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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Pantone Color of the Year 2017: Greenery

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.

Pantone Greenery 2017
Pantone 2017 Color of the Year

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.

pretty colors for your walls — MFAMB :: My Favorite And My Best:
Via MFAMB

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.

Botanical love seat.:
Via Marks & Spencer

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.

The 32 most beautiful kitchens in Vogue to inspire:
Via Vogue

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!

Welsh House | Ben Pentreath Ltd.
Via Ben Pentreath

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.

green bathtub
Via HomeTalk

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!

15 Unique Places to Add a Pop of Color to Your Home
Via Brit + Co

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 chairs
Via My Ideal Home

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.

Botanical inspired house in London
Via I Have This Thing for Interior

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!

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Merry Christmas from Flat-Pack & Vintage

Whoo-hoo! It’s almost Christmas!  I’ve been busy with holiday stuffs so I’m behind on house stuffs, but here’s some fun stuffs for your holiday weekend.

DIY 2016 Dumpster Fire Ornament.  Daaang this year was rough.  Not only was it possibly the crappiest election year ever, but amazing people were dying left and right.  I may be making one of these…

Did you know Kentucky Christmas is a thing in Japan?  I didn’t, but their commercials are kind of amazing.

Modern_Geometric_Tree_Topper_eHow

Our current tree-topper is a star from the dollar store which is a little too dinky for our new tree, and also doesn’t seem to fit the floofy top spike of the tree,  I love the modern-ness of this Himmeli-Style one!  I think it’s made my holiday to-do list too!

Here’s a roundup of the cookies we made this year. Even though it’s probably too late for cookie-baking for most of you, you may want to file these recipes for next year.

Gingerbread cut-outs (I use orange zest instead of lemon)

Apple-Cranberry-Walnut Rugelach

Mint-Chocolate Fudge (I just top it with the mint layer and don’t marbleize it, laziness FTW)

Self-Frosting Anise cookies

Sugar Cookie Cut-outs (ok, didn’t actually make these this year, but I usually do)

 

Wishing you a very merry whatever-holiday-you-celebrate!

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Dreaming of Black Doors

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.

july042016

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.

Via Manhattan Nest

 

Hallway Before and After Mockup
Via Making it Lovely

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.

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Friday Favs: Ceiling Fans That Don’t Suck

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!

ff_fans_pin

 

ff_fans_black

1  //  2  //  3  //  4  //  5

I think decent looking black/brown fans are the easiest to find.  If you have a taste for mission/craftsman or industrial you’re especially in luck.

ff_fans_silver

1  //  2  //  3  //  4

If you’re into mod, you should have pretty good luck with silver finishes too.

ff_fans_white

1  //  2  //  3  //  4

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.

ff_fans_splurge

1  //  2  //  3  //  4

If you’re in a place to splurge there are definitely some more beauties out there.  I really wish I had a place for #3, that one may be my favorite out the entire roundup!

Friday Favs: Inviting Entryways

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.

ff_entry

 

ff_entry_1
Via Modern Jane

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.

ff_entry_2
Via Luxe

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.

ff_entry_3
Via Manhattan Next

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.

ff_entry_4
Via A Beautiful Mess

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.

ff_entry_5
Via The Fox & She

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.

ff_entry_6
Via Simply Grove

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.

ff_entry_7
Via HGTV

More storage, seating, and shelving!  I love that drawer unit bench though… like I may straight-up copy this look in our mudroom.

Stairs + Hallway: Concept

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.

stairsConcept

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.

 

*At least by my standards