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!
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?
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!
With the holidays around the corner, many of us will be hosting a few (or maybe a lot) of house guests. We all want them to feel comfortable and at home, and with a few little touches, their stay will be memorable and touching. And the best part, it’s easy to do!
Fresh and Clean
It goes without saying that your guests need a clean room to sleep in, but nothing says clean like the smell of a fresh scented sheets and towels. Mix a little bit of fabric softener with water in a spray bottle and spritz your guests’ sheets and towels before they arrive. They will smell like they are fresh out of the dryer! You want it to be a nice surprise when they get into bed or out of the shower, not a smell that hits them as they walk in the door, so go easy on the fragrant fabric softener. My favorites are Seventh Generation’s Natural Fabric Softener in Blue Eucalyptus and Lavender and Method’s Lavender Lilac Dryer Activated Fabric Softener
The little things go a long way… especially little shampoo bottles! I love to collect the mini bottles that hotels provide and store them in our guest bathroom. Whenever guests stay with us, I put out a new set so that they don’t get into the shower thinking they have shampoo only to find an empty bottle. It’s also a nice touch to give your guests a fresh bar of soap. You can also create a small collection of Q-Tips, cotton balls, toothpaste, mouthwash and hand soap next to the sink. I like to gather these from hotels and trips to the dentist!
Who doesn’t love fresh flowers!!! A small bouquet of flowers by the bed is the perfect way to welcome house guests. Adding a little fragrance like lavender into the mix is even better, but make sure you don’t go overboard because just like with the fabric softener, some people may be more sensitive to smells that others. You can also add a small nosegay in the bathroom if there’s room. Flowers brighten up any room.
Making the Bed
The first impression is very impactful, so make sure that the first thing your guests see is a well pulled together space. Even if the room is squeaky clean, if it is missing these final touches, it won’t feel as welcoming (even if this pulled together look doesn’t last any longer than the first impression). My favorite way to create that first good impression is by creating a layered look on the bed. Have your sheet folded back just past the sleeping pillows, then fold the duvet cover about half way down the bed, and finally layer a folded blanket at the foot of the bed. This not only creates a stylish bed, but it also makes the bed look more inviting…as if they had hotel turn down service! Also, giving the guests multiple pillow options is usually a welcomed gesture. I like to have two Euro sized pillows standing up at the top of the bed, followed by two sleeping pillows, and then another sleeping pillow in front of those. I would limit throw pillows to one or two.
Photo: Apartment Therapy
A Tall Drink of Water
Everyone loves to take a glass of water with them to bed, even though we don’t always drink it. One of my favorite things to offer guests is this Cora Carafe from CB2. They can keep it by their bed and continue using it and refilling it for their whole stay.
After all this, your guests may never want to leave! See our post on how to get your house guests to leave…just kidding!
Bookshelves are a great way to add storage, display your favorite things, warm up a nook, or cozy up a large space. Large or small, this piece of furniture can be used in any room of your house. No matter what type of shelving you have in your house, they need to have some style and personality. Being such a universal piece can easily attract clutter. They can also seem too stiff, formal or overdone if not styled right. Here are three easy steps to give your bookshelves some serious style!
To get started, I like to start with stacks of books. There are two basic ways to display a group of books: vertical or horizontal. I like to mix it up and have a shelf with vertical books pushed to one side, another shelf with vertical books pushed to the other side, a few shelves with horizontal books stacked in the middle of a shelf, and if you have enough shelf space, you can mix the two and have a shelf or two with vertical books stacked next to a group of horizontal books. This picture is a great example how to stack books, and I love how they used similarly colored books (warm and cool) to make it even more eye catching.
Photo by Honey We’re Home
The next step is to incorporate larger display items like frames and boxes. By scattering frames throughout the shelves rather than clumping them all together, you will be able to focus in on each picture more easily. It highlights the picture as well as makes the shelf look great. I love to play with scale here. On one shelf, you a larger frame paired with a smaller frame, and on another shelf, try putting just a single mid-sized frame. For boxes, my favorite way to display boxes is to put smaller ones on top of a stack of books. It’s a great way to get height on the shelf without needing one large item or a giant stack of books.
Photo by Ideas for Decoration
Finally, you are left with smaller items that could be little keepsakes from family vacations, a small clock, a bud vase, or a little statue. I always save these for the end because they can be used anywhere that needs a little more love. Some shelves may feel a little empty or not have enough personality. These trinkets will fill those voids and by adding them in last, you will have a sense as to how many to display and when to stop. This will prevent you from creating a cluttered look. Less is more here. Try not to put a small item on every shelf, and don’t use more than 2 or 3 on any one shelf.
Image by Centsational Girl
One thing to keep in mind through all of this is that balance is key. Make sure that each shelf has a visual weight equally dispersed. A big stack of books needs to be balance with 1 large frame, and possibly a smaller display piece. A collection a frames should be balanced with a small stack of books topped with a box. Also, lower shelves should visually feel heavier than higher shelves. Stacks of larger books will feel well placed lower, while delicate frames and thinner books want to be displayed up high. As long as each shelf is balanced, your overall look will feel cohesive and organized.
And finally, personalize these shelves. Think about how you and your family will be using them and make them work for you. If it is by the front door, you will probably want to create a little spot for mail and keys. If they are in the living room, you may want to include DVD’s or a place for remotes. The items that you use should reflect you and how you live. And don’t forget to add in bright pops your favorite colors!
Everyone has books and frames laying around the house, but the smaller display pieces are sometimes harder to come by. Click here to see some of my favorite little trinkets to help dress up your bookshelves and sign up for my newsletter for access to great discounts on all of these items!
Spring is here…finally! I’m ready for longer days, warmer weather, and sandals. Nothing says spring to me like the color yellow. It makes me think of sunshine, blooming flowers and just all around happiness. In fact, studies have shown that the color yellow can actually make you happier. It is shown to lift us up, raise our self-esteem, and speed up our metabolism…who doesn’t want that?!?! It is also the strongest color in the color spectrum, so you have to decorate with it wisely , but that doesn’t mean you have to use it subtly. Your home can beautiful wether that yellow is yelling “I’m here!” or whispering “oh, I didn’t see you standing there”. You have to love where you live, and decorating with yellow puts an instant smile on people’s faces. I also tell my clients that are scared of color to start small and build from there. The only right way is the way that feels right to you. Here are some excellent examples of how to use yellow effectively to all different extremes.
What a difference! Small details can change the entire feel of a space, and wainscoting is one of my favorite ways to warm up an otherwise lackluster area. This photo above is a prime example of how easy it can be to update an older and outdated foyer. The great thing about wainscoting is that it doesn’t have to be expensive, and there are plenty of Do-It-Yourself examples online for those that are brave enough to try. It is actually easy enough that I am tempted to give it a shot as our stairwell could use some love. With the contemporary look of wainscoting, you can have fun with the idea and add some style and unexpected pattern to your room. Or if you have a wall that seems out of place, highlight it was wainscoting and pictures. To help you think outside the box, here are a few untraditional examples: