and it really is so easy. The best part is that you can pick up everything you need while getting the rest of your groceries! These artichoke and asparagus candle holders are the perfect touch to your Thanksgiving table.
Use What You’ve Got
Instead of using traditional vases for your arrangements, try something a little different and more unexpected instead. Pitchers, wineglasses or mason jars make great stand-ins for the common vase, and they are more unique and fun. You can line your table with small bright bouquets in stemless wine glasses or mason jars, or create one big arrangement in a pitcher with a mix of lavender, greens and baby’s breath. Perfect for this time of year!
Some of us are still holding on to our pumpkins from Halloween, and even if you aren’t and still want to try this idea, they are easily found at any grocery store. Pumpkins are perfect for the entire fall season and can make any house feel festive. You can use your pumpkins just as they are to create a sweet vignette anywhere in the house, or have a little more fun and break out that spray paint!
When you are putting everything together, make sure you create different heights with your candles and flowers, and mix together candles, flowers and other pieces to complete your Thanksgiving centerpiece. A great idea is to put the display on a tray or stand so that you can easily move it when it’s time to make room for food. You always want more room for food!!!
With Thanksgiving a week away, we are probably all thinking “where did the time go?” Now it’s crunch time, and we’ve got to get our recipes in line, shopping list made, and get the house in dinner party shape. May seem like you’ve run out time, but here are 12 things that could take your Thanksgiving dinner party from good to great. There’s an added bonus to waiting until the last minute to get this shopping done…sales! Almost everything is on sale on this list. That should make your dinner taste even sweeter.
Setting the Table
I like to keep the placemats and napkins simple so that the dinnerware and centerpiece get all of the attention. Too many piece yelling look at me and it will all just become white noise. This Pottery Barn Classic Belgian Linen Hemstitch Place Mat in Ivory is the perfect foundation for your dinner table!
Add a soft touch of color with these Uno Mint Linen Napkins from CB2. These napkins will really make the grey, gold, copper and white color palette pop!
We all want something special for our holidays, but who wants to invest in fancy china that you only use 2-3 times a year, at best. I am obsessed with Anthropologie’s Ikat Thistle Dinnerware set. Use can pull these out for any dinner party or even add some festivity to all of your family dinners!
Place card holders are a great personal touch to any dinner party, and these Decked Out Feather Place Card Holders from West Elm are festive and chic!
Have a little fun with your drinks and serve them in an unexpected way. These Gold Stemless Wine Glass from World Market are sure to catch people’s attention.
And if you already have wine glasses that you want to use, help people keep track of their own glass in a creative and festive way! Paint these Buzz Word Epoxy Stickers in gold and add them to each glass. You’ll create a natural ice breaker with words like “fabulous”, “party”, and “for you” sparkling on the sides of each glass. See how Hostess with the Mostess did this for her Thanksgiving dinner party here! I love how it turned out, and I will definitely be doing this at my house!
For all of those open wine bottles that will be floating around, add these brass oval Geo Bottle Stoppers from West Elm for a little touch of glam to what would otherwise go unnoticed.
Don’t let the wine have all of the fun. Dress up those cocktails too! These adorable Party Animal Cocktail Forks from CB2 will do just the trick. While you have your spray paint out for those Epoxy Word Stickers, you may also want to add a little bling to these too! I would just spray the animals though and not the fork part that goes into your drink.
If your bar setup is really lacking, you can get everything you need with this 30 Piece Barware Starter Set from West Elm. It comes with their white marble octagonal coasters and arrow cocktail picks (both of which I was going to add to this list on their own because I love them so much!)
Don’t have time to stand around mixing cocktails for your guests? Then just serve Jane St. Vodka premixed cocktails. They are all as delicious as they are pretty to look at!
With all these fun cocktails going around, your guests are going to need to hydrate too. Make your water just as enticing with this Airtight 66oz Pitcher with Infuser from Crate and Barrel. It’s the easiest way to add a little zing to your guests water!
And you can’t serve water this good in just any old pitcher. Dress that up too with the Legend Pitcher also by Crate and Barrel. The copper finish will look glamourous on your drink table or even as part of your table’s centerpiece!
You are well on your way to an amazing and gorgeous dinner party! Check out this post on some easy holiday centerpiece ideas, and this post on the easiest DIY candles you could ever try to make (that still look amazing!)
What are your favorite things for your festive dinner parties?
When I am shopping for my clients, I have my go to stores depending on their style, budget and needs. I am sure there are some of you out there that are ready to start decorating, but you just don’t know where to look. We all know about the basics, the Pottery Barns, West Elms, and Crate and Barrels of the world (which have their place in my searches, don’t get me wrong!), but to really get that well rounded and unique look, you aren’t going to find everything in one place. This is a list of my most used resources that will hopefully help get your project started… and finished. These stores cover a wide range of styles, prices ranges and products, and they will hopefully cover your entire project!
I am rating stores with a $-low budget, $$-mid range and $$$- for high end to help you navigate the list a little easier
What stores do you love that didn’t make this list?
While scrolling through all of the perfectly pictured homes on Instagram the other day, I came across one of an unmade bed. I didn’t think much of it until I read the caption. It talked about how all of the pictures on Instagram are staged, and even interior designers have rooms they would rather not have photographed. I agreed with everything up to that point. Instagram is filled with eye candy, homes we all dream of living in. This is why #perfect has been used over 36 million times and #dreamhome and #dreamhouse have been used nearly a million times.
This is where her message derailed. She went on to say that she was going to be different. This was her attempt at being “real”. This was her bedroom in all its raw unsightly beauty. Only this bedroom was just like every other bedroom on Instagram, only worse. The sunbeams softly filtered in through the window with the nightstand clean and bare except for two chic and trendy accessories placed just so. Her unmade bed had wrinkle free sheets and a gently folded duvet cover as though she had just gotten out of bed. This flawlessly styled and beautifully lit “real life” bedroom was staged.
Don’t get me wrong…I love a beautifully styled and lit room, just check out my Instagram account. My issue was that she was claiming that this was her “real life”. We have all come to grips with airbrushed supermodels on the covers of magazines, but we are now finding ourselves also surrounded by airbrushed lives.
Between Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, we see glimpses into homes, lives, and DIY projects that make it seem like everyone can do it all, except me. I am talking about that picture of a mom and kids baking in the kitchen, the son licking the spoon without a drop of spilled batter anywhere to be seen, or the one of the kids playing in their bright white and spotless playroom with only a few sweet toys scattered around them. These are not ads, they are people giving us a glimpse into their “real” lives. I am here to tell you that ten minutes into my son playing in his room, it looks like an earthquake hit, and everything was flung off the shelves and onto the floor. And when I am cooking, even all by myself, I can run out of clean counter space while just prepping for dinner (although, while I’m being “real” I have to admit that some of that counter space is being taken up by clean dishes and groceries that still need to be put away).
After being constantly faced with these pictures plastered on everyone’s virtual wall, there is now self induced pressure to do it all and do it all beautifully. We all want our lives, our kids’ lives and our homes to be their best, but sometimes that best isn’t always picture perfect. Homegrown is about real homes for real people living real lives. Take it from my clients themselves. All of my clients’after pictures and my entire portfolio are taken by my clients, raw real life (although probably cleaned up a bit).
As a designer, I will continue to love beautiful homes, flawless photography, and inspiring projects, but life is messy, chaotic and overwhelming. There will always be a bigger and better, but loving your life and the home that allows you to live it is more important than having that flawlessly styled picture. My kids will get dirty, and my house will not always be picture ready, but I will embrace the mess. I design homes, not magazine covers, because that is how we really live…in a beautiful mess!
One of the biggest design challenges I see people facing is how to make the most of small spaces. Especially if you live in New York or San Francisco where “small” seems to take on a whole new meaning. This was exactly what my client Anna was dealing with when she came to me. She had a small living room with an odd layout and was in desperate need of more storage and seating. This design is a perfect example of how an effective floor plan can make a small apartment feel bigger and function better!
While most people’s initial reaction when faced with a small space is to push all of the furniture up against the walls, I suggested she switch out her sofa and chair for a small sectional, creating a cozy conversational/tv area, more seating, and a much better view when you walk into the apartment. Also, by bringing the sectional into the middle of the room, the back wall was now open for a storage cabinet. Her apartment is now the perfect place for relaxing and entertaining, and she did an amazing job styling it to show off her taste and personality! Check out her before and after pictures here:
In need of a new floor plan for your home? Check out our custom floor plans and design packages here!