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.
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?
If you’re more on top of things than I am at the moment, Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year is probably old news. I’m super excited about this year’s choice though! No offense Pantone, but last year’s colors were kind of bland… and essentially baby boy blue and baby girl pink. This year though, they’ve given us Greenery.
I happen to love green. I loved the year of Emerald (2013) and now we have Emerald’s fresher younger cousin!
If you happen to hate green, that’s cool. You’re not under any obligation to use or even like the Color of the Year (I pretty much ignored both of them last year…). What it means for the green-lovers out there though is that we should be see a lot of bright, springy green popping up in stores.
Here’s a like green inspiration to help kick off your year.
There is, of course, slapping that sucker right up on your walls! I love how they worked a gallery wall in with a bold color here. You need to be aware of the colors in the the art you’re using for it to really look polished with a bold background, but if you have a lot of black-and-white art it’s pretty much guaranteed to look smashing.
If you’re really gung-ho for green you can also just completely immerse yourself in it. If you’re going for a monochromatic palette, just make sure to bring in plenty of texture to keep it from looking flat.
Some people are afraid to bring color to their kitchen cabinets. I get it, it’s a lot of work to repaint it all and, let’s face it, color trends (and our own personal preferences) come and go. If you don’t mind the elbow grease, adding a punch of color to kitchen can look pretty amazing. Heck, if you have an island, just making that a bright focal point could really bump your kitchen to the next level!
Another one not for the faint of heart… Not gonna lie, painting trim is beastly! I can guarantee you I would never do this, but not because I don’t like the the look. I’d probably just change my mind before I ever finished painting and have to start all over again. I’m fickle like that. If you don’t want to redo all (or even a single room’s worth) of your trim, maybe just a door update. I happen to love me some bold front doors.
If cabinets and trim are too much work, but you’re lucky enough to have a claw foot tub, this is another way to colorize a fixture. Painting the exterior tub base is also super easy and can be done with just a little sample pot of paint!
You may have guessed by now that I’m kind of diggin’ the black-white-and-green combo. I think it’s fun and lively without being too in your face. Plus, green accents are easy to work in and switch out if you like to change up your decor periodically.
Green’s not just for stark black and white spaces. A nice neutral palette with some natural wood plus pops of green will make for a cozier space.
One of my favorite things about this year’s Color of the Year choice is that it’s even pretty awesome for color-phobes (don’t worry, I still love you). Even if you aren’t super into colorful walls or furniture or accessories, you may still enjoy plants! And like it’s name suggests, this is a color that really pulls from nature. Plus plants pretty much go with everything!
This past weekend we vacationed it up lakeside in honor of the 4th. Tons of fun, but no housework got tackled. Totally worth it though.
We are almost ready to tackle the painting the upstairs hallway and this area is packed with doors. The trim is for sure going to be white, but I’ve seen a number of examples where people paired white trim with black doors and I have to say I’m totally diggin’ it.
What I love about both these examples is that they’re used in homes that are similar in age and style to mine. I think the brass hardware looks especially amazing on them.
I think the trick is to not use a straight-off-the-shelf pure black; you need something with a little bit of depth to it. I also think a very dark stain (like an espresso, ebony, or java) could look pretty awesome too since you’d still see a little wood grain. Plus, since this will probably end up being more trendy that classic, doors are pretty simple to repaint if you feel the need to bring them back to white.
I don’t think Matt’s going to go for it*, but what do you think? Black doors: yay or nay?
*In fact he just told me he doesn’t like it. Party-pooper.
Yup, you read that right. Ceiling fans get a pretty bad design rap and it’s often rightly deserved. Unfortunately, in some places (like, say 100+ year old homes that don’t have central air) they’re quite necessary. They don’t have to be eyesores though!
White I think is the hardest, which is a bummer because they’re the most likely to recede into (but they should still look good though!) A number of the options above come in white but I think the white finish looks cheap on lot of them. These guys stand out from the pack a bit though.
You know what was cool about all of the above? Everyone one of those was under $300. Not dirt cheap, but not ridiculous either.
Even if I haven’t shown it, I’ve had entryways on the brain lately. As you’ve seen I have a (very) basic concept lined up for our entry, but I feel like it could use a little more oompf.
If you search for entry inspiration on Pinterest you’ll find a lot of board-and-baton treatments and lots of cubbies. There’s nothing wrong with these by any means (they do have the big 3 necessities for entries: storage, seating, shelving) but they’re not for everyone. I do love this simple little black and white corner though.
While this one may be lacking in storage, it makes up for that with impact. If you have a nice, big, blank wall a large scale art piece is a great way to add some major drama.
If you have a narrow space, you can still fit in plenty of storage. I can’t imagine not having a place by the door to dump keys and mail.
This wonderfully cheerful entryway makes me want to wallpaper mine! The combo of the wallpaper, painted door, and light fixture coordinate for just perfectly for creating drama without overwhelming the senses.
That door makes me drool a little. Amazing doors are right up there with staircases on my swoon-list. But moving on. All the other pics I’ve shown are nicely walled in, but you shouldn’t be afraid to float furniture. Here a console table doubles as a sofa table which leaves the space feeling open but giving some useful storage.
If it were me, I’d stick a small table in here for my daily mail dump, but if you can handle more minimalism, go you! I still love the contrast happening here–white walls and black stairs, traditional architecture and mod furnishings.
More storage, seating, and shelving! I love that drawer unit bench though… like I may straight-up copy this look in our mudroom.
The weather’s been pretty nice so we’ve been focusing a little more on the yard, but our entry/stairs/hallway is still very much on the to-do list. It’s not getting a huge makeover* but it’s going to get a paint-pick-me-up and styling to make it blend with my look for the rest of the house.
For the walls I’m going to stick with my go-to neutral of Benjamin Moore Paper white. It’s a nice, fresh, ever-so-slightly-cool gray that should help brighten things up. The trim is going to be Benjamin More Simply White (like all my other trim). This should also really help brighten things up since our stairs are a tad dark at the moment.
I’m a little torn on what to do with the stairs… the caps on the newel posts need to be replaced (half of them are missing trim), and we need 2 spindles replaces (one’s missing and one’s broken) but I don’t want to paint the whole railing. I like the idea of a two-tone railing because I feel like it will keep a lot of the wood but blend into the white trim everywhere else, I’m just a little afraid it’s more of a trendy look.
The plan for now is to paint everything else and leave the railing for the very last. Paint on the other surfaces can make a huge different in how a single element stands out. The railing will for sure being getting some refinishing work either way because not only will I have to try and color-match any new pieces, it’s kind of worn in spots and could use a little pick me up.
Because the stairwell has a nice big, open wall, it’s will be getting some art work for sure. We have a handful of pieces that I’m not sure will work in other rooms, but the stairwell should be a nice blank canvas for them.
Happy Memorial Day weekend! While it’s really a time to honor our Nation’s deceased veterans, the focus tends to be a little more a little more on barbecues and booze (….and appliance sales…. go ‘merica*). The good new is that with a long weekend you can do both! Attend a Memorial service, spend some beautifying a loved one’s grave site…and celebrate with friends and family.
And if you like your celebrations on the boozy side, here are some cocktail recipes for you to try out.
Matt and I are both mad for Gin + Tonics… although I’m a little more open to variation than he is. Rosemary-gin-lemonade? Sounds deliciously summery.
If lemonade isn’t your jam, maybe try a different fruit with your g+t. I think the blackberry sounds especially amazing!
Our go-to Sangria recipe is, oddly enough, more winter-friendly, using oranges, lemons, and limes. Peaches just started appearing in stores here and I cannot wait to try this more seasonal recipe.
Mojitos are one of my favorite summery drinks, and I just planted some mint this year (if you do grow your own mint make sure you keep it in a container otherwise it could take over). You can also easily make mojitos by the pitcher.
Ever heard of a caipirinha? Most people I know haven’t, but they’re all missing out. It’s basically a Brazilian margarita–delicious, simple to make, and massively boozy (so be careful about how fast you go through them!)
Looking for more? I’m a little biased towards gin and rum so if you’re looking for something else Total Wine’s website has a recipe index by type of liquor.
And of course, please be responsible people.
*I feel like there really needs to be a be a proper sarcasm tag in HTML…
Matt likes to cook and I like to bake, but with limited space we haven’t amassed a huge collection of kitchen gadgets (and I’m actually not a fan of super-specific gadgets). I thought I’d share some of our favorite kitchen pieces though.
Ohhh yeah, the highlight of any wedding registry, right? If you don’t do any significant baking you probably don’t have to go this fancy, but for me it’s awesome (especially come my annual Christmas Cookie Bonanza). I haven’t bothered with any of the uber-fancy attachments, but I do really like the flex-edge beater. I also feel a little lame that I stuck with the classic stainless steel when there are so many color options out there, I just figured there were cheaper ways for me to change up my kitchen color scheme.
The first food processor I got Matt was a little mini-prep one. It was amazing for dicing onions and chopping up things for guacamole…. but then we discovered the joy of using a food processor to cut in butter so we upgraded to a bigger model. Matt makes scones every Saturday so he actually uses this one more than me!
I’m a big tea drinker, and Matt’s the only coffee drinker in the house so we don’t have need of a full coffee maker. An electric kettle though? It makes us both happy, and this one also looks so cute on our counter! Personally I prefer the ones where the kettle is independent of the heating element, but this particular one is a little heavy because it’s ceramic.
It looks so simple, but it’s so useful! Anytime I’m working with a stickier dough it help to cleanly remove it from my rolling surface and get cut-out cookies off without deformities. It also will do a great job scraping off cutting boards if you want to compost or just don’t have a garbage disposal.
Spatulas are pretty standard cooking gear, but these specific ones are my favorite. They’re one solid piece so you don’t get ickiness building up in between the blade and the handle. As I was putting this post together it looks like more places are making solid spatulas… plus some in fun colors!
What’s my secret to perfectly proportioned muffins and cupcakes? A cookie scoop. It’s super easy to get the batter from the bowl to the pan and a large (3 Tbsp) is the perfect size for a standard muffin tin.
I have a nicer set on our table, but for the counter I love these because they’re a combination shaker AND pour spout. Cool, huh?
You can find rolls are parchment paper most places, but the flat sheets are kind of amazing. No ripping, no curling, just easy-peasy. (Also, if you’re in a bind you can substitute a cut up paper bag for parchment… just never use wax paper as a sub).
You know how I said I didn’t really like task-specific gadgets? This one’s the exception. Sure, it’s not that hard to make rice on the stove top, but having to get it just right when you’ve got other stuff happening? It can be a little putzy and this guy takes all the guesswork out it (plus a lot come with a steamer so it’s not totally a single use gadget). It’s also no more work to clean up after than another pot you would have used to make rice anyway.
We’re going to be working on a couple different projects over the next few months–yard Before pics coming soon!–so I figured some outdoor corners would be nice springtime inspiration for all of us!
Not gonna lie, but I’m really not a fan of grass. It’s kind of boring and you just have to mow it constantly. A little bit of river rock filler though? Nicely textural and will really make the plants pop around it. Plus I dig the ever-so-slightly overgrown look this little corner is sporting.
Gravel can also make for a cute patio area. I love how they paired it with pavers here to make a more stable area for the table and chairs. Also, did you notice the A/C unit? I barely did.
Pavers, wood decking, mulch, AND gravel? Whoa! I love the mix though… as you may have caught on I think texture is a huge part of landscaping and this setting seems delightfully low maintenance.
I’m also a sucker for ponds, but I’ll never talk Matt into one in the mosquito haven that is Minnesota. Maybe a nice little bubbling fountain to kill the standing water….
Or maybe a dry creek bed? I love the look of these and they can help out with drainage in problem areas.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the new(ish) fad that is the She Shed? This kind of makes me want one…. Plus, I LOVE the look of ivy, but I know it’s terrible for homes. I might sacrifice a small shed to it though.
If you want another way to get your low maintenance (after it’s done anyway) texture groove on, how about an rock rug? I don’t think I’d have the patience to make one, but they are pretty swoon-worthy.
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I am a HUGE sucker for staircases. You have no idea how thrilled I was to find a house with a pretty impressive set of stairs.
A more traditional vibe than what I usually post, but this one is probably the most similar to the stairs in our house. I think the two-toned look is fab and I’m seriously considering duplicating it.
Exposed brick may be another love of mine. The sleek modern stairs paired with the more industrial brick is also a contrast I’m particularly fond of.
While this is clearly not for households who have need of a handrail, I love how bright and airy this is (bonus points for a cozy reading corner)! Also, can we take a moment to collectively swoon over those beefy wood treads?
Maybe your stairs aren’t already making an architectural statement, but this ombre paint treatment would make even the simplest of stairs pop.
If you fear no pattern you could also opt to wallpaper your risers… or stencil, or tile. I saw a similar treatment with white textured wallpaper that was pretty divine as well. Plus if you use a removal wallpaper you can easily swap it out as your tastes change.
Maybe you have some outdoor stairs that you want to stand out. How amazing are these aged aqua steps??? I wish I had a place for them in my life right now.
If you have a small yard and want to maximize your greenery I think using glass steps over plantings is kind of ingenious.