Mudroom Update

As a mom to four {very active} children, I find that I spend quite a bit of time in the laundry room.  Most days I do two or more loads of clothes, not to mention all the extra swim towels I’m washing these days because we pretty much live at the pool in the summer.  As I was throwing the last load in today, I realized I never shared pics of our repurposed mudroom.  Back in February my brother drew up some plans and added shoe cubbies, drawers for winter and sports gear, and hooks.  Lots and lots of hooks.  Can I get an amen, moms?

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This room is right off the garage door and is basically a drop zone for everything.  Backpacks, soccer gear, shoes, the dog leash, you name it.

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We were able to repurpose the cabinetry on the washer/dryer side with a little paint and new hardware.

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My absolute favorite thing in the room are these cubbies that my brother designed and built.  Game changer!  This room is so functional now.  And stays fairly tidy, which is no small miracle.

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Little by little this house is feeling more like home.

Family Friendly Living and Dining Room

I am incredibly grateful to have the chance to help so many of you with your design projects.  Thank you for inviting me into your homes, for emailing me with your questions, and for reaching out even across state lines.  I love being able to watch a room transform with a little paint and a few accessories or see the difference that new lighting can bring to a space.  If you are interested in a custom design plan for your room, please contact me for pricing details.  I would love to help you too!

Last month I had the privilege of working on a living room/dining room combo for a beautiful, young family in Denver.  They bought a 1978 split-level home a few years back when they moved out to Colorado, but because of the busyness of life, they haven’t updated much yet.  They contacted me to get design help with the long, rectangle shaped room that serves as both their main living room and formal dining room right off the kitchen.  It has always been a challenge for them to figure out how to separate the two rooms while still making them cohesive.

The homeowners sent me several pictures of the space and the measurements of the room, and they completed a design questionnaire that I sent them to help me get a feel for what they were hoping to accomplish.  I was excited to see that the room had beautiful wood beams on the ceiling, white trim on the baseboards, windows and doors, and lots of natural light – it was basically a blank slate!  The goal in this project was to deliver a fresh, stylish design that met the needs of their every day family life and also allowed for them to comfortably entertain large crowds for family holidays.

Challenges:

  • Long, open room that needed to function as two separate spaces without leaving too much awkward space in between.
  • Mismatching furniture collected over the years
  • Original paint color on the walls that felt drab
Here is the custom design plan I created for them…(*All product sources listed at the bottom of this post).

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Benjamin-Moore-Revere-Pewter-300x300This is the wall color I’ve chosen for your space.  Revere Pewter is a beautiful combination of gray and brown that goes with nearly everything.

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Here is a true to scale floorpan that includes everything I included in your design board. {After further discussion with the homeowner, we opted to reserve the space across from the piano for a free-standing china cabinet/liquor cabinet.}

targetrugI think it would help balance your room to place a rug under your dining room table.  I specifically chose a gray rug to hopefully hide the majority of spills that may happen over time.

TableI placed this dining table on your design board because the quality is excellent and it extends with a leaf to seat 10 easily.  I chose a black finish, but you could easily go with the mahogany brown set as well.

Lighting

Consider upgrading your flush mount fixture above the table to this one or something similar in an oil rubbed bronze finish.  This will make a huge impact in your room.

I placed your wood credenza inside the living room arrangement for extra lighting.  I think it would look beautiful painted white with 2 chunky lamps on top.  Consider using the mirror you own but hung low between the lamps.
As always, I tell my clients that they can use their custom design plan and purchase items straight from the links, or they can use it as a shopping guide as they slowly redo their room over time.
If you’re interested in an affordable custom design plan for your room, now is the time to make your reservation!

Product sources:

Rug, Table, Chairs, Chairs, Lighting, Lamp, Pillow, Pillow, Artificial Plant, Coffee Table Tray

Comfy Family Home Gets An Update

I currently have a few openings for new design projects.  Please click here for more details!

One of the things I enjoy the most about helping people with their homes is getting the chance to be creative within the limitations already set – the size and layout of their room, the furniture they just bought a few years ago, some of the accessories they already own.  For some of us, these kind of limitations can be frustrating and leave us feeling defeated before we even start.  I have to admit to feeling that way myself at times.  But I am here to tell you, giving a room a little refresh gives me such a high!  I think its something that’s been a part of me for as long as I can remember.  We didn’t grow up with a lot of extra money, but my mom provided an environment in our home where I could be as creative as I wanted to be.  I’m always blown away when I think about how she allowed me to use her sewing machine to sew my own doll clothes when I was just in elementary school.  I have great memories of making an elaborate Barbie house out of a cardboard box and cutting “wallpaper” out of magazine pages.  And how many times did I organize my friends’ bedrooms instead of playing??  Once we even turned a neighbor girl’s bedroom into a department store, complete with a price tag on every.single.item.  Bet her mom loved me for that.  My childhood was filled with so much creative play, which I am convinced shaped me into the person I am.

Today I am excited to share a recent design board that I completed for a sweet family in town.  They have a beautiful living room with newer leather couches and a large fireplace surrounded by windows overlooking a wooded backyard.  Doesn’t get much better than that!  The challenges of the room were:

  • Darker furniture, woodwork and walls left the room feeling a bit, well, dark. This is a common problem – I’ve noticed the majority of people in this area love their wood!  But the beauty of stained wood can get lost when there is no break for the eye.  This is  where bringing in light colors and textures becomes so important and actually accentuates the beautiful pieces in a home.
  • The TV was temporarily placed on a console table with all the wires exposed.  The homeowners hadn’t decided on a permanent solution for where to put it, so they used what they had.
  • The tall windows flanking the fireplace needed window treatments of some kind.

Here is the design board I came up with for this living room:

Living room

See below for sources.

My custom design plan includes an inspiration board, product source list, floorplan illustration and detailed instructions on how to implement the design.  I include specific product recommendations for furniture, art, decor, fabric, accessories and drapes as well as paint color recommendations if needed.
A design plan can be utilized by purchasing all the specific items on the source list, or it can be looked at as a shopping guide as you make your own selections.
Living Room Ideas
1.  Rug – I wanted to provide an option for you in case you are interested in updating your rug.  The one I put on your design board is this:
It would help lighten up your space and make your leather furniture really pop.  Another alternative would be to go with a simple cream shag rug.  You could definitely go larger than 8×10 – a rug looks best when the front legs of all the furniture are able to rest on the rug.
2.  Media Console – The TV area in your living room would benefit from some attention.  If you are finding yourself enjoying the ability to entertain or watch tv as a family often in that room, I would consider making the tv a permanent part of it by purchasing a media console and having your cable company install a line in the room.  I spec’d this cabinet as an idea for you:
The reason I like the look of this one is because it is simple and light, which helps balance out all the dark wood and leather you have going on in the room.  Another idea for this piece would be to find a cabinet with similar lines on craigslist or elsewhere and paint it.
3.  Window Treatments – I think what would look the best on your living room windows is one panel on either window (hung to the outer side).  This would add some softness and color to that back wall but still allow for plenty of light to come in.  I will attach a photo to show you what I mean.
Fireplace flanked by curtains
I chose these panels as an idea for you:
Another idea, especially if you are keeping the original rug in the room, would be these panels or something similar:
Saratoga trellis panels in beige (in beige, 108 inches long)
Use these curtain rods above the windows or something similar (36″-66″ length):  Bali Curtain Rod 
You will need to hang them high enough for the curtain panels to hit the floor and bend ever so slightly but not puddle. Here is an article that explains what I mean: How to Hang Curtains
4.  Accessories – One thing I noticed that was missing from your room was some texture.  Soft throw blankets and pillows make a room feel warm and cozy.  I would purchase one to two throw blankets like these and drape one over the back of each sofa with pillows in front.  I’m attaching a photo for you to see what I mean.
Throw blankets and pillows on sofa
Decorative black tray (for the coffee table) – stage with a stack of books or magazine, a beautiful candle, and a plant or item below:
An item or two of these would look nice on either end table as well.
5.  Mantel – For your mantel I would love to see you use a mirror to reflect light back into the room.  This one from World Market with a window pane look would tie into the metal wall hanging above your office:
I would use two or three of your distressed pieces from the basement stairwell on one side and possibly an artificial topiary on the other side along with a metal letter P (Hobby Lobby has good deals on these).
6.  Lamps/Lighting – On your end tables, consider updating your lamps with two of these options from Target or something similar:
Mercury Glass Lamp (pair with tan, beige or linen or white drum shade)
This floor lamp would also look nice in your space:
Consider a ceiling fan with wood blades and an oil rubbed bronze finish as well.
7.  Large Art Piece – I noticed you have quite a bit of small art pieces that you’ve collected over the years displayed in your home.  You might consider taking everything off the walls in your living room and trying a new large piece like a clock or something similar to give the space a fresh look.  Hobby Lobby has large clocks like the one on your design board, and they are relatively inexpensive when 50% off or with a coupon.
8.  Wall Color – While you are certainly welcome to change it, everything I’ve discussed on your design board will coordinate with your existing wall color.
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This homeowner is already hard at work implementing the design, and I cannot wait to see how she enjoys her room refresh.
Have a great weekend friends! Let me know when you’re ready to get started on a custom design plan for a room in your home!

How to Whitewash a Brick Fireplace

We all know a man or two who gasp in horror any time the painting of brick is discussed.  I don’t know why it is such a polarizing subject, but I’ll raise my hand right now and claim to be on the painting side of the argument. When we first moved into this home, I knew this fireplace in the living room was going to get a facelift as soon as possible.  I don’t have anything against brick per se, but personally, a neutral color palette just sings to me, and between the wood tones, brick color, and multiple metals and finishes in this room, it was feeling anything but restful.  We’ve discussed building up the fireplace with either wood or stone in the future, but in the meantime, this was an inexpensive update that changed the look of the whole room.

Here is the photo from the real estate listing:

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Before I tackled the brick, I painted all the gold stripes on the gas insert with this high heat enamel by Rustoleum.  I’ve used this product before, and it is very easy to brush on with a small artist brush, no taping or anything.  It is oil-based, so if you try it, you’ll just want to be extra careful to keep any from spilling on the carpet.

 

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I decided to start by whitewashing the brick first rather than paint it, and I love how it turned out. This technique allows some of the brick variation and color to show through, and it was so easy and quick.  Once I had wiped down the entire thing with a wet rag to clean off any soot or dust that might keep the paint from adhering, it probably only took about 3 hours of painting to complete.

To make up the whitewashing mixture I combined equal parts latex paint and water (I used White Dove by Benjamin Moore in a satin finish since we already had that on hand from painting the trim in another room).  This was very drippy concoction, so I just went brick by brick with a paintbrush and then immediately dabbed at the brick with a rag to catch any drips that might run down.

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I will say, when you first “wash” each brick with the paint/water, it looks like you’ve just painted the brick white, but after you’ve dabbed it and it absorbs for a few minutes, the colors of the brick start to peek through. It took me about 2 hours to complete the first wash on the whole fireplace, and I could tell right away that I wanted to do a second coat because I was still seeing too much of the original brick color and it had a splotchy appearance.

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The second coat took about an hour, and once it was done, I was really happy with the result.

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Our living room is definitely still in a half-finished state, and I have to admit I’m itching to finish it completely.  We have plans to paint all the wood trim and window casings and walls in the near future, and eventually we’d like install hardwood floors, install built-ins around the fireplace, and build up the surround with some other material.  But for now, this small update has done so much for this room.  If you have a brick fireplace that you just don’t love, don’t be afraid to paint it.  The before and afters are just too good!

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House in the Woods

I currently have openings for new design projects!  Today I’m excited to share with you a project I recently completed for some local clients.  This family was hoping for an updated look in their living and dining room to compliment their amazing outdoor setting and view.  Their living room boasted high ceilings covered in gorgeous wood planks and a two story stone fireplace that was to die for.  But the dated wall colors and flooring left the room feeling dark, despite the wall of windows.  They preferred a light and airy look that would be family friendly and include space for their budding musicians to practice.

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One challenge in the design was this Romeo and Juliet style balcony off their master bedroom overlooking the living room.   They also wanted to include a piano in the space that was a family heirloom.

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I started off by meeting with the wife to get a good idea of their style and dreams for the room.  Then I set to work coming up with a design plan that would meet their needs.

Take a look…

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The design board included recommendations for dry-walling in the balcony, paint colors and a board and batten treatment.  I gave them detailed suggestions for what rug to buy, what furniture and lighting would work in the room, and a few ideas for the future.  My clients got to work right away, and the progress pictures were really fun!

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Once the rooms were painted and the flooring installed, my clients asked me to come back and help them stage the room.  They had decided to keep their existing sofa and had purchased a leather armchair to go with it, as well as the lighting and rug I specified for them.  But they needed help purchasing accessories to tie it all together.

This is my absolute favorite thing to do – finishing a room.  Sometimes this means shopping the house and using what a client already owns.  And other times this means shopping locally and online for deals on throw pillows, curtains, and items to accessorize with. I think I enjoy it so much because these are the items that really make the room.  All the right paint colors and furniture will still look boring and like a spec home until you add layers and textures.  Accessories make a house feel like a home.

After I had shopped for a couple hours, I loaded up my van and headed to their home to stage before the wife got home from work.  Talk about fun!  Their home has seen quite a transformation this year.

Take a look…

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Now this family home feels bright and welcoming, and the amazing view is really accented.  It was a pleasure working with them, and I pray that their home is a haven for their beautiful family.  If you’re interested in an affordable custom design plan for your home, contact me!

Mudroom plan

I may have been more excited about this room than any other room in this new house.  When we started house shopping, having a mudroom was one of my top 3 wishes.  In the home we moved from, we had a small laundry room between the garage and the house that basically only had enough square footage to take one step through.  We did the best we could with lots and lots of hooks for backpacks and coats, kept all the shoes in the garage, and folded laundry on the dining room table.  It worked.  But I was thrilled to have the chance to have a dedicated space for a mudroom this time around.

Systems and organization are definitely my love language.  Here’s what I thought was essential for the space:

  • Shoe cubbies
  • Bench
  • Lots of hooks for backpacks and coats
  • Drawers for items like shin guards and soccer socks, and hats and gloves too

 

After scouring Pinterest for several days, these were my favorite images for the space:

 

Before we started, the room looked like this.  Functional, just not very pretty.  I don’t know about you, but I learned a long time ago that I enjoy being in a room a whole lot more when it is beautiful.  This doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, honestly.  Sometimes the biggest impact can come from a can of paint and some good lighting.

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Here is the plan my talented brother drew up for me for the mudroom.  This will be installed on the wall opposite of the washer and dryer.

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We’ve been working on this room for a couple weeks now, and it is getting close to completion!  For now I’ll give you a sneak peek while I finish up!

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It’s coming together!

Our Current House, Before

When we first walked through our current house, my initial thought was, “I love all the space!”  Tall ceilings, open walkways, big rooms.  An older home definitely has its challenges, but the vision was there for us.

Just a side note, right before the previous owners placed it on the market they had the whole thing painted icy blue.  I hear they were going for a gray color, but we all know how hard grays are to choose and how different a color can look from room to room.  Wall color can be one of the biggest design hurdles that someone faces as they redo a room – and one of the most impactful decisions.  The way a room looks on Pinterest is not the way it will look in your house with your light!  All that to say, paint samples are your friend, and getting some advise before you buy a 5 gallon bucket never hurts either.  If you need help choosing a paint color for your space, contact me!  I have design packages that provide as little or as much help as you need before you start your project.

Currently as I write this we are knee deep in renovations, but this is what our house looked like when it was on the market a few months ago.  I would love for you to follow along as we begin this huge project.  We plan to rework the existing kitchen, paint all the walls and trim, and update all the lighting.

View from the front door:

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To the left of the front door {formal dining room}:

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Kitchen:

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Living room:

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Office {in between the front room and living room}:

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Front room:

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Laundry room {right off the garage door}:

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Main floor bath:

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Basement:

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Just a recap:  what we’ve got is an large house with lots of open spaces and a whole lot of honey oak.  It’s basically a blank slate, and we are so excited to get started on it.  I won’t lie to you and pretend I’m never overwhelmed by the enormity of a whole house reno, but at the same time, I know the end product will be worth it.  I’d love for you follow along!

House #2

 

2016 was a year of waiting for us.

I had some unresolved health issues that I was working through with a team of doctors, and most of my energy was just devoted to getting myself back on track.  Lab work, eating a clean diet, tons of supplements, and rest.  Lots of rest.  But for several years now, in the back of our minds, Dave and I have been dreaming of buying a large house on land as our “forever home.”  Somewhere spacious enough that we weren’t all tripping over each other all the time {these kids are only getting bigger!  And the dog…she is the worst offender, to be honest} and somewhere the kids could spend more time outside with room to run.  We didn’t know if or when it would ever happen, but at the end of 2016 after looking at countless homes, we found a house on 17 acres that fit most of our criteria.  Problem was, it didn’t really look like us. We love white painted woodwork and light, airy spaces.  Honey oak just doesn’t do it for us {sorry if you’re into that sort of thing.  We can still be friends.}

I’ll post before pics of the new house another day, but here’s some shots of our old house so you can see what I mean:

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We pretty much painted every surface of that house.  We had the popcorn ceilings scraped, we painted all the walls and trim, all the cabinets and doors, and we basically put our mark on a very builders grade home.

And when it came down to it, it was harder to leave than I thought it would be.

Maybe because the first person to see it bought it, confirming how special we knew it really was.  Or maybe just because we put so much blood, sweat and tears into that place and had so many memories tied up in it.  Neighbors that we love, evening walks to the park, family bike rides, parties on the back deck, impromptu baseball games in the back yard.  We had a good little run there on 26th Street.

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I’m really thankful for that house.  I’m thankful for the memories it held and the way our family grew while we lived there.  To say I miss it nearly every day is not an exaggeration, but I know that we’ll grow to love this new house in the same way.  Just gotta put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it first. 🙂

2017, the year I started blogging. again.

Hello, there!

It’s a brand new year and with that comes a lot of personal reflection, for me anyway.  Every January I find myself sitting down for a couple hours and planning for the year ahead, writing semi-attainable goals, and looking back at what I did well {and didn’t do well, if I’m being perfectly honest}.  Maybe I am a sucker for punishment, or maybe I just really have a desire to grow and change, who really knows.  At any rate, I found myself thumbing through last year’s planner the other day, and there it was in my own handwriting:

Start blogging again

Whoops.  Didn’t meet that goal, but no time like the present, right?  Last January I was convicted to start writing again for multiple reasons.  I have been dabbling in the design world and loving the chance to help others creatively make their homes beautiful, and I knew sharing that with others would help me focus my energy on that during this season of life. But I knew too, what my husband knew way back when, when the internet and blogging world first exploded:  writing is a good practice for me, both emotionally and spiritually.  When my kids were all small and I was knee deep in dirty diapers and whiny voices, journaling it out at the end of a long day was sometimes the only thing that kept me sane. And thankful. For some reason, when I put a pen to paper, I think deliberately and purposefully, and in turn, I see things for what they really are.  I see TRUTH, instead of listening to the lies that keep me caught in the comparison trap.  I see beauty, instead of all the unfinished projects and never-ending limitations.  I see so very much to be thankful for.  So here’s my attempt to keep that goal.  It took me 12 months to hit publish, but I’m back.