Mood Board Monday: It’s a….

GIRL!

(Also, the start of my third trimester–home stretch baby!)

I realize I haven’t actually shared the gender of our soon-to-be addition here on the blog. We’ve actually known for a while… whoops! Anyway, yes, we’re expecting a little girl in January!  Probably anyway… the ultrasound tech wasn’t 100% confident, but she was at least confident enough to give a “most likely.” If she was actually unsure I doubt she would have given us anything.

We’re also planning on the kiddos sharing a room (once the baby moves out of our room).  But just for kicks, I’ve put together a mood board of my would-be baby girl nursery.

This isn’t the most practical second baby nursery since I’m not bothering to re-use anything we already have (because the room isn’t actually going to be created by us).  If we had an extra room* I’d be making this, or very similar, happen.

My ideal baby girl room is something feminine, but not overly preshush if you get my drift. Here I tried to balance the blush and florals, with navy and leather.

I also finally had an excuse to use some pieces I’ve been seriously in love with, but haven’t had a place for.  See the ceiling light and bird foot side table. And yes, I highly reccomend having an end table by your nursery chair! If you’re breastfeeding it’s a great place water/snacks or your pump. As the baby gets older you can stash some books there so you can have reading/snuggle time without having to constantly get up and down.

Other items I think are important in a nursery:  Two light sources, one with a very low-watt bulb so you can see enough for nighttime feedings/changes without blinding everyone. High-contrast mobile.  Besides the fact the the fluffy, pastel-y mobiles that perfectly match a bedding set are just much too cutesy for me, an infant can focus on something bold and high-contrast much better.  If you can’t stomach primary colors in your pastel haven, black and white is always classic.

Wallpaper // Ceiling Light // Curtains // Mobile // Crib // Rocking Chair // Pillow // Side Table // Dresser // Lamp // Blanket // Rug

 

*Ok, so technically our house is 3 bedrooms, we’re just not willing to give up our study/guest room just yet. Especially since the kiddos should be able to share for a least a couple years.

Mood Board Monday: Living Room

Who’s excited? I’m excited!  I feel like I’ve been agonizing over the living room design forever!

One of my big struggles with this room was the chairs.  I scored some pretty comfy (and dirt cheap) slipper chairs off of Craigslist a while back and had planned to reupholster them.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find a fabric that was really speaking to me.  I did, however, find some really awesome looking chairs at World Market!

Chairs that were no longer actually available anywhere.  Whomp whomp.

After a bunch of searching I was able to find very similar in black leather (instead of the white I had originally found).  Whoohoo!  I set up an email alert in case the World Market chairs ever come back in stock, but the black is starting to grow on me.

I’m hoping to find a properly vintage cabinet for storage since we have a great store down the street. If not, I have plenty of other options that would work.

The bookcases were another sticking point. We have several IKEA BILLY bookcases right now, but they’re not super attractive and not holding up to my book collection. I’d also like to make use of our tall ceilings in this room. Turns out it’s hard to find affordable bookcases over 6′ tall… In the end I decided to cobble together a ladder bookcase with an IKEA cabinet base.  Wish me luck? This should end up going almost to the ceiling, while still being visually light.  I’ll still probably be forced to pare down my book collection a little bit..but I’m a book hoarder so it should be good for me.

The living room opens directly into our TV room, so I had to tweak my plan for that room a bit.

The chevron rug I initially picked out was a little overly casual against the living room design. The pin-stripes seem like a  nice combo of classic but not overly prissy, but I’m still working on final decision. I’d like to keep the leaf rug to designate the play area since it’s fun without being overly childish (and it’s a practically perfect size for that space).  A predominately blue rug will also balance the blue sofa in the living.

I’m also considering switching out our current TV stand.  I really like it, but IF we end up painting the paneling the white stand will probably get lost against the white paint. We’re still on the fence about painting the trim/paneling in this room, but leaning towards doing it since the room is very dark.  It doesn’t help that our house is only about 5′ from our neighbor’s house so the windows in the room aren’t terribly helpful.

 

 

 

Moodboard Monday: Kitchen Brainstorming

We met with a kitchen remodeling company last week! I think we could have managed a decent kitchen remodel on our own, but the presence of a toddler and the fact that I’m steadily growing in size and decreasing in mobility make it much harder.  Plus, pulling in professionals will allow us to fix some more technical issues like the window and effed up electrical.

My big goals for the space are:

  • Replace all the cabinets
  • Replace the sink
  • Replace countertops
  • Replace the overhead lighting
  • Shorten the window and fit cabinets under it
  • Redo all the cabinetry in the butler pantry
  • Add recessed lighting in the butler pantry (space permitting)
  • Replace the tile in the mudroom

As far as design is concerned, here are my thoughts:

I’d love for the new cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling, with glass doors on the uppermost cabinets.  To add a little bit of interest, I’m thinking of backing the top cabinets with wallpaper (which will also get used in the mudroom). I’m a little concerned that two-toned cabinetry may be trendy and go out of style…but I LOVE the current color of our cabinets, but want to brighten them a little bit. My dream sink is a simple, apron-front sink. As must as I like the functionality of double-bowl sinks, we have so little counter space on that side of the kitchen that I think it makes more sense to shrink the sink a bit (plus, double-bowl apron front sinks are pricey AF, especially since I do NOT want an acrylic sink).

My plan for the counters to get a marble-look quartz composite. Real marble stains very easily and while I love the look of marble, I don’t want to deal with the upkeep. I’m having some fun with texture for the backsplash–visual texture that is, since a textured backsplash in a kitchen would be a beast to clean. Since there’s not much area to cover, I think it will be a fun accent and not overwhelming.  In the butler pantry I plan on using a simple white subway tile since that space is more of a hallway.

For the awkward space above the radiator, I’m think of adding some floating shelves and coffee cup storage. I like the faux roman shades I have right now, but I’m thinking of replacing them with a navy linen for a little more texture. The wood shelves and jute rug will also add some natural elements which I think help warm up any space.

It’s funny… the overall look of the mood board is much more farmhouse than I usually go.  I do think it will look really nice in our house in the end though. Plus I purposely chose permanent fixtures that are a little more vintage/neutral so they’ll look good with the bones of the house vs our specific decorating style.

Moving to the mudroom…

The only thing we’re planning on having the contractors do is replace the existing pinky-beige floor tile with (my favorite!) white hex tile. After that’s in place, I want to build some custom storage for shoes/jackets/etc and paint the door.  The same wallpaper accent from the kitchen will get used here on a larger scale to tie the rooms together.

Nesting by Proxy: The E&J House

As I mentioned in my last post, I don’t have a nursery to work out my nesting energy on.  I’m hoping to make some progress on the living room, but Matt is more focused on trying to get someone in for our kitchen remodel and is trying to reel me in.  He may not succeed…

Lucky for me, my good friend E is in the process of buying house!  I happen to LOVE putting together mood boards, and it’s even better when I have a target.  So, like it or not, I’ve taken our furniture discussions and mocked up some spaces for her.  And E, don’t worry, there is zero pressure to follow any of my ideas.

E’s already selected a number of furniture pieces and some of the walls they’re not planning on re-painting. I still had a little bit of fun though.

Library

Paint / Floor Lamp / Bookcase / Chair / Pillow / Coffee Table / Print / Game Cabinet / Table Lamp

I think the current plan for this room is to reuse some existing furniture… but I had neither pictures nor a clear memory so I took some creative liberties, knowing the goal wall color was a bold teal. Plus, if they choose too, E & J can rework the space over the years.  Nothing says your house needs to be picture perfect as soon as you move it (lord knows our house still isn’t even after 4 years…).

The room has a brick fireplace that I think would look awesome against the teal if it were white-washed.  E and I have been discussing bookcase options, but for this layout I went with a fairly basic style raised on a base. Not only does the base add a bit of visual interest, it also raises the shelf off the floor to work around floor vents. This bookcase was pretty cool looking, but my only concern would be that the design of the shelf would get lost if you filled it up with a lot of books.The cute little cabinet gives a surface to add in some extra lighting and could be used to store games or booze.

It’s nearly impossible to choose paint colors based on online images (monitor differences, lighting, etc), so ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS look at swatches in the space you’ll be painting. I also suggest picking up some sample pots once you’ve narrowed down your selection since the scale can drastically change the look of the color.  Here are some other possible teal wall colors (ranging from a little brighter to a little moodier):

Living Room

Panel Curtains / Loveseat / Coffee Table / Sectional / Print / Lamp / TV Stand

Most of the furniture here was already picked out (which goes to show you that E doesn’t actually need my help 🙂 ) and the wall color is what’s currently existing so I just threw in a couple finishing touches for visualization. While I’m personally a fan of airy white curtains, these panel curtains from IKEA seemed like just the thing for this space.  They’ll provide privacy while still letting in light and the geometric pattern pairs beautifully with the MCM style.

Dining Room / Kitchen

Backsplash / Light Fixture / Bar Stool / Dining Chairs / Table / Print / Rug

So… there’s probably no plan to re-do the kitchen since the existing one is perfectly nice…but how cute is that backsplash tile??? The cabinet/countertop approximate what’s already there (at least what I could tell from the realtor photos), but the house currently has a much more contemporary tile as the backsplash.  The clean, white tile would both brighten the kitchen and help it blend more with the MCM furnishing dominating the space. I’m also all for replacing light fixtures, even though I realize a lot of people don’t want to bother with electrical (it’s pretty easy to do yourself though, and requires minimal tools).

I’m probably a glutton for punishment by liking area rugs under dining tables, but they can add a lot of softness is a room typically filled with hard furnishing. They can also add a nice pop of color.  I recommend a busier pattern since it will hide a variety a sins.  I have had very bad luck getting stains out of flat-woven rugs so I’d recommend scotch-guarding the shit out of them in any setting.

Bedroom

Paint / Ceiling Light / Floor Mirror / Curtains / Table Lamp / Nightstand / Bed Frame / Bolster Pillow / Throw Pillows / Bedding / Dresser / Rug

My only starting point for this room was rough idea for a paint color.  Sure, I could have asked if E had any bedding/furniture plans, but where’s the fun in that? This room had another ceiling that would be fun to replace (seriously, the right light fixtures can add soooo much). This bedframe is something else I’m kind of in love with (ok, and the floor mirror… I may be starting to project a bit). There are tons of great wood MCM options too, but because MCM is so dominated by wood finishes I thought it was nice to bring in a little softness, especially in a bedroom. Plus, upholstered headboards are great for anyone who likes reading (or just dinking around on their phone/tablet) in bed.

 

Plans for the Micro-Bath

While I’m working out the final details for the living room and TV room, it seems like a good time to knock out the downstairs micro-bath.

I don’t think I’ve ever posted a good picture of the micro-bath…possibly because it’s nearly impossible to photograph…so apologies for crappy angles and awful lighting. The truly depressing shade of brown on the walls does not help matters.

When I say “micro-bath” I’m not really exaggerating–this is the smallest bathroom I’ve seen outside of Europe. You can wash your hands while still sitting on the toilet.  This was actually immensely helpful while I was pregnant because I could use the sink to hoist my ginormous self off of the toilet.

I’ve actually had a plan for our minuscule bathroom for years, I’ve just never gotten around to it. The other week Spoonflower was having a free-shipping event so I decided it was finally time to buy the wallpaper I’ve been eyeing for practically forever…but when I went to the site I immediately saw a different wallpaper that really jumped out at me.  What to do?

FACEBOOK POLL!

I asked, you answered, and the overwhelming response was that the new print I found caught your eye too!

I have a sample of the wallpaper on the way, because it’s always a good idea to get a sample of things like this, especially when they’re on the spendier side.

The wallpaper will just be on the wall behind the toilet.  I actually think that a crazy wallpaper could look cool on every wall in a small space…but I think that might frighten Matt a little bit, so accent wall it is.  The paint color will probably change once I get the actual wallpaper sample, but I’m currently thinking a light, blushy, pink.

One of the best tips for a space is to always make sure you bring a but of warmth into a room.  An easy way to do this is use some natural elements, like wood, plants, or even woven baskets. Here I’m planning a wood shelf behind the toilet and a wood-framed mirror. Since this room gets zero natural light it will need a fake plant for any greenery.. I’m hoping to find a good-looking, fake string-of-pearls succulent, but any dangley plant would work here.

How to Create a Design Plan

Now that we’ve wrapped up the master bedroom, it’s time to move onto the living room/TV room.  This is more-or-less how I approach a room design, but remember that there are no set rules when it comes to your own space.  The ultimate goal is that YOU are happy (your home = your rules).

Fix on a Focal Point

This could be a piece of artwork, a rug, a piece of furniture, an architecture detail….pretty much anything. Hell, it could be your TV, I won’t judge. What’s going to be the “star” of the room?  Where do you want the eye to be drawn?

You may also have an inspiration piece for you room that’s not going to be your focal point. Heck, it could be a magazine clipping that’s not exactly about to framed and hung in the room at all. Some sort of inspirational image is incredibly useful at this point.

Technically this print is planned for the living room and I’m going to be only focusing on the TV room here. Because my 2 rooms flow into each other, they really need to relate to each other so this piece serves as a great inspiration for both spaces.

Pick Your Palette

Using your focal point or inspiration piece, determine your color scheme. If you’re feeling minimal, you could opt for a monochromatic (different values of the same color) color scheme.  This can end up a little flat so I’m always a fan a making sure there’s some good contrast going on. You can always use the internet for inspiration and search for “blue rooms” and see how other people have handled it.

Personally, I like a variety of color.  The absolute easiest way to accomplish this is to start with a focal piece that already has multiple colors in it. Not to worry if the star of your room is your solid pink chair though! Internet to the rescue again! If you search google or Pinterest for “pink color schemes” you’ll get a ton of results and you can pick one that resonates with you.

See what I mean by finding something with multiple colors? This print provides a variety of options! Navy and blush make for a more formal base (along with some gray and creamy neutrals) and accents of aqua, bright coral-pink, and bright green funk it up a bit.

Now, don’t go buying your wall paint just yet.  This is just a rough color idea at these point.  The exact shades may change, plus, you’ll want to have your main pieces already in your home so you can match paint swatches in the most accurate lighting. Pro Tip: never bank on accurate color representation from an online image–monitors and color settings are way too varied.

Bring in the Big Stuff

So you have a focal point, you have a rough idea of a color scheme, now you want to look for the main items that will fill in the room. This is going to be pretty much furniture, rugs, and dominant light fixtures. They may not all be physically large items either, but they’ll probably be your spendier items. They may also be pieces you already have an definitely want to keep in the room.

Why the two rugs you may be asking? A corner of the TV is going to be a play space for Wesley and the rug helps define the space.

Add in Accessories

To really make a space feel like you, and not a staged show-house, shop your house for accessories.  Things you’ve naturally acquired overtime will have more personality than something you’ve bought just because it looked good in the room.  This isn’t to say you can’t by new things, just see what you already have first and pick items that truly resonate with you even if they’re not “magazine perfect.” You’ll be happier and that’s the most important thing for you to feel about your home.

Accessories don’t necessarily mean knickknacks. Plants, accent lighting, throw pillows, wall art…all of these are options for accessories. I don’t bother adding every little thing in when I’m creating a mood board either–I usually stick to pillows and wall art.

Wake up your Walls

You may already have an idea of what color you want your walls to be.  Now’s the time to pick your exact paint color.  Why wait until the very end of the design process? There are practically unlimited paint color choices so it’s much easier to find a paint that will complement your rug/upholstery/throw pillows/art than vice versa.

 

Now, for the record, it’s not as easy as pick this, pick that, bam you’re done. There will be changes and frustrations, and maybe your entire plan will morph into something completely unexpected. Just go with your gut and don’t try and force things. Maybe the rug you picked as your focal point isn’t meshing with the other items that caught your eye. It’s ok to completely rethink your rug choice. That’s why it’s a good idea put together a mood board before you start shopping.

Don’t feel like you have to make decisions on every single thing in the room either. Your mood board isn’t set in stone, but it’s a good idea to get the overall feel for your room before you start spending money.

 

Spring Dreaming

Spring may have sprung in a lot of places by now, but not in Minnesota.

This is the current state of our yard and no, this isn’t a belated April Fool’s joke.

I am so sick of winter right now. I want sunshine! I want warm weather! I want to actually be able to spend some time outside!

We’ve definitely made progress in our backyard, but it’s still pretty sad. I realize gardening takes time and we’ve had a lot of demo to do, but with the current weather I’m positively itching for an outdoor space I can enjoy.

We should be getting a proper patio poured this summer (hopefully before Wesley’s birthday?). We have an lovely little park just a couple blocks away so we don’t need a to try and cram in a eyesore swing set. My goal for the backyard is to make it geared towards adults, but still child-friendly. I also want something reasonably low-maintenance.

We do have some annoying limitations with our backyard:

  • Walkway right smack down a middle. Sure we could technically move it, or make it more organic-looking, but unfortunately a straight line is much easier to shovel, so I think it has to stay put.
  • Lots of shade. This is both a perk and a drawback. On one hand, the shady yard keeps our house cool and keeps makes the Minnesota summers a little more pleasant outside too (because despite current appearances, summers can get pretty boiling here).
  • I’m kind of an incompetent gardener so I need things are are hard to kill. I’ve already managed to kill off the Bishop’s Weed that came with some plants from our friends’ yard, and that’s supposed to be practically impossible. I’m thinking lots of rocks.

Here are some things I’ve been eyeing for a little inspiration:

Check out this amazing landscaping idea for a backyard or front yard
via Yard Surfer

I love the mix of planters and in-ground plants. I think it adds some lovely textures (and fills in some space with non-killable things).

via Bea Ray Gardens

This mix of two sitting areas is pretty cute.  I’m thinking of having a defined dining section and lounge/fire pit section.

Rock Gardens
via The Art in Life

The back corner by our lilac kills off e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. My hostas are sad, my ferns are sad, my transplanted creeping charlie and bishop’s weed remain a few sad little strands… I’m thinking to compensate for the lack of lush plants with rocks and do an alpine-ish style garden over there.

via Tales From the Coop Keeper

I want to try and cover the back our our garage with a trellis and vines. I also think it would be cool to frame it out with a mini pergola like this.

There’s a lot of work to be done, and it’s definitely not all happening this year. It is fun to daydream about though!

Now, for all the green-thumbs out there: What are your favorite resources for gardening (especially for beginners)? Do you have any Minnesota-hardy (USDA Zone 4b), low-maintenance, shade-tolerant, plant suggestions?

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Happy December!

Does anyone else refuse to start Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving and then rapidly panic when they realize ohshit I only have 3 weeks to get this all done because I need to budget time for shipping and wrapping and WHY IN GODS NAME DID WE AGREE TO DO CHRISTMAS A WEEK EARLY THIS YEAR? Or is it just me?

So here we are, December 1st.  You have 23 more days to shop, so here’s a little inspiration for you.  Bonus: everything is under $100 and most things are under $50.

For the one who loves to entertain.  Serving dishes and table accents are awesome options.

Tiered Dessert Trays // Metal Tea Tray // Appetizer Plates // Carafe // Apron // Napkin Rings

For the one who always keeps a well-stocked bar, think about about some fun items to add and extra bit of class.

Slate Coasters // Bar Tool Set // Footed Moscow Mule Mug // Wine Rack // Martini Picks //Pineapple Ice Bucket

We’re not all people-persons, so for the one who needs her me-time candles, throws, and comfy pj’s are great ways to cozy it up at home.

Wireless Speaker // Punjammies // Fancy Candle // Tea/Coffee Cup // Cozy Throw // Diffuser

For the one who loves to pamper herself, fancy bath items are a great way to make your home feel more like a spa.

Lush Gift Set // Clay Mask + Mixing bowl // RosemaryMint Oil // Olive Oil Body Scrub // Soap Roses // Eye Mask

For that friend who likes to work in a good dose of whimsy.

Llama Tea Towel // Fun Socks // Quirky T-Shirt // Solar System Necklace // Flamingo Mug // Pompom-Ear Hat // Dino Planter

Know a Yankee who feels more British than the Queen? Help them get set for a full English breakfast or high tea.  A bit of whimsy doesn’t hurt either.

British Invasion canvas print // Pimm’s liqueur // Tiered Dessert Tray // Toast Rack // Tea Cozy // Tea (some of my favs are the Mojitea, Dozy Girl, Enchanted Narnia, and the  Strawberry Lemonade is wonderful iced!)

PS The Tea Source is another amazing place to get tea.  Plus, if you’re in the Twin Cities they’re local!

Brainstorming: Master Bedroom

This is probably super optimistic since we now have a demanding baby in our household, but our next project room is going to be the master bedroom.  This room is way overdue for some TLC since we’ve done nothing to it since we moved it.  Heck, Matt just fixed the closet door so it actually stays closed!

There are a couple reasons I chose to tackle the bedroom next.  Part if it is because we now have a kiddo (whose toys will gradually start taking over the house) it will be nice to have an adult retreat space.  I’ve also been spending more time in this room lately and it’s really hit me just how blah the space is.

masterBefore2

masterBefore1

Yaaaaawn. Also, please pardon the mess.  I didn’t even get a nap in today and had no motivation to style a Before shot.

So what’s the plan?

masterMoodBoard

Thankfully this room only needs cosmetic work so the bulk of the work will be painting. We also need to replace our mattress so we’ll be upgrading to a queen sized bed (and actual bed frame). I also want the headboard to really be a focal point of the room and the entire wall behind it will be painted a bold accent color. After that it’s a matter of replacing pretty much all our existing furniture and getting a rug that’s the proper size for the space.

Not gonna lie, but this makeover will probably take a while.  I’ll hoping we can at least make a start on the painting while Matt and I are still out on leave.  We’ll see since we’ve got a couple other (smaller) projects we’re trying to finish up too.

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Nursery Inspiration

Who’s excited???  It’s been a while since I put together a mood board and possibly the best part of pregnancy is brainstorming decor!  I had a few ideas floating around, but wanted to wait until we knew if we would be having a boy or girl.

Well, it’s officially a boy!

So here’s what I’m currently thinking:

Nursery Mood Board

I wanted something fun and child-appropriate without being overly cutesy.  Baby won’t have any opinions on decor for a while (if ever), so the nursery is really more for mom and dad.  I also wanted to keep the basics of the room pretty gender-neutral so if we have a girl sometime in the future we can reuse our baby gear easily.

As I mentioned before, my starting point was a set of Zoo Portraits–fun and whimsical without being sickeningly cutesy. The ceiling fan I fell in love with early on and nearly talked myself out of it! Everyone thinks I’m nuts when I start gushing over a ceiling fan, but isn’t this one just fabulous?

I didn’t want to fall into the muted, monochromatic trap that a lot of baby rooms fall into.  Bold colors and high contrast are easier for a baby to focus on, so I wanted pops of brights, especially in the mobile. Plus, it’s just more to my personal liking. The lime and redish-orange I plan to work into some more accessories and storage pieces.

My current thoughts on paint are to paint the ceiling the same minty-aqua as the light fixture and then go pretty neutral on the walls.  I think by the time I’m done there will be a lot going on around the floor and walls that will be better balanced by a bolder ceiling.

The Eames elephant probably won’t make it into the final room since it’s definitely splurgy, but a girl can dream, right?

 

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