how-to-build-a-charcuterie-board

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Have you ever had your heart set on building a charcuterie board only to be overwhelmed once you arrived at the supermarket? We’ve all been there. Today I’m going to break it down into snackable pieces for you and we’ll create a charcuterie board that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate! This how to build a charcuterie board guide will walk you through every step, from choosing the perfect serving board to curating a balanced and beautiful selection of treats. Let’s get to work!

Setting the Stage: The Board Itself

Your serving board is the foundation of your masterpiece. Consider what kind of mood you’re setting and how big your gathering is. One of my favorite pieces is the large teak serving board from Alice Lane Home. Paired with the banswara marble and soapstone bowls, this set up creates a stunning foundation. Choose a size that comfortably fits the amount of food you plan to serve, leaving enough space for artful arrangement.

The Accompaniments

Now, let’s talk about the supporting cast that will make your cheeses and meats shine!

  • Fruits: Fresh seasonal fruits like grapes, berries, or sliced figs add pops of color and sweetness. Dried fruits like apricots, cranberries, or dates offer a delightful textural contrast.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and Marcona almonds provide a satisfying crunch and a touch of healthy fats.
  • Spreads/Dips: Jams, chutneys, and mustards add bursts of flavor and complement different cheeses. A simple honey drizzle adds a touch of elegance.
  • Starches: Crackers in various shapes and textures are essential for building delicious bites. Consider rustic bread slices, breadsticks, or even thinly sliced baguette for a touch of variety.
Not pictured: red & green grapes; strawberries

The Cheese Selection

Here’s where the flavor party truly begins! Aim for a variety of textures and milk types for a well-rounded experience.

  • Soft Cheeses: Think creamy Brie, decadent goat cheese, or a spreadable mascarpone.
  • Semi-Soft Cheeses: Gruyere, Havarti, or Monterey Jack offer a delightful balance between smooth and firm.
  • Hard Cheeses: Aged cheddar, Manchego, or Parmesan add a sharp bite and a salty contrast.
All of these cheeses are from Aldi. I also used an Aged White Cheddar and sliced it (not pictured here)

The Meat Selection

Cured meats add a savory dimension to your board. Choose 3-4 options with a mix of textures and flavors.

  • Prosciutto: This thinly sliced Italian ham is a crowd-pleaser with its delicate and buttery taste.
  • Salami: Explore different varieties like peppery Genoa salami, mild soppressata, or a smoky chorizo.
  • Capocollo: This cured pork shoulder boasts a rich and complex flavor profile.
I opted to create a rose out of the sandwich pepperoni to add some interest to the board. You can do this by folding the slices over the rim of a drinking glass! I only ended up using one of the salami’s after this.

Putting It All Together: How To Build A Charcuterie Board

Now for the fun part – creating a visually stunning and delicious spread!

  1. Start with the Cheeses: Place your cheeses strategically around the board. Cut hard cheeses into wedges or slices,crumble softer ones, and arrange them in a visually interesting way.
  2. Fold in the Meats: Drape prosciutto slices elegantly, fan out salami slices, and arrange folded capocollo in a visually appealing manner.
  3. Fill the Gaps with Color and Texture: Scatter fruits, nuts, and dips throughout, leaving breathing room between elements.
  4. Carbs for the Win: Arrange crackers and bread slices in clusters or fan them out for easy grabbing.
  5. The Finishing Touches: Tuck in fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme for a touch of fragrance. Drizzle honey over cheese or fruit for a touch of sweetness.

Remember, balance is key! Aim for a variety of colors, textures, and flavors. Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with the arrangement. After all, the most important ingredient is the joy of sharing a delicious spread with loved ones!

Other Recipes / Cooking

Healthy No Bake Energy Ball Bites

Healthy Chili

Mini Red Velvet Cakes

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

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click-to-learn-how-to-design-custom-trim

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A couple months ago when I installed picture frame molding in the dining room, I had a sneaking suspicion that it was going to be addicting. I just didn’t know how addicting! All of a sudden, I wanted it in every room in the house. However, I’m a firm believer that there can be too much of a good thing. After wrestling with the primary bedroom design for months, I decided it would be the perfect space for my next round of custom trim. With a blank canvas to work from and vaulted ceilings to consider, I had a lot of design decisions to make. Today I’m pulling the curtain back and sharing how I designed custom trim in my primary bedroom.

Defining the Plan

If I’m being honest, I went round and round designing the primary bedroom for months. At first I was going to do a mural with colored trim, doors and ceiling. But after ordering some samples it didn’t feel right. I couldn’t let go of the idea of wallpaper quite yet, so I thought about installing a chair rail and box molding on the lower third of the wall with wallpaper on the top two thirds (similar to the dining room). I mocked it up and that didn’t feel right either.

Enter the plan to add floor to ceiling molding and color drench the space. This finally felt right, and I felt less boxed in with the initial concept (pun intended). From this point, the decisions were if I wanted a chair rail to separate the boxes, or if I wanted to go with just boxes. If just boxes, then two stacked or three stacked. Seriously, there were a lot of decisions to make.

How I designed Custom Trim

To help narrow down the options, I took some still photos of the space and uploaded them into the design program Canva. I started on the wall with the windows first, placing boxes on top of each window. Seeing the larger space above the windows (which stretch to the floor) helped me realize this design makes the most sense with two boxes vs three. I think if my ceilings were 10 feet vs 9 feet, stacking three boxes would’ve worked.

To keep things balanced, I copied the height of the boxes above the windows and mirrored that height on the bottom portion of each wall. So if there was a box above a door frame or a window, on the next windowless/doorless area, there would be the same height of box on the bottom of that wall, and then a larger box on top.

Measuring and Spacing the Custom Trim

When I designed custom trim in my dining room trim, I used a leftover piece of my white oak hardwood flooring, which measures 3.5” in width as my “spacer.” This helped simplify the measuring of the boxes because all I had to do was add this spacer in between the top, bottoms and sides of all boxes.

So for example, there is 3.5” in between the top of my baseboards and bottom of my picture frame trim. There’s 3.5” in between all boxes next to one another. There’s 3.5” between the top of the picture frame trim and the ceiling. The only exception is when you get to corners of the room, as there’s a total of 7” in between the trim. 3.5” from trim to corner, and another 3.5” from corner to the next piece of trim. It’s a bit easier to follow visually so you can see the measurements in the photos below!

The two biggest measuring decisions I had to make was on the wall behind the bed, as well as the wall behind the dresser. Starting with the bed, I decided I wanted the trim to frame both my nightstands and the new bed. So I started with the nightstands and measured wide enough to stretch just past my nightstands. Then used the 3.5” spacer, and the remaining middle space stretch just outside of the bed. I thought it would look a little odd to have the molding placed inside of the bed, and now seeing it after the fact I stand by this decision.

The wall behind my dresser was the biggest head scratcher, simply because the dresser is centered on the wall, however the door to my closet is also on this wall. So I had a box above the closet door and then an uneven amount of wall to play with. Ultimately, rather than do two equal sized boxes, I decided to mirror the narrow / long box with the wider box design as the wall behind the bed. The door to the closet serves as it’s own version of the third narrow box.

Installing the Custom Trim

For me, the profile of trim really makes or breaks it from a design perspective. I want something visually interesting, especially in such a large space like this bedroom. I found this primed trim at Home Depot and love the profile of it, and the price was on point as well!

After I measured the boxes, I drew them onto the wall in pencil just to be sure. This also helped me measure twice so I could cut once. I used the same miter saw I purchased for the dining room project (this is truly a great beginner tool if you’re in the market!) and cut my trim to length.

Using my brad nailer and 2” brad nails, I nailed each piece into place, one box at a time. Even though I had lines drawn on the wall, I made sure to use both my wood spacer as well as a level just to make sure everything lined up. Sometimes the nails don’t always go all the way in, so this handy nail tap set will help you make sure they’re flush. These come in three sizes and thanks to a small bevel on the tip, they stay on the brad nail head while you tap in with your hammer.

I filled all nail holes with wood filler, caulked inside & outside each box, and then sanded until everything was smooth. I’ll admit, this is not the most exciting part of the process, but it’s so essential for achieving that high end look.

Next Steps

The next steps will be color drenching! We’ll prep the entire space by filling all nail holes in the walls and sanding to make sure everything is smooth. From there we’ll wash the walls, trim and ceiling to ensure there won’t be any dust in the paint, and then we’ll be ready to prime everything. And then it’s the fun part: color drenching the entire room! The space is 18′ x 14′ with a vaulted ceiling, so it will certainly be a process, but I know it will be worth it. Make sure you’re following along on socials to watch everything unfold!

If you’re interested in giving this project a try, here is everything I used to DIY my own. I stand by each of these products and would highly recommend them!

Kobalt Miter Saw

Ryobi Brad Nailer (make sure you get the battery and charger too if you don’t already have one!)

1.5″ or 2” brad nails

Woodgrain Millwork 11/16 in x 1-3/8in x 96in moulding

Caulk Gun

DAP Caulk

Wood Filler

Sanding Paper or blocks

Hammer

Level

Tape Measure

Nail Punch Set

Safety Glasses

click-to-learn-how-to-clean-copper

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Copper! It’s the metal that adds warmth, character, and a touch of timeless elegance to our homes. From gleaming pots and pans to stunning hammered sinks, copper elevates everyday objects into design statements. Recently I found a beautiful copper wine cooler at an estate sale, but it definitely needed a little TLC. Being my first copper piece, I had to do a little research on the best way to restore it, so I want to share my top tips for how to clean copper.

Before vs After

Conquering Tarnish: Your Copper Cleaning Arsenal

Tarnished copper? No problem! Here’s a breakdown of cleaning methods, from natural options to some store-bought heroes:

  • The Natural Wonders:
    • The Lemony Scrub: This classic method uses the power of citric acid found in lemons. Cut a lemon in half, sprinkle some salt (coarse or table salt works) on the fleshy side, and scrub the tarnish goodbye. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.
    • The Vinegar Powerhouse: Vinegar’s acidity tackles tarnish with ease. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a bowl. Dip a microfiber cloth in the solution, wring it slightly to avoid dripping, and buff the tarnished areas. For stubborn tarnish, let the vinegar solution sit for a few minutes before scrubbing. Rinse well and dry completely.
  • The Ketchup Surprise: Yes, you read that right! Ketchup’s acidity can be surprisingly effective on mild tarnish. Apply a generous amount of ketchup to the copper and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. The vinegar in the ketchup helps loosen the tarnish, making it easier to buff away with a damp cloth. Rinse thoroughly and dry completely.
  • Bar Keepers Friend to the Rescue: This popular cleaning powder is a powerhouse against tarnish. There are several different types of Bar Keepers Friend, but for this project I like to use the Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser. Use a microfibercloth and gently rub the liquid onto your piece and then wipe clean with a fresh cloth. Always do a spot test on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t scratch your copper.
Here’s an example of using lemon + salt. The before & after is remarkable!

Bonus Tip: For heavily tarnished or intricate pieces, create a paste using salt, flour, and vinegar. Mix equal parts salt and flour, then add enough vinegar to form a thick consistency. Apply the paste with a soft cloth, buff gently, and rinse thoroughly.

Sealing the Deal: Preventing Future Tarnish

Now that your copper is sparkling, let’s keep it that way! Copper tarnishes naturally when exposed to air. Here’s how to add a protective layer especially if you went with an all natural cleaning method noted above:

  • Wax On, Tarnish Off: Apply a thin coat of furniture wax to the clean, dry copper surface. Buff with a soft cloth to create a barrier that helps slow down tarnishing. Reapply the wax every few months for lasting protection.
  • An every day option: you likely have some form of mineral oil in your kitchen. While not as strong as a furniture wax, mineral oil will also help seal copper and add at least a small level of protection from air.
  • Lacquer Love: For a more durable option, consider using a clear lacquer specifically designed for copper. This creates a stronger barrier but requires more care during application. Ensure proper ventilation and follow the product instructions carefully.

Remember: Patina, the natural green or brown film that forms on copper over time, can be beautiful in its own right. If you prefer the antiqued look, you don’t necessarily need to clean and seal your copper.

All In One Copper Cleaning options

Short on time and looking for a one stop shop? There are options for you! While I haven’t personally tried these yet, I’ve done some research and these look like well reviewed options.

Wright’s Copper & Brass Polishing Cream: apply this thick cream all over and gently massage it into your piece. After a short time, wipe the cream off with a fresh rag and not only will your copper be clean, but it will be sealed too! I’m adding this one to my shopping cart for next time!

Brasso Metal Polishing cream: Brasso does exactly what it says it will do, and is good for all metals. So if you have a variety of finishes in your home, this should definitely be in your cleaning cupboard!

how-to-clean-copper

With a little cleaning know-how and some clever sealing tricks, your copper can continue to be a shining star in your home decor. So grab your lemons, vinegar, ketchup (or Bar Keepers Friend!), and get ready to bring back the brilliance. If you’re thinking of adding copper into your home, I hope this guide will be helpful for whatever your needs may be!

If you’re in love with this copper wine cooler as much as I am, I’ve rounded up a few similar pieces from the resale market. You can shop them HERE!

click to learn what to bring to an estate sale

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Thinking about hitting a local estate sale? I absolutely recommend it! Estate sales are a fantastic way to find upscale pieces at bargain prices, and they offer a thrilling sense of adventure. Whether it’s your first time or you’re a regular on the circuit, knowing what to bring to an estate sale can make or break your experience.

After you’ve identified which estate sales you’re going to go to, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepped for a successful day. Here are my top recommendations on what to have handy before heading out the door.

Tape Measure

If you only remember one thing I highly recommend a small tape measure. Depending on the scale of the house you’re going to, things can look much larger or smaller in different environments, so sometimes eyeballing can be tricky.

Large houses will have large furniture that will look normal all due to scale. Measure just to be safe!

Bungee Cords

In the market for a rug or furniture? Bringing along a couple bungee cords will help secure furniture and/or keep large rugs rolled up tightly for easier transport.

Blankets

Blankets are excellent for placing in between and stacking pieces of artwork, mirrors or even wrapping around lamps. I highly recommend having at least 2-3 on hand for any sale you’re going to visit.

I purchased multiple pieces of artwork (including this one!) at the same sale. Having blankets to place in between them was essential to keep them from getting damaged during transport.

Newspapers / Boxes / Reusable bags

You’ll quickly learn every estate sale is very different. I’ve been to some which have provided packing paper for fragile items, but none of them have provided a way to carry your items. You are truly on your own! If you’re eyeing smaller items (especially glassware) it’s wise to bring your own boxes and packing paper to keep items secure.

These red books fit perfectly in a small resuable bag I carry with me

Screwdrivers

A set of screw drivers isn’t the worst idea, especially if you have a small car. Recently I picked up a long entryway bench and when I flipped it over to lift it into my car I noticed the legs screwed into the top. If I would’ve brought a screwdriver with me the loading process would have been so much easier with my 2 door car.

Disposable Gloves

Estate sale companies do not clean the houses before the sales. Often times houses are dusty and sometimes even dirty. If you think you might be buying a rug, expect it to be quite dirty, as most often the rugs are in the middle of high traffic areas and everyone at the estate sale is walking on them! Same goes for any garage or outdoor pieces. Pack a few disposable gloves just in case you find yourself in this position.

I wish I would have had gloves with me when I had to roll up and carry this rug by myself. It was filthy!

Handheld vacuum

If you already have a small handheld vacuum it may be worth bringing for the same reasons I mention above. Especially if you don’t have a truck or other large vehicle.

Your measurements

One of the most important things! Take measurements of all your spaces. Empty walls you want artwork for. The height of your ceilings and width of your windows. The size of your rooms for both rugs and furniture. Again, the scale of other people’s homes can skew the perception of the size of the pieces. Keep your own measurements on your Notes app in your iPhone for easy reference.

example-of-apron-on-table-and-chair-height
Keep a list of measurements stored on your phone for easy access

Photos of your home

This may sound silly because of course we know our own homes, but it’s so helpful to have snapshots of each space for easy reference. If you’re on the fence about a certain item based on color or style, having a photo of your own space to quickly reference could be the deciding factor on whether you buy it or leave it!

chair-height-and-tables
Having some recent photos of your rooms can help you determine if an item will look right in your space

Cash / check / credit card

Most estate sale listings will note whether they have particular payment preferences. I like to have cash, checks and credit cards on hand just in case. Some sales also take venmo which is very easy (but sometimes the wi-fi doesn’t work at the house). Keep all payment methods handy for a quick check out (and sometimes you can negotiate further with cash).

Part of the fun of estate sales is the sense of adventure and the thrill of the hunt! Going in with a little preparation and the items listed above will make it easier on yourself from a logistical standpoint, and you can truly enjoy the experience.

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click-for-no-bake-healthy-snack-dessert-recipe

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Summer is right around the corner and for many of us that means vacations, busy schedules and longer days. One of my favorite grab-and-go snacks to have on hand are these no bake energy ball bites. With only 5 ingredients and no oven time, they’re a breeze to put together and make for a healthy (and easy) on-the-go snack. Save this recipe to indulge your sweet tooth without sabotaging your diet!

Ingredients

(makes 12 servings)

1 Cup of rolled oats

½ Cup flax meal

 2/3 Cup almond butter

5 Tablespoons maple syrup

½ Cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Add all ingredients to bowl and mix with a spoon
  3. Roll 12 equal sized balls and place on baking sheet
  4. Refrigerate 2-4 hours or until firm

You can store these no bake energy balls in a sealed container for up to a week. I like to double the recipe and freeze half for future use. This recipe is gluten free and has minimum added sugar (save the dark chocolate chips).

Nutrition Facts (per 1 serving):

Calories: 206

Total Fat: 12.7g

Total Carbohydrates 21g

Protein 5.9g

No Bake Energy Ball Variations

There are many ways to customize this snack and it all depends on your taste. Some ideas to get you started…

Spice it up: adding spices like cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice  or even all-spice could add a seasonal flare to this snack.

Even easier prep: not into rolling individual balls? Press the batter into a lined 8×8 pan, chill and then cut into bars. If you have a pan with a lid, then you can store as is.

Play with flavor: in addition to spices you can substitute other nut butters for the almond butter. You can even add in toasted coconut, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds or another chocolate variation. Sea salt on top never hurt either!

Explore My Other Recipes:

Healthy Chili

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Mini Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes

click-to-learn-how-to-find-estate-sales

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Late last year I found myself going to a handful of estate sales, all in the hopes of finding some Shiny Brite vintage ornaments for my Christmas tree. While I was able to find a handful of ornaments, I also found something else: the power of estate sales. You see, estate sales can help you create a collected home that looks like it stepped out of a magazine (without the magazine price tag!). Over the past few months, I’ve found everything from $10k+ vintage rugs to oil paintings to high end furniture. And today, I’m going to share my tips for how to find estate sales.

Estate sales are a treasure trove for unique pieces that tell a story. But with so many sales happening, how do you find the good ones? Well, my secret weapon is the EstateSales.net app! Let me show you how I use it to curate my estate sale adventures.

Lets Get Set Up

First things first, download and fire up the EstateSales.net app. Once you open it up, you’ll be able to set your location as well as a radius of how far you’re willing to travel for a sale. I like to set mine to 50 miles.

After inputting your radius, you’ll see a map with sales pinpointed in your area. But hold on to your hats, we don’t want to waste time visiting every single sale. The key is to filter the results to show only the sales that are most likely to have the pieces you’re interested in.

Filtering Your Way to Fabulous Finds

  • Location, Location, Location: I love a good bargain, but I also factor in travel time. So, I usually filter the map to focus on upscale areas of town. These areas tend to have sales with higher-quality furniture and décor.
  • Been There, Loved That: Did you visit an estate sale by a particular company that had a great selection and vibe? Many estate sale companies run multiple sales throughout the year, and some even have a sale each week! The EstateSales.net app lets you filter by company, so you can see if any of your favorites have upcoming sales.
  • The Power of Pictures: A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when it comes to estate sales! The app lets you see photos from each sale. I use them to get a sense of the overall style and types of items that will be available. If I see a photo with a piece of furniture that makes my heart skip a beat, or a room with a similar aesthetic to my home, that sale jumps to the top of my list! Everyone’s style is unique, so this will be different for each of us.
This house was in an upscale neighborhood, plus I had been to this company’s previous sales so I knew it’d be a good one!

Make a Plan

  • Pre-Scouting: The EstateSales.net app will let you look 14 days out. Most estate sale companies will at least have their sale listed, but details like photos may not be fully uploaded until a couple days before the sale. Spend the beginning of your week identifying sales that might be of interest and favoriting them. You’ll get emails if any changes (like new photos) are made to the sale.
  • Heart It: If you’ve found a couple sales you’re interested in, start combing through the photos. Take the time to open each photo, zoom in and scan it. The estate sale companies focus on the hot ticket items and larger items (they do not have time to take a photo of every single item in the house). My zooming in, you may see items in the background that are of interest. Favorite the photo so you can come back to it later.
  • Last Minute Sales: This happens less often than not, but occasionally you’ll see one or two sales pop up late in the week. Make sure you’re doing one last scroll through the app on Thursday so you don’t miss anything.
  • Game Plan: Some weekends there might be no sales, other weekends there may only be one that you like, but sometimes there will be many! This is where saving things you like comes in handy. Start comparing your favorite items, prioritize the sales and make sure you’re using your time wisely.

A few recent estate sale finds from top left clockwise: antique red books, french bouillette lamp, antique oil painting, sarouk rug

Beyond the App: Trusting Your Intuition

The EstateSales.net app is a fantastic tool, but there’s another ingredient to the estate sale hunting equation: intuition. Sometimes, a sale might not have the most glamorous photos, but there’s just a certain je ne sais quoi that tells me they might have hidden gems. Maybe it’s the location in a historic district, or the mention of a “downsizing designer.” These are my little nudges to go check out a sale in person, and often, they pay off!

So, there you have it, my friends! With the EstateSales.net app and a dash of intuition, you’re well on your way to scoring unique finds and crafting a collected home that reflects your personality. Now, get out there and start hunting!

A Lenox vase from a sale I almost didn’t go to. I paid $20!

Related:

Expert tips for successful antiquing adventures

Tips for buying vintage / used furniture

click-for-diy-picture-frame-molding

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Although we’re in the month of April, I feel like it’s Christmas because I’m THAT excited to share the reveal of the DIY picture frame molding in the dining room. This is a project that is on the 2024 project list but has also been on my mind since I moved into this house. I knew it would be perfect in a formal space like the dining room: it gives it that extra wow factor in my opinion. Today I’m sharing the reveal but I’m also breaking this project down with a step-by-step outline of how to add DIY picture frame molding.

So before we dive in, why add picture frame molding? This decorative trim adds architectural interest and instant sophistication to any room. It’s like putting your walls in a fancy frame. It’s high impact and a relatively friendly DIY that looks impressive.

Finding Your Vision

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s chat about the look you’re going for. Picture frame molding comes in various styles, from classic chair rails to more modern profiles. Start a pintrest board (here’s mine) for inspiration and get to pinning styles that make you pause. It will help keep you focused later on in the project when you may be facing decision fatigue. For my dining room, I was lucky to already have a chair rail in place and the top half wallpapered. That left me with minimal decisions to make for the actual boxes.

When choosing the molding size, consider the scale of your room. Wider molding makes a bolder statement and works well in larger spaces, while thinner profiles are perfect for cozy nooks. For this grand room I wanted something a bit wider and with some visual interest. I found a thicker piece of trim that had a pretty bevel to it, and that’s what I ultimately decided on. Also consider if you think you may continue this to other rooms. For me, I anticipate doing just that, so I’ll continue this particular style when the time comes.

Taking Measurements & Planning

Now, let’s get down to business! You’ll need to measure your walls to determine the layout and amount of molding needed. Before you get overwhelmed by this step, I’ll let you in on a little secret. The measurement that matters the most is the distance between the top of your boxes, bottom of your boxes and sides of your boxes. You want that to be consistent throughout the entire room.

A time saving measuring method I utilized was finding a “spacer” to help draw the boxes on the walls. I used a spare piece of flooring which was 3.5″ wide and that was my distance around all sides of each box. This pre-determined width helps create those perfectly proportioned “boxes” on your wall.

Drawing it Out:

Using your spacer of choice, grab a pencil and level to lightly sketch out the molding layout on your wall. This gives you a visual representation and helps ensure everything is nice and balanced. To get visual you can even put painters tape up first to visualize the thickness of the molding on your walls. I opted to skip this step because I felt confident and I’m also a bit impatient!

Measure the lines on your walls and add anywhere from 10-15% more to the linear total. This is how much you’ll need to buy from the hardware store.

Cutting with Confidence:

What you use to cut your trim will depend on the type of molding you select. An MDF style molding will work great with miter shears (I have these ones), and you won’t need any power tools. It will be as easy as using scissors!

For me, the molding I chose was oak which is a thicker cut of wood. Because of that, I needed to purchase a miter saw to do the job accurately. This trusty tool makes precise angled cuts for those crisp corners. Double-check your measurements and practice on scrap wood before tackling the actual molding.

Mock Up Magic

Here’s the magic trick that saves frustration: using painter’s tape, tape the cut molding pieces onto the wall to mimic the final design. This lets you visualize the layout, adjust spacing if needed, and ensure everything looks stellar before permanently attaching anything.

Nail It!

Time to secure the molding to the wall. A brad nailer is your best friend here. It uses tiny nails that disappear easily, leaving a clean finish. While some folks opt to add wood glue to their molding for an extra hold, I found the brad nails worked just fine. I used 1.5” brad nails and this Ryobi brad nailer was incredibly beginner friendly! Plus it’s battery operated!

Filling & Sealing:

Once the molding is in place, it’s time to tackle those tiny nail holes. Use a good quality caulk to fill the holes and create a smooth surface. Let it dry completely, then apply a light coat of spackle to camouflage any imperfections. Sand everything smooth once dry (I made the mistake of not sanding on one piece – make sure you don’t skip this step!). You’ll also want to run a bead of caulk along all edges of the molding for a seamless look.

Prime Time

Now for the painting prep! Apply a coat of primer to the molding and the wall where it meets the molding. This ensures even paint application and helps prevent the molding from soaking up all the paint.

Painting Perfection

Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for: painting! Choose a color that complements your space – either match the wall color for a subtle look or go bold with a contrasting shade. For my room, I chose to use the same white (Du Jour by Valspar) as I have on the walls. I wanted the wallpaper to still have its moment in the overall space, and wanted a seamless look on the bottom half. Because I was working with raw wood, I used three coats on the molding for a nice, even finish.

Picture Perfect DIY Picture Frame Molding

Before I started, I had the sneaking suspicion picture frame molding could be addicting, and I’m here to tell you it is. It instantly elevates the space and adds a touch of elegance and architectural detail to the room. Given my house is a traditional style home, I think it feels timeless and classic.

This project was one where I advanced some of my skills. I’ve never done any type of woodworking, and never operated a power tool outside of a drill, so I’m having quite a proud moment right now. I have plans to add a chair rail and molding in the primary bedroom later this year (with some fun wallpaper on top) as well as beadboard in the laundry room, so I know this is just the beginning!

What do you think? Do you have picture frame molding in your home? Would you try this project? Let me know if you have any questions!

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Have you ever used Rub N Buff? If you’re not familiar, it’s a metallic paint used for arts, crafts and restoration. It can be used on anything from picture frames to furniture, and can help breathe new life into an old piece or customize something that’s not quite to your liking. The Rub N Buff collection comes in a variety of colors which is great but I’ll admit, it can be a bit overwhelming. Today I’m sharing an overview of the Rub N Buff gold collection & color guide which will hopefully help you narrow down your options.

The Rub N Buff Gold Collection

Antique Gold: The Timeless Touch

Let’s begin with the ever-popular Antique Gold. This warm, inviting hue is a fantastic choice for achieving that classic, timeworn look on furniture or frames. Think of it as an aged gold, perfect for projects with a touch of vintage charm.

Autumn Gold: A Rich, Earthy Shimmer

Craving something a little more unexpected? Autumn Gold might be your perfect match. This radiant shade leans towards a coppery warmth, with hints of red peeking through the golden sheen. It’s a beautiful way to introduce warmth and depth into your design scheme. Imagine it accenting a dark wood table or adding a touch of fiery elegance to a picture frame.

European Gold: A Subtle Sophistication

If understated luxury is your aesthetic, then European Gold is calling your name. This cool-toned gold boasts a subtle champagne nuance, making it ideal for projects where you want a hint of gold without overwhelming shine. It pairs exceptionally well with lighter colors and clean lines, lending a touch of Parisian chic to your space.

Gold Leaf: The Classic Gleam

For those who love the radiance of pure gold, look no further than Gold Leaf. This bright and bold shade offers a rich, brassy gleam that instantly elevates any surface. It’s ideal for adding a touch of drama to a room or highlighting decorative details on furniture or millwork.

Grecian Gold: The Dark and Mysterious

Grecian Gold is a deep, bronzy gold with a hint of warmth. It would work wonders on dramatic furniture pieces or as an accent on picture frames or decorative objects.

Choosing Your Perfect Rub N Buff Gold

So, which Rub N Buff gold is right for you? Consider the overall tone of your space and the feeling you want to evoke. Remember, with Rub N Buff, a little goes a long way. You can always build up the intensity for a more dramatic effect. Don’t be afraid to experiment on a hidden surface before committing to your final design. If you’re still not sure, you can buy the Rub N Buff Gold Sampler Pack.

Pro Tip: Rub N Buff can be buffed to a high shine or left more muted for a softer effect. This allows you to further customize the final look to suit your taste.

With its easy application and wide range of colors, Rub N Buff golds open up a world of design possibilities. So, don’t be afraid to test out different colors and even mix & match!

Rub N Buff Gold In My House

So why have I shared all this? Well recently I was on the hunt for a little side table to put next to my clawfoot tub in the primary bathroom. The Visual Comfort Martini Table I really wanted was a bit out of my price range at $479. However I was determined to recreate the look for less and found a similar option on Amazon for only $60. The only downside was it was black instead of brass (the brass was indefinitely sold out).

Being unsure about which Rub N Buff Gold to use on my own table, I purchased the sampler kit and tested out all the options. In the end I went with European Gold with Gold Leaf lightly rubbed on top. I was able to achieve the look for less and saved $400 thanks to Rub N Buff. What do you think? Would you try this?

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As of recently, I’ve been growing more and more obsessed with incorporating vintage finds into my designs. Not only does it add a layer of unique character, but it’s also way more sustainable than buying brand new. While looking for antique trinkets is one thing, hunting for hidden gems such as vintage furniture secondhand is an entirely different league and can be a bit daunting. That dusty thrift store chair might be a mid-century masterpiece, or it could just be…dusty.

A vintage wingback chair I recently scored at a local antique shop!

To be most helpful, I’ve put together this ultimate guide to help you unearth those hidden vintage gems, whether you’re a seasoned thrifter or a curious newbie. Lets break it down!

The Treasure Trove: Where to Look for Vintage Furniture Secondhand

  • In-Person Adventures:
    • Thrift Stores & Consignment Shops: These are your classic hunting grounds! Goodwill, Salvation Army, local charity shops – they all offer a treasure trove of possibilities at fantastic prices. Be prepared to dig, but the thrill of the find is unbeatable.
    • Estate Sales: Calling all early birds! Estate sales often have hidden gems from a bygone era. Ask the seller about the history of the piece – you might just score a conversation starter with a fascinating backstory.
    • Antique Stores: For the curated experience, head to antique stores. Expect higher prices, but you’ll find well-maintained pieces with a higher chance of authenticity.
  • Lets Get Online:
    • Facebook Marketplace & Craigslist: The online world is teeming with pre-loved furniture! Set search filters for your desired style and location to narrow things down. Be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true, and always arrange to see the furniture in person before buying.
    • Etsy: Think Etsy is just for crafts? Think again! Many shops specialize in beautifully restored vintage furniture like this Victorian sofa. The benefit here is the detailed descriptions and high-quality photos, but prices can be on the higher end and be prepared to pay shipping.
    • Ebay: An oldie but a goodie! Ebay offers a vast selection of vintage furniture, but be prepared to sift through a lot of…well, stuff. If you know what you’re looking for and exactly what it’s called, you can narrow down results quickly (For example this vintage writers chair by Ralph Lauren). Read descriptions carefully, check seller reviews, and never hesitate to ask questions.

Become an Inspector Gadget: Questions to Ask

  • Before You Go: is this from a pet free home? A non-smoking home?
  • What’s the history of the piece? Knowing the age and origin can help you determine value and authenticity.
  • Are there any structural issues? Check for loose joints, wobbly legs, or cracks in the wood.
  • Is the upholstery ripped or stained? Reupholstering can be expensive, so factor that into the price if necessary.
  • Can I see the furniture in natural light? True colors and imperfections are often masked by artificial lighting.
  • What’s hiding underneath?: Don’t be afraid to flip furniture over and look underneath. You want to make sure the bottom isn’t falling out. This goes for cushions too. Lift those up and check for stains!
I found this vintage sofa in St. Louis and am having a friend go check it out before I commit to purchasing. Stay tuned!

Caution! Danger Zones to Avoid

  • Water damage: Warping, bubbling, or peeling veneer are all signs of water damage, which is a major no-go.
  • Upholstery with strong odors: Pet smells, cigarette smoke, or mildew are difficult (and sometimes impossible) to remove.
  • Missing parts or hardware: Replacing missing parts or drawers can be a real hassle. Hardware is easier to replace and is usually fun to update.
  • Poor pictures: this is a double edged sword. Sometimes bad pictures might be the sign of a technology challenged person that just wants to get rid of something and is in a rush. Other times it can be hiding imperfections. Once you’ve engaged in a conversation with the seller, don’t be afraid to ask for more photos if the original listing is unclear.
Real life example: the listing photo (left – blurry) vs photos I requested (look at that oil spot!!!). This was nearly a disaster for me.

Secondhand Vintage Furniture Takeaways

Remember: When buying vintage, perfect isn’t always the goal. Embrace the character of a well-worn piece, but always be mindful of structural integrity.

Bonus Tip: Haggling is totally acceptable (and sometimes expected) at flea markets, estate sales, and even some thrift stores. Don’t be afraid to politely negotiate a better price!

I hope this guide equips you to confidently navigate the world of secondhand furniture. Remember, the hunt is half the fun, so happy treasure hunting! And if you ever find a mind-blowing vintage score, don’t forget to tag me on social media – I love seeing your finds!

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Today I’m thrilled to share what is quite possibly my most favorite space in my house: my walk-in closet! Or as I like to refer to it: my dressing room. This is what Carrie Bradshaw’s dreams are made of. A closet reminiscent of Cher’s closet on Clueless (minus the computer but maybe I’ll work on that!). It’s my Barbie dream closet. And my favorite thing about this space? I created it. Read on for the full story.

The Before: A Surprise Room

When I first toured this house, this room was a complete surprise. Left adjacent to the main entryway, the space was set up as a guest room. I believe that it was originally designed to be a home office, however with an extra bedroom upstairs, I had already decided on making my home office on the second level.

This room was not in the listing and was a complete surprise the first time I toured the house.

After touring the house further, I realized this “surprise room” backed up to the primary bedroom. I also realized the original master closet backed up to the primary bathroom. My wheels started turning immediately. I could combine the original closet and bathroom to create one giant bathroom. And I could turn this “surprise room” into my own private dressing room experience. I was sold.

Walk-In Closet Design

If you followed along with my primary bathroom renovation, you’ll remember this was the first thing I did upon moving in. It was truly inside of 30 days I had the bathroom completely gutted and renovated. During that time, I had the original doorway to the “surprise room” sealed off and a new doorway to my primary bedroom created. We repurposed the original trim and door to save on costs.

Sealing up the old doorway (adjacent to the entry) and creating a new doorway to the primary bedroom.

Having used California Closets for several projects at my previous house, I called on them again for the design. Being this was such a large space and I had just spent a healthy amount of money on the primary bathroom renovation, I was focused on the functionality of the design more than the bells and whistles.

The designer was really pushing for an island in the center of the room, but quite honestly I love having this space open for a clean walk way. You can see a couple of my design renderings I was reviewing below.

The Reveal Day

After California Closets had installed everything, I remember tiptoeing into my walk-in closet for the first time. I gasped. I truly could not believe it was mine. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would own something as magical as this space.

During the design process I opted for a more open storage concept vs drawers and cupboards. It’s a personal preference but I love being able to SEE all my pieces. It makes deciding on an outfit each day such a fun treat.

The Upgrades I Chose and the Ones I Left Behind

The small upgrades I added were a valet rod which I highly recommend for many reasons. A sliding hook rod for belts and scarves made so much sense for smart storage(see similar here). Soft close drawers on the back wall are plenty deep for things like pajamas, workout clothes and under garments. And last but certainly not least are the plastic shelf dividers. These might look unnecessary but they have been so helpful for displaying and storing my handbags. I had some of these from the previous house, but you can buy them on Amazon (linked here – no need to pay more at a closet company).

The upgrades I passed on were the island as well as a hidden hamper. I couldn’t see taking up valuable real estate for either of these. I also opted for flat shoe shelves vs angled display shelves to save on costs.

My Walk-In Closet 6 years Later

This June will mark 6 years since I designed this room and I love that there’s still so much opportunity to add some personality. There are plenty of other spaces in the house to work on, but when I want my imagination to run wild, I let it drift into the closet and daydream about wallpapered ceilings, painted shelving and vintage rugs.

Sources:

Closet Design: California Closets

Acrylic Shelf Dividers

Pink Chandelier

Valet Rod

Hook Valet

Velvet Hangers

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antique spittoon

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For an interior designer, the thrill of discovering a unique antique piece adds layers of history and character to any space. But navigating the world of antiques can be overwhelming, especially for newcomers. I should know: I’ve had some fantastic wins (specifically with my dining chairs) and I’ve also walked out empty handed. Today, we’ll delve into my personal tips for successful antiquing adventures, ensuring you return home with treasures, not regrets.

1. Know Your Objective:

Before embarking on your quest, define your goals. Are you seeking a statement piece for your living room, or are you on the hunt for smaller accents? Having a clear vision will guide you towards the right shops and prevent impulse purchases.

2. Get Your Measurements Straight:

In the event you’re hunting for a specific piece, you may be confined to particular measurements. Keep a running list on the notes app in your phone for these items. For example, I was looking for chairs to match a newer table. I had the measurements saved and ready to go in my phone. When I found these chairs that caught my eye I was able to pull the trigger while traveling. I’m currently looking for an antique mirror for my dining room and I have the ideal height and length saved in my notes. Same for the vintage hallway runner I hope to score.

chair-height-and-tables

3. Educate Yourself:

Knowledge is power! Familiarize yourself with different periods, styles, and materials. Online resources like Kovels and auction house catalogs are valuable allies. Understanding the context of a piece not only enhances its value but also informs your restoration decisions. For example I knew my dining room antique bentwood chairs were worth far more than what they were listed for. Having this information on hand allowed me to cut to the chase with negotiating!

4. Inspect Like a Detective:

Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty! Inspect furniture for structural soundness, loose joints, and woodworm damage. Check for cracks in ceramics and tarnishing on metals. Be meticulous, as restoration costs can quickly outweigh the initial bargain.

5. Befriend the Dealer:

Vendors are a wealth of information. Engage them in conversation! Ask about the piece’s history, origin, and potential for restoration. Their insights can be invaluable, and a friendly rapport may even lead to a better deal.

A real life example of this was when I showed a local dealer a photo of the light I was searching for. She knew exactly what it was called and when it dated back to, which allowed me to zero in my online search more precisely. And now this beautiful skyscraper pendant is the star of the show in my kitchen!

6. Negotiate with Confidence:

Don’t be intimidated by haggling. Research fair market values beforehand and be prepared to negotiate. Remember, a polite and informed approach goes a long way. And in the end it’s okay to walk away if the item is overpriced.

7. Think Beyond the Obvious:

Embrace the potential for transformation! Look for pieces with good bones that can be repurposed. An old dresser can become a chic bathroom vanity, or vintage suitcases can be stacked to create a unique coffee table. Or another example below: repurposing a spittoon as a vase!

8. Embrace the Imperfections:

Don’t shy away from pieces with minor flaws or wear. These imperfections tell a story, adding character and warmth to your space. Remember, true beauty often lies in the subtle imperfections.

9. Document Your Journey:

Capture photos of pieces that catch your eye, even if you don’t purchase them immediately. Reflecting on your finds later can spark inspiration for hunting online on facebook marketplace, etsy or other trade sites. I found the below bronze horse statue on an antique trip and recently spotted it on eBay for more than half off!

Remember, antiquing is an adventure, not a sprint. Enjoy the process, trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid to experiment. With these tips and a little practice, you’ll be well on your way to unearthing unique treasures that will add character to your home and spark conversation.

Happy hunting!

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Wallpaper is a powerful design tool, capable of injecting personality and drama into any space. After wallpapering four different spaces in my house (the dining room, back entry, powder room and toilet room) I have one main takeaway to share. Meticulous wall preparation is crucial. When done correctly, it will make your installation a breeze as well as ensure your wallpaper is adhered properly. Let’s delve into the key steps on how to prepare walls for wallpaper installation.

traditional-dining-room

How to Prepare Walls for Wallpaper Installation

Step 1: Assess Your Walls

  • Strip the Drama: Remove existing wallpaper, light switch covers, and outlet plates. Eliminate any potential adhesion disruptors.
  • Spot the Imperfections: Become a wall detective, searching for bumps, cracks, and nail holes. Spackle and sand these imperfections for a smooth, even surface.
  • Cleanliness is Paramount: Grab a large sponge and a mild cleaning solution (detergent or vinegar work well) to banish dust, dirt, and grime – anything that could jeopardize adhesion. Remember, if your walls are dirty, the paste won’t properly adhere.

Step 2: Paint & Prime – The Essential Duo

  • Painting Assessment: Evaluate your existing paint as well as your wallpaper of choice. Peel and stick wallpaper generally adheres best to eggshell, satin or semi-gloss paint. Traditional pasted wallpaper does best with an eggshell sheen. If it’s sound, and the right sheen, you might be able to skip this step. However, old, peeling, or glossy paint will not work. Skip to the next bullet if this is you.
  • Prime Time: This is your secret weapon! Primer seals the surface, prevents stains, and creates a uniform base for the wallpaper.
    • Even more importantly, consider the color of your chosen wallpaper. If it’s a darker pattern, you can get your primer tinted. This will help you avoid any visible break in the seams.
  • Drying with Patience: Remember, haste makes waste. Follow the drying times for both paint and primer before applying wallpaper. For primer, you can begin installation after 24 hours. Any type of paint needs at least 30 days to cure. Another reason to consider the primer option!
Example of tinted primer for a dark patterened wallpaper installation

Step 3: The Final Inspection Before Wallpaper Installation

  • Texture Talk: Slight texture might not be a dealbreaker, but for a truly flawless look, consider using joint compound to smooth out unevenness. Sand lightly after application to achieve a baby-smooth finish.
  • Patching Up: Stubborn cracks or holes? No worries! Apply spackling compound, let it dry, and sand smooth. Repeat if necessary until you achieve a flawless surface.

Wallpaper Prep Supply Checklist:

Remember, how to prepare walls for wallpaper can be a bit different for everyone as every wall is unique. Adapt these guidelines based on your chosen wallpaper’s specific instructions. With meticulous preparation and these expert tips, you’ll create the perfect foundation for a flawless wallpaper masterpiece. Happy decorating!

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On a recent trip to my favorite local antique store, I found myself reflecting on the moment when I stumbled across my current kitchen chairs. It was truly love at first sight: they had vintage flair and I knew they’d strike the perfect balance with my new round fluted table. But there was one problem: I had no idea if they would be the right height. With more and more people shopping used these days, the concept of mixing and matching furniture is here to stay (I called it in my 2024 trends predictions!). With that in mind, I wanted to round up a guide to chair heights for every table scenario. Keep this guide handy and you’ll be ready to buy with confidence when the time comes.

The Golden Rule: Room to Breathe, Legs, and Opinions

First, let’s establish a universal truth: comfort reigns supreme. While aesthetics are important, a chair that’s uncomfortable won’t impress anyone (not even your most design-obsessed friend). So, the number one key in your guide to chair heights lies in finding a chair that allows for comfortable legroom and proper posture.

chair-height-and-tables

Standard Table Heights:

  • Most dining tables hover around 29-30 inches tall.
  • For these tables, aim for chair seat heights between 17-19 inches.
  • This leaves a comfortable 10-12 inch gap between your thighs and the table, allowing for legroom and easy scooting in and out.
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Counter Height Tables:

  • These beauties stand tall at 34-36 inches.
  • Match them with chairs boasting seat heights of 23-26 inches.
  • This creates a casual, barstool-esque vibe, perfect for quick meals or open-concept kitchens.

Bar Height Tables:

  • Calling all cocktail enthusiasts! Bar tables reign supreme at 40-42 inches.
  • Here, you’ll need chairs with seat heights of 28-30 inches.
  • Remember, bar stools should offer good footrests for long chats and perching sessions.

Mixing and Matching: A Balancing Act

Now, let’s talk about mixing and matching tables and chairs. Choosing chairs and tables isn’t always about matching numbers. Mixing and matching can add personality (remember my dining room chairs + wallpaper?!), but keep these handy tips in mind:

  • Think about legroom: Even if the seat height works, ensure the table apron (the horizontal piece under the tabletop) doesn’t impede your knees.
  • Armchair adventures: Armrests shouldn’t bump the table, hindering comfort and access.
  • Visual balance: Taller chairs with a standard table can look unbalanced. Consider chairs with higher backs or opt for a slightly taller table.
  • Function first: If your counter is for casual meals, lower stools might be comfier. For taller tasks, go higher.
example-of-apron-on-table-and-chair-height
This is an example of a table having an apron. These chairs are 10″ from the apron and 13″ from the table top, which is ideal.

Guide To Chair Heights Conclusion

Remember, comfort is key! Sit in the chairs before you buy, ensuring good posture and legroom. And when in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask a design professional for help. With a little planning and these handy tips, you’ll find the perfect chair height to create a space that’s both stylish and comfy.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Who doesn’t love an excuse for a sweet treat?! Whether you’re celebrating as a couple, with your best gal pals or are declaring it a party of 1, these mini molten red velvet cakes are the perfect way to be a little festive. Single servings, easy to make and beyond impressive to look at, these cuties only take 20 minutes to bake. Get ready to impress with this easy yet decadent recipe!

Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 2 hours | Bake Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

Cakes

  • 2 oz semisweet baking chocolate
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa, plus more for ramekins
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon red liquid food coloring

Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened

Additional Notes:

  • You will need four 8oz oven safe ramekins. (I like these ones)
  • The chocolate center will need 2 hours to chill & firm up. You can make this in advance if need be.

Directions

Prepare the Chocolate Center

  • Chop 2oz of semisweet bakers chocolate and place in microwave safe bowl
  • Add ¼ Cup of heavy cream
  • Microwave on High for 30 seconds
  • Whisk until blended and smooth
  • Let stand for 1 minute
  • Immediate cover with seran wrap and place in fridge
  • Chocolate will need a minimum of 2 hours to firm, but can be stored for up to 48 hours in advance if necessary.

Prepare the Mini Molten Red Velvet Cakes

  • Preheat oven to 400°F
    • Using butter, lightly grease four 8-ounce oven safe ramekins. Dust with a pinch of unsweetened cocoa then tap out excess.
    • Combine wet ingredients and whisk:
      • ½ Cup of Salted Butter
      • ½ Cup granulated sugar
      • 6 Tablespoons of Buttermilk
      • 1 egg Yolk
      • ½ teaspoon vanilla
      • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
      • 1 ½ teaspoons red food dye
    • Combine dry ingredients and whisk:
      • 1 Cup flour
      • 1 ½ teaspoons baking cocoa
      • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
      • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • Combine wet and dry ingredients and whisk together. Divide equally across the four ramekins.
    • Divide chilled chocolate into four equal sections, roll into balls and gently drop in the center of each batter filled ramekin. (as the cakes cook the chocolate will sink so just gently tap into the center for now)
    • Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes. (cakes will be springy in the center when fully cooked)
Left: Chocolate Balls Placed in cake batter | Right: Chocolate balls start to drop as cakes bake

Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Mix the following ingredients:
    • 2oz softened cream cheese,2 Tablespoons unsalted butter½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Add 1 Cup of powdered sugar to mixture and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until blended (roughly 1 minute)

Plate the Mini Molten Red Velvet Cakes

  • Immediately run a rubber spatula or thin knife around the ramekin edges to loosen cakes
    • Invert each red velvet cake onto a serving plate
    • Dust cakes with a sprinkle of powdered sugar
    • Top each cake with Cream Cheese topping
    • Serve immediately

Other Recipes:

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Healthy Homemade Chili

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For me, the journey of transforming my house truly started with a paint brush. While I’ve been painting for decades at this point, it wasn’t until recently that I decided to paint the trim between the cozy room and back entry two different contrasting colors. With that decision, came learning how to get razor-sharp crisp paint lines. While I was a bit intimidated at first, I’m here to share it’s quite easy! I’m excited to share my tips with you today – let’s get to it.

click-for-back-entry-reveal

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Premium frog tape: Its enhanced adhesive forms an impenetrable barrier, ensuring zero paint bleed.
  • Paint brushes: The exact type will depend on what you’re painting but you can’t go wrong with an angled brush. I like this one!
  • Flawless roller: If you’re painting walls two different colors then you’ll need this. For trim you can disregard.
  • High-quality paints: see my tips for choosing paint sheens in this post if you need help.
  • Drop cloths

Step 1: Prep the Space

Before you do anything, you need to properly clean the area that’s going to be painted. If you don’t, your tape won’t adhere properly and you’ll have a mess on your hands. Use dish soap and warm water to wipe down the surface. Allow time to dry. Place your drop cloths around the work area.

Step 2: Mapping Out Perfection (Optional)

For stripes, intricate patterns, or unwavering straight lines, employ a level and pencil to lightly mark your desired design. Remember, these markings are temporary guides.

Step 3: Tape it Off

Apply your frog tape along your markings or directly on the surface. Press firmly, especially at edges and corners. In fact, I like to run a putty knife along the tape to ensure it’s sealed.

Step 4: Sealing the Deal

Here’s the Pro tip you’ve been waiting for. Before introducing the contrasting color, paint a thin layer of the basecoat over the exposed frog tape edge. This seals microscopic gaps and prevents paint migration. Allow for complete drying.

Step 5: Painting with Precision

Now, the moment you’ve awaited! Utilizing your brushes or roller, apply the contrasting color, ensuring it reaches and slightly overlaps the frog tape’s edge. Avoid overloading tools, as excess paint can lead to unwanted bleeding. Remember, thin coats applied in layers yield the most flawless finish.

Step 6: Unveiling Crisp Paint Lines

With wet paint, meticulously peel the frog tape back at a 45-degree angle. This maneuver guarantees a clean, crisp separation. It should be perfectly crisp! However should minor imperfections arise, employ a small brush dipped in the basecoat for wet-paint touch-ups.

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Last year I color drenched the cozy tv room a dark moody blue grey, and it’s been one of my favorite spaces to date. I remember when I first shared the concept of color-drenched rooms with some family and friends, I made heads turn (and not in a good way!). People thought I had officially lost it. I understood the concern – it’s a strange concept to wrap your head around if you’ve never seen it either virtually or in person.

benefits-of-color-drenched-rooms
Sources: Gold Leaf Light | Mirror | Candles | Brass Lamp

As I plot my next space to color drench, I thought I’d pause today to share more about the science of color drenching and why it works from a design perspective.

What are color-drenched rooms?

But first, what exactly is color drenching? Imagine taking one luscious color and painting your walls, ceiling, trim – all of it – the same color. It’s a monochromatic masterpiece, a color commitment that pays off in surprising and delightful ways.

Now, I know what you might be thinking: “Isn’t that a bit…much?” But trust me, color drenching isn’t just about making a statement (although it does that effortlessly!). It’s about unlocking hidden potential in your space and creating unique visual effects that will leave you saying “wow!” every time you step inside.

click-to-learn-more-about-color-drenching
Sources: Brass Desk Lamp | Brass Bookends

Here are some of the amazing things color drenching can do:

  • Spacious Surprise: Believe it or not, drenching a room in the same color can actually make it feel bigger! The uninterrupted flow of color blurs the lines between walls and ceiling, creating an illusion of expansiveness.
  • Highlight architectural details: When everything wears the same color, architectural features like moldings and beams pop out, adding depth and character to your space.
  • Create a serene escape: Monochromatic palettes have a calming effect, perfect for bedrooms, nurseries, or meditation corners. Imagine a tranquil lavender haven or a soft, sage-green retreat.
  • Highlight Reel: Color drenching is a blank canvas and a calming backdrop that lets your furniture, artwork, and other design elements truly shine. It’s like hitting the spotlight on your favorite pieces! Play with textures, patterns, and furniture to add personality and avoid a flat look.
  • Drama on Demand: Want to create a bold, show-stopping space? Drenching in a dramatic color like charcoal gray or deep navy blue is your answer. It’s a guaranteed head-turner that exudes sophistication and elegance.
color-drenched-cozy-room
Sources: Gold Leaf Light | Candles | Record Player | Mirror

Ready to take the plunge? Here are some tips for color drenching success:

  • Consider the light: Natural light plays a big role. Choose lighter colors for north-facing rooms and richer colors for south-facing ones.
  • Sample, sample, sample: Don’t just rely on the paint chip! Paint large swatches on your walls to see how the color interacts with your lighting and furniture.
  • Think beyond paint: Don’t be afraid to extend the color onto curtains, rugs, or even furniture for a truly immersive experience.
  • Accessorize with intention: Since your walls will be taking center stage, keep your accessories minimal and impactful. Play with textures and materials to add depth and interest.
dark-moody-academia-room
Sources: Gold Leaf Chandelier | White Cement Box | Capri Blue Candle | Pearl Jam Coffee Table Book | Trust Coffee Table Book | Brass Desk Lamp

So, are you ready to embrace the bold and beautiful world of color drenching? Remember, it’s all about experimentation and having fun! So grab your paintbrush, unleash your inner artist, and get ready to be amazed by the transformative power of color.

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Lately we’ve been covering a lot of ground in our painting series, and have covered a wide range of topics. From the best painting supplies, to how to choose the right type of paint, and how to paint walls, ceilings and trim. Before we go any further, I thought we should quickly touch on the right way to clean your paint supplies, as well as how to properly store them. Taking these little steps can help your paint supplies last a lifetime and truly make them a one-time investment.

how-to-clean-paint-brushes

If you’re like me, you probably think this is a very straightforward task and why is there even a blog post about this. I know some of you are nodding. Well not so fast…when it comes time to clean up after your paint project, there’s a right way and a wrong way to clean your paint brushes (and I bet you never knew this). Lets quickly dive into the do’s and don’ts of properly cleaning and storing your paint supplies

It’s all about timing

If you’re able to clean-up immediately following your paint job, it will be much easier to remove the paint from your supplies, as you won’t allow it the chance to harden. In the event you cannot clean-up right away, you can wrap the brush with plastic saranwrap, and you can place the paint roller and tray in a garbage bag. This will prevent air from hardening the paint, and allow you more time to properly clean your tools.

Assuming you’re able to clean your supplies following the job…

Paint brushes:

Most paint brushes can be cleaned with water alone. The most important thing to note is to NOT turn your paint brushes upside down and run water through them. The paint brushes have spacers at the base, and allowing water to penetrate these will loosen the spacers and allow the bristles to fall out over time. Always keep your bristles pointed towards the bottom of the sink and run the water from top to bottom of the brush.

How to Clean Your Paint Brushes:

  1. Remove excess paint with a paper towel first to help expedite the cleaning
  2. Run warm water from the top of the brush to the bottom. Gently massage with your hand, ensuring your getting the front, back and both sides of the brush.
  3. Use a wire paint comb to further loosen any stubborn paint from the brush. Gently brush from top to bottom as needed as you run water over both the brush and the comb.

How to Store Paint Brushes:

  1. Pat paint brush dry with a paper towel or microfiber cloth
  2. Place paint brush in it’s jacket, which will help maintain the shape of the brush
  3. Always store upright (again, preventing moisture from impacting the spacers)

How To Clean Paint Trays, Paint Cups & Rollers:

Paint tray, paint cups and roller clean-up is generally quite simple.

  1. A garden hose will easily do the job in the warmer months of the year.
  2. If you’re painting in an area without access to a garden hose, you can use warm water and dish soap to clean both tools.

How to Clean Drop cloths:

  1. Before storing a canvas or plastic drop cloth, wait for paint drips and splotches to completely dry.
  2. If necessary, canvas cloths can be machine washed in cold water and then air dried before storing.

Conclusion

That’s all there is to it! By slowing down and taking a little bit more time to clean and store your paint supplies the right way, they’ll be a one-time investment and will last you a lifetime. Happy painting!

Related Posts

The best paint supplies

How to paint a wall

How to paint ceilings

How to paint trim

Choosing the right type of paint for your project

toilet-room-design-reveal

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One of the best designs a primary bathroom can have is a separate toilet room and I’m lucky enough to have inherited one. While I immediately went to work renovating the primary bathroom within the first month of closing on the house, I’ll admit that the toilet room was an afterthought. Now with a few years behind me, I’m excited to revisit this space and add some personality to what is essentially a powder room design.

Phase 1: the Band-Aide

The renovation brought the same classic white and black floor tile into this space, but not much else. After seeing the huge impact wallpaper can have in a small space (see the powder room flip) I knew I wanted to bring some wallpaper into this space.

It looks so sad doesn’t it?! You should have seen it before the renovation. It was extra sad!

Phase 2: Stripes for Days

toilet-room-design

Farrow & Ball’s block print stripe was the perfect choice, as it fit within the existing classic design of the overall space, but added some personality with the stripes and contrasted in a fun way with the checker floor tile. I used a dark grey grout on my floors and this wallpaper has a metallic silver stripe in it – they play off each other in such a fun way!

I had this wallpaper installed almost a year to the date, and while I absolutely love it, the space was still not feeling finished. Sounds like a job for some paint, doesn’t it? The cozy tv room is the first time I’ve painted my trim something other than white, and I think it’s safe to say I’m a bit addicted at this point. This space was begging for some colored trim and I had to try my hand at a classic black.

Phase 3: Painting It Black

Initially I was planning to paint the baseboards, door and ceiling, but after starting with the baseboards I didn’t think it was necessary to change the ceiling. I kind of want the eye to stop with the wallpaper and bounce around the trim and tile.

After two coats on the baseboards and three coats on the door, I couldn’t be happier with these changes. I swapped out the boring white switch plate for a stainless steel option and upgraded the toilet paper holder to this fantastic lift arm style from Delta. I think it’s safe to say this space finally feels finished. What do you think?!

Sources:

back-entry-mood-board

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The first project I’m checking off the 2024 project list is the back entry! While this is a small area of the house, it’s the main entry point coming up from the garage and gets a lot of foot traffic. Sometimes it’s also the first impression of the house!

While this space was not originally on my radar to beautify, I’ve recently had a change of heart while enjoying myself in the cozy tv room (especially during Christmas!). For context, the back entry is the bridge between the tv room and the kitchen.

The Current Back Entry

Last year when I color drenched the tv room a dark moody grey blue, I had to make a design decision about where to stop the dark color on the door casing that adjoins the back entry. I couldn’t wrap the dark blue paint the entire way around the trim, as the back entry is a warm cream color and the trim around all three door openings is white. I also didn’t want to paint the back entry the same dark color, as I thought that would be too jarring to walk into. In hindsight I don’t think there was a right choice. The contrast between the cozy tv room and the neutral back entry is just too vast.

back-entry

The New Back Entry Plans

While I’m just starting to plan out my inspiration for the kitchen renovation (the biggest item on the 2024 project list) I can confidently say I’ll be incorporating a mix of woods, brass, beiges and creams, all of which will have a warm undertone. This is important because the back entry connects to this space.

2024-project-list-kitchen

Knowing that, I felt adding a wallpaper into the back entry that included the same dark moody grey blue, as well as some warm beiges would be the perfect bridge to the space. I’ve landed on this beautiful wallpaper by Sandberg. I love how there are two dark blues in the background of the paper, with some warm greens and pinks in the floral design. This paper will also compliment the other organic wallpaper choices I’ve made in nearby spaces like the dining room and powder room.

back-entry-style-board
Sources: Brass Light Switch Plate | Wallpaper | Light | Brass Bee

Originally, I anticipated just carrying the lead grey paint color from the cozy tv room trim into the back entry. However after the wallpaper arrived and I opened it up (it truly felt like Christmas by the way) I was so drawn to the warm greens, beiges and pinks. I’m changing my plans and am going to opt for a warm beige on the trim and possible back entry way door. I think this will compliment any direction I decide to go in the kitchen and will also be a true bridge from a dark moody room to a warm collected kitchen. I’ve used Accessible Beige by Sherwin-Williams in the past and think it’s the perfect match.

Finishing Touches

I’ll top things off with a vintage light fixture similar to the ones I’ve pinned here for inspiration. I’ve just started a search on facebook marketplace and am hoping to give new life to something old. Lastly, I’ll change out the light switch plate to a brass finish.

I’m still deciding on which color to paint the ceiling, but I know it will be changing from it’s current white to either the dark Lead Grey (cozy tv room) or Accessible Beige (the new trim color). What do you think?

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Cold nights call for warm soups, and this homemade healthy chili recipe is one of my favorite soups to make. It’s a one pot meal with clean ingredients and provides ample leftovers. Grab your favorite pot and get ready to have some cozy soup nights.

Healthy Chili Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2-3 cups beef broth
Sources: Serving Bowls

Cooking Instructions

Brown the Beef

Using a cast iron pot, cook your ground beef on medium heat until browned. Typically 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef from the pot and set aside in a separate pan.

Sauté

You’ll have leftover beef fat in the pot and we’ll use this to sauté our vegetables. Add diced onion, diced red bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, mustard powder, cumin, paprika and chili powder to the pot. Continue stirring until onions are translucent (typically 3-4 minutes).

Assemble Soup

Add cooked ground beef to the pot of vegetables and spices and stir together. Mix in canned tomatoes, beef broth and bay leaves. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Once soup begins to boil, turn heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 45 minutes, add in the can of black beans without draining. Stir thoroughly and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Garnish & Serve

Remove bay leaves from the pot and your healthy chili is ready to serve! Garnishes for this dish are optional and can quickly turn the recipe a bit unhealthy. If you want to sprinkle in some additional flavor you can never go wrong with some shredded sharp cheddar cheese or a dollop of sour cream. Serve warm and enjoy!

click for healthy chili recipe
Sources: Serving Bowls | Sage Green Linen Napkins

Other Recipes

Allison’s Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

click-for-bathroom-before-and-after

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Today we’re taking a jaunt down memory lane, as I share the one of the first things I decided to do after buying this house: a primary bathroom renovation. There’s nothing quite like biting off more than you can chew, and I can say I confidently achieved that by renovating the primary bathroom with little to no design experience. What was I thinking, you might ask?

click-for-claw-foot-tub

The Before

I wish I had more “before” photos, but I’ll do my best to fill in any gaps from the pictures I do have. The existing primary bathroom was definitely original to the house, and had not been updated (nor cleaned) since 1989. The square purple tiles in the shower and garden jacuzzi had dark grout that was not by design.

The vanity was so low I was bent over perpendicular to brush my teeth. And the shower was so narrow it was impossible to shave my legs without getting my hair wet. The jacuzzi tub also let out a fun mildew smell when you turned it on (and the water turned to brown).

The design plans

It was not a question. This space needed updated immediately. While I certainly could have made do with redesigning the space as is, I decided to take this renovation a step further by really blowing it out (literally).

The original bathroom dimensions measured 10 feet wide by 9.5 ft deep. However, as luck would have it, the primary bedroom had a long narrow closet which backed up directly to the existing bathroom. It also had a spare room on the other side of it.

Knowing this, I decided to knock down the wall in between the bathroom and original closet and create one large space for the bathroom. This would allow me to get more creative with the overall design and not be restricted on space. By knocking down the closet wall, the primary bathroom would now be 10 ft wide by 14.5 feet deep.

The color palette

One thing I’m so thankful for, is my decision to stick to a classic bathroom color palette. I went with a traditional black and white bathroom schematic, choosing a simple black and white checkered tile with dark grout. A classic white subway tile would line the shower, and brass fixtures would add in pops of color throughout the space.

The shower

 The biggest pain point in the original bathroom was how narrow the shower was. With my new added space, I designed a large walk in shower that is 6 ft wide by 5 ft deep. You can quite literally have a dance party in it, and then take a rest on the built in bench afterwards.

A beautiful glass door with a black grid adds a pop of interest to the shower space and I splurged on a complete shower system by Delta with a wand and jets. It’s in a beautiful brushed brass finish and I do not regret the splurge one bit.

The vanity

The master bathroom already had a double vanity in place and since I liked this feature, I didn’t feel the need to rearrange the room. I kept the vanity where it was originally located but swapped out the original for a new 72″ black vanity (that’s the proper height) and updated the hardware to brass pulls. A quartz countertop was the perfect stone choice for a high traffic area like a bathroom vanity and matching brass fixtures from Delta complimented the shower system directly behind the vanity.

click-for-primary-bathroom-renovation
Sources: Vanity | Mirrors | Faucets | Towel Rings | Brass Knobs | Brass Trash Basket | Floor Tile

To break up the design, I found these beautiful sconces at Anthropologie which I felt complimented the classic style of the room and I added black round mirrors above each sink. Having lived with these for several years, I’m ready to swap these out for a more rectangular mirror that works better for the space. I was on a tight budget when I did renovated this bathroom and these mirrors have worked hard for the dollars!

The tub

I’ve always wanted a clawfoot tub! This was a big part of the design and I think it fits so beautifully into the classic style of the space. I do have a handful of regrets in hindsight…

click-for-claw-foot-tub

I wish I would have chosen a tub that had white feet vs the oil rubbed bronze. While these almost look black, they are not black. So as part of a mini-refresh on this space I’ll be exploring ways I could potentially paint these a lacquered white, or even a brass.

Additionally, I wish I would’ve dared to mix metals in this space and the clawfoot tub would have been the perfect opportunity. While it’s not something I currently have planned to swap out, it’s something I’m going to learn from for the future.

Storage

The original master bathroom had the tiniest linen closet behind the entry door, so when I knocked down the original shower, I gave up that space. With the extra space adjacent to the shower, I was able to perfectly fit a gorgeous armoire from Anthropologie into this nook. This built in houses bed linens, towels, toilet paper and fun things like bath bubbles and salts.

Sources: Floor Tile | Towel Hooks | Glass Shower Door | Subway Tile | Delta Shower System | Storage Cabinet

Toilet Room

Where’s the toilet? One of the blessings of this space was having an existing toilet room! I think this is such a wonderful feature for any bathroom and am so thankful this space already had this baked in. Since the initial renovation I’ve tried to add a little more personality into the space and wallpapering the toilet room has been one of the best updates thus far.

Sources: Floor Tile | Wallpaper | Toilet Paper Holder

I’m going to take it one step further in the coming weeks and paint the trim, ceiling and door of the toilet room a pretty black color matched to the wallpaper. I think it will really pop and tie the wallpaper and tile floor together in a beautiful way. After painting the trim in the powder room and cozy room last year, I can’t stop thinking about more places to incorporate non-white trim and am so excited to try my hand with black.

Full Circle

Are there things I would do differently if I had the chance to design this space all over again? Absolutely. But am I incredibly proud of what I designed in my head and brought to life? 100%.

click-for-primary-bathroom
Sources: Floor Tile | Vanity | Brass Knobs | Delta Faucets | Towel Rings | Trash Basket | Round Mirrors | Striped Wallpaper

Stay tuned for some little updates to this space throughout the year, as well as some follow-up thoughts on what I’d do differently the second time around.

Sources

4″ x 6″ Subway Tile

Black and white floor tile

72″ Black Vanity

Light Sconces (sold out)

Round 24″ Black Vanity Mirrors

Delta Vanity Faucets

Brushed Brass Vanity Knobs

Delta Linden Towel Rings

Delta Cassidy Towel Hooks

Shower Door

Shower Faucet System

Anthropologie Black Storage Cabinet

Striped Wallpaper

Delta Pivoting Toilet Paper Holder

Brass Trash Basket

Christmas-Storage-and-Organization

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If you’re like me, Christmas decorations are magical during the weeks leading up to Christmas, but something happens shortly after December 25th. I feel like I need everything packed up in order to have a fresh start for the New Year. This year I really upgraded my Christmas décor, and that means it’s time to update my Christmas storage and organization. Follow along as I share my best tips and tricks to keep everything tidy and ready to go for next season!

Proper Christmas Storage Systems: Bins and Bags

First things first, ditch the cardboard boxes. Invest in sturdy, stackable bins or fabric bags. Clear ones let you see what’s inside (no more rummaging for the tree topper), while opaque ones are perfect for hiding sentimental treasures that might stay tucked away.

Ornaments

Christmas-Storage-and-Organization

Fragile baubles deserve a spa day, not a landfill. Line compartmentalized bins with tissue paper or bubble wrap, and nestle your ornaments inside. Pro tip: sort by theme or color for next year’s decorating breeze. Don’t have fancy bins? No worries! Repurpose cardboard egg cartons or shoeboxes – just be gentle!

For less fragile ornaments, utilize clear plastic totes with lids. If you have a lot of ornaments, create a bin for each color to stay even more organized.

Garland

hanging-garland-as-storage

No Christmas is complete without a swanky garland, but storing them can get overwhelming. Here are two genius hacks to keep your garlands gleaming:

  • Coil and Conquer: Gently coil your garland and secure it with twist ties or ribbon. Place garlands in a wreath storage bag with an interior clip for extra protection. This method is perfect for artificial garlands or those made with delicate materials.
  • Hang it High: If you have the space, hanging your garlands is a fantastic option. You can use sturdy hooks or nails in your garage, attic, or even a closet. Just be sure to cover them in fabric bags to keep dust and pests at bay.

Wreaths

christmas-storage-and-organization-wreath-bags

Wreaths add a touch of festive cheer to any door, but storing them can be tricky. Here’s a tip to keep your wreaths looking their best:

Similar to garlands, invest in heavy duty wreath bags to properly protect wreaths. Hang wreath bags on a hook to keep wreaths off the floor and prevent them from being smooshed.

Holiday Dishes

With holiday dishes usually only seeing the light of day for one month out of the year, I don’t like to waste precious kitchen real estate on them. I carefully wrap each piece of dish ware in bubble wrap and with holiday towels, then store in a large clear tote with a lid. This particular tote stays on the floor of the closet as it’s so heavy.

Christmas Tree(s)

Artificial trees? Disassemble them like a pro, wrap branches in paper or fabric, and secure them in their original box or in a heavy duty tree bag. Real tree needles? Vacuum like your life depends on it, then invest in a sturdy tree bag for next year’s shedding extravaganza.

Can you believe everything on the left fit on the right?!

Remember, Christmas storage and organization is not about perfection, it’s about sanity. This is about making next year’s decorating a joy, not a chore. So invest in the clear bins, grab some pretty labels, and spend the time organizing your items. It will make decorating for the next Christmas a truly joyful experience!

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As we turn the page to 2024, I’m sharing my predictions for the top home decor trends and interior design styles we should expect to see more and more of. These themes will spill into all facets of home, from decorating inspiration to kitchen and bathroom designs.

Based on what I’ve observed coming out of the 2024 fashion previews, as well as simply paying attention to common themes I’m noticing across social media, I feel confident sharing these predictions for the coming year. And let me just say, I’m not mad about any of them! In fact, I feel this just might be my year, as many of these truly resonate with my own style. Without further ado, lets get to it!

Prediction #1: Color

benjamin-moore-paint
Image Source: Benjamin Moore

When I say color, I mean COLOR. Get ready for bold and rich hues of blues, reds, greens and yellows. Green made a big splash last year, and I think we’ll continue to see it stick around, but get ready to see more reds. Specifically, I’ve been noticing an earthy, brown hue of red popping up more and more. It’s a bold choice, but when done correctly it’s high impact.

Prediction #2: The return of Chrome & Nickel

2024-design-predictions-polished-nickel

Brass fixtures have been reigning supreme over the past several years, and while brass certainly isn’t going anywhere, you should expect to see more and more silver tones coming into the fold this season. We’re seeing this in fashion and I think it’s time for the cycle of home finishes to start to slightly shift. Expect to see more and more mixed metals as part of many interior designs.

Prediction #3: EXTRA!

2024-Home-Decor-and-Design-Trend-Predictions

The days of minimalism and white boxes for rooms is gone. Get ready to swing hard in the other direction with a new trend of maximalism. Think layered textures, bold colors and a truly collected space.

Prediction #4: High Gloss

full-gloss-painted-door-and-trim
High gloss trim is here to stay

We’re seeing the return of patent leather in fashion and I expect to see this trend translate into home design through high gloss finishes. This could be with high gloss paint or even more mirrored backsplashes. Expect to see some shine in 2024!

Prediction #5: Pattern

2024-Home-Decor-and-Design-Trend-Predictions

Pattern has made its way back into the fold via the comeback of wallpaper of the past few years (more on that below) but expect to see more and more of it. Patterned drapes and even pattern coming back on furniture. I anticipate seeing pattern on pattern as well, whether a patterned sofa in a wallpapered room or a juxtaposition of geometric prints against floral designs. While this could leave some of us that lived through the late 80’s and 90’s a little shook, I encourage you to get excited. I think there is a tasteful way to do this and I’m excited to see how this trend emerges with a new spin!

Prediction #6: Wallpaper to the max!

rebel-walls-wallpaper
Image Source: Rebel Walls

Spilling off the theme of pattern, wallpaper is here to stay. We’ve seen it making a slow comeback over the past few years leading as a solution to add texture into rooms and then finally incorporating pattern. Get ready to see it make a big splash this year, and watch people get bolder with it. I’ve been seeing more and more wallpaper on the ceilings and its been quite fun.

Prediction #7: More natural woodwork

Image Source: Zillow

This past year we started to see the return of wood cabinetry and I expect that trend to continue into 2024. Along the overall theme of rich colors, I think we’ll start to see some rich and warm wood tones come back into the fold via cabinetry, furniture and even trim.

Prediction #8: Secondhand + upcycling

antique-hutch-and-china
My blue hutch above was sourced from facebook marketplace

This should come as no surprise but expect to see more and more people embracing giving new life to old items. Whether sourced through Facebook marketplace, estate sales or thrift stores, the trend to shop used vs buy new is here to stay.

Prediction #9: Less Trends

How exciting is this one? I hope I’m right about this. I think we’ll start to see more of an “anything goes” mentality to design, as long as it’s in good taste.

Prediction #10: The re-invention of Traditional

traditional-dining-room
Photo of my traditional dining room set for Thanksgiving

I’ve seen more and more traditional design over the past year and I believe that is here to stay, but with a little twist. Expect to see a reimagination of traditional design this year, and unique spins on what tradition means to each person.

In Conclusion: 2024 Home Decor and Design Trend Predictions

While these are my personal predictions for the year, I truly hope I’m right about all of them! I am ready to see more styling, textures, colors and pattern across interior design, and truly believe a home is collected not decorated. Your home is a representation of you, and I don’t know anyone who is a plain white box.

What do you think about these design predictions? Is there anything you would add? Take away? What are you most excited about? 

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These homemade cinnamon rolls are soft, fluffy and are topped with a gooey cream cheese icing. They rival a Cinnabon and for good reason: I spent months tweaking and perfecting the recipe. Through some trial and error, I’m happy to share the final recipe with you today, as well as some tips and tricks that will help ensure they turn out perfect.

click-for-homemade-cinnamon-roll-recipe

Ingredients:

For the dough:

1 packet (1 Tablespoon) active yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup whole milk (heated to 110 degrees F)

½ cup sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs (room temperature)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

4 ½ cups bread flour

For the filling:

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup sugar

2.5 Tablespoons cinnamon

1 Tablespoon regular white flour

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)

For the frosting:

2 oz cream cheese

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Cup powdered sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

Some tips from the test kitchen:

Before we get started, I want to share some tips that I’ve uncovered through trial and error. I’ll preface by saying this is very much a science project, so if it’s listed a certain way, I encourage you to follow the instructions and not make substitutions.

Tip 1: Bread Flour

I initially tried this recipe with regular flour and I will say, bread flour makes all the difference. It makes the rolls less dense, and gives them that fluffy and moist texture that we all desire. Spring for the bread flour.

Tip 2: temperature matters

Listed above in the ingredient sections are two important notes about the temperature of two ingredients. Eggs: make sure these are room temperature. Milk: heat this in the microwave for a minute or until it reaches 110 degrees F. This will make for a bettering proofing process with the yeast.

Tip 3: the filling

We’ll get to this in the instructions below, but I want to call out two important items when it comes to your cinnamon roll filling.

  1. Including 1 Tablespoon of flour in this mixture will help it bond with the rolls rather than fall to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Brush your butter onto the dough. While you can certainly mix the butter into the overall filling mixture, I find that brushing it directly onto the dough helps everything stick. It’s like a primer for your dough!

Instructions:

Proofing Yeast

  1. In the bottom of a mixing bowl, add one packet of active yeast (or 1 Tablespoon), 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 cup of whole milk heated to 110 degrees F
  2. Stir these ingredients together in the mixing bowl with a spoon
  3. Let rest for 10 minutes
  4. If your yeast properly proofed, it will have small bubbles in it and will have expanded in the bowl.

Creating the dough

  1. Add the following to the mixing bowl with your proofed yeast:
    • 2 room temperature eggs
    • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon salt
  2. Mix the above ingredients with a whisk attachment until blended.
  3. Once blended add 4.5 cups of bread flour.
  4. Mix using a dough hook attachment until fully blended. When the dough is blended properly, it will form into a ball with the dough hook and the sides of your mixing bowl will be nearly clean. This is the sign of great dough!

Let The Dough Rise

  1. Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased mixing bowl
  2. Cover with saran wrap and place two additional dish towels over the top and sides of the mixing bowl. We want to keep air out, and keep moisture in to allow for the dough to rise.
  3. An extra trick I like to do which promotes great rising is to place this bowl and towels on top of a heat vent.
  4. Allow dough to rise for 2 hours

Create the cinnamon roll filling mixture

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients:
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 2.5 Tablespoons cinnamon
    • 1 Tablespoon regular white flour
  2. In a separate dish, melt 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter and set aside. I’d suggest doing this after your dough is done rising.

Creating the Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Once dough has risen (it will have doubled in size) remove from bowl and place on a greased surface. I like to spray some olive oil spray or Pam on my surface
  2. Spend a couple of minutes working with the dough – both kneading it and punching it.The goal is to get all of the air bubbles out of it
  3. Begin rolling your dough into a rectangular shape of 12” high x 24” long
  4. Once a rectangle is formed, paint the melted butter onto your dough with a brush
  5. With your hands or a spoon, sprinkle the cinnamon roll filling mixture across your buttered dough until the mixture is gone

Roll up!

  1. Place your fingers under the bottom side of your rectangle and gently lift the edge from the surface.
  2. Starting with a hand on each edge, roll your rectangle tightly.
  3. Continue rolling dough until it’s formed one long roll.

Cutting the rolls

  1. Using a ruler, make an incision in the dough log every 2 inches
  2. If you’ve properly measured this, you’ll end up with twelve rolls total
  3. Place nine rolls in a 9” x 13” baking dish
  4. Place the remaining three rolls in a bread pan (or if you cut an extra roll place four in an 8”x8” baking dish)

Rising Round 2

  1. Cover both baking dishes with saran wrap and dish towels
  2. Place back over a heated vent for at least another hour
  3. The rolls will expand and rise, doubling and almost tripling in size

Baking

  1. Bake cinnamon rolls at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes on the center rack
  2. Once rolls show any sign of browning on the edges it’s time to remove them from the oven
  3. Place pan on a wire rack to cool

Note: As each oven is a little different, I’d suggest setting a timer for 17 minutes the first time you make these, and see how far along your rolls are.

Cream cheese Frosting

  1. Whip together:
    • 2 Tablespoons softened unsalted butter
    • 2 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  2. Once blended, add 1 Cup powdered sugar and mix until combined.

Frost cinnamon rolls and serve warm!

click-for-homemade-cinnamon-roll-recipe

If you’re enjoying these beyond the first day, I find warming them up in the microwave for 20 seconds makes them taste like they’re right out of the oven!

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There are two types of people in this world: those who are excited to buy gifts for others and those who don’t know where to start. I fall into the former category myself, which is why it’s so fun for me to put together holiday gift guides. Whether you need one more item to finish your shopping for the year, or you haven’t even started yet, don’t worry. My 2023 holiday gift guide has you covered!

2023 Holiday Gift Guide

Teenage Girl

teenage-girl-gift-guide-2023

The Ultimate Drawing Set: for the budding artist

Stanley Thermos: the “it” mug in the “it” color

LuluLemon Crossbody: so chic

Glam Station: every girl needs one!

Revlon 2-in-1 hairdryer styling brush: she’ll feel like she just left the salon

Teenage Boy

teenage-boy-gift-guide-2023

Carbon Fiber Wallet: protect his identity while looking cool

Victrola Record Player: what’s old is new again

Virtual Reality Set: it’s another universe

Star Projector: his room will be the coolest

Electric Scooter: no license, no problem

For Dad

dad-gift-guide-2023

Hyperice Heat massaging Patch: perfect for lower back pain and sore muscles

Personalized leather tote bag: stylish and from a small business

Book of Dad Jokes: buy at your own risk

Smart Phone Magnifier: this is a projector that magnifies his smart phone

Stadium Blueprints: so many stadiums available! Pick his favorite and have it framed for him.

For Mom

mom-gift-guide-2023

For the Bird Lover: A Smart Bird House with built-in camera

Glass Trinket Box: fill this with family photos

Luxurious Hand Cream: so important during winter

Warmies: slippers you can warm up in the microwave and they smell like lavender

Personalized Book: fill in your memories for her

Significant Other: To Him

for-him-gift-guide-2023

3 burner Camping Stove: for the adventure seeker

Cozy UGG Slippers: warm and stylish

A Smart Mug: may his coffee never be cold

Grooming Tools by Manscaped: The Lawn Mower + the Weed Wacker

Theragun Massage Gun: for his sore muscles

Significant Other: To Her

for-her-gift-guide-2023

Fuzzy Slippers: memory foam criss cross faux fur slippers. So cute!

A silk pillowcase: her skin will thank you

Ninja Ice cream & gelato maker: a treat for her and for you!

Lounge Set: these are the softest and the prettiest!

Herringbone Italian Throw: pick her favorite color – this one’s a keeper!

Stocking Stuffers

stocking-stuffer-gift-guide-2023

Drum Stick Pens: for your teenager or adult who still acts like a teenager

Apple Air Tags: throw them in your luggage, on your keychain or anything else you’re always losing

The Birdie: a personal alarm that attaches to your keychain. Every teenager needs one!

JBL Portable Mini Speaker: take those tunes anywhere!

Karaoke Bluetooth Mics: one for me and one for you. Watch out Beyonce.

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how-to-hang-garland-on-mantel-drilling

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Last week, I shared I upgraded my holiday garland this year and I took you along for the ride on how I styled my staircase with the Norfolk pine real touch garland. We’re going to keep the garland theme and move onto the fireplace mantles. That’s right, fireplace mantles as in more than one! Since I’m lucky enough to have two mantles, I decided it might be fun to try two different techniques for hanging garland on the mantel. Today we’re going to focus on a symmetrical draped look in the cozy tv den.

If you’re new here, you might have missed the massive transformation this room has gone through. We went from a band aide to a full on color drench in a dark blue grey, and this room is just begging for Christmas decorations. Since it’s now such a dark space, we are going to go a little “extra” in here this year, and sprinkle in several different layers of lights.

hemlock-pine-pre-lit-garland-two-pieces

In the past, I’ve set my garland on top of the mantel, hung stockings on the sides and middle, and called it a day. This year, I felt I could do better. I spent quite a bit of time in November browsing garlands, and I stopped my scroll when I found Crate & Barrel’s faux hemlock pine pre-lit garland. It’s a fuller garland, and drapes beautifully, plus it has battery packs that can operate on a timer. I was able to go into the store to see it in person and it was just as beautiful as it was online.

Anchoring with Cup Hooks

With the size of my specific fireplace and mantel, two of these 74” garlands was just perfect to achieve the look I wanted. Since the garland is extremely heavy, I did not want to rely on command hooks. I also didn’t want to run the risk of the command hooks peeling off the paint on my shelving.

Luckily, since this is a 90’s house, my mantel is made out of wood which means I can easily drill into it. I decided to use 7/8 inch matte brass cup hooks for this and drilled on the inside lip of the mantel, disguising the visibility of the holes. I placed a hook four inches from both ends of the mantel and placed a third in the center.

Adjusting with Zip Ties

Placing a zip tie halfway up one piece of garland, I hooked it on one edge of the mantel. From there, I hooked it onto the center hook. I repeated this on the other side, and with some adjusting of the zip ties, I had a romantic look with minimal effort.

After the holidays wrap, I’ll unscrew the cup hooks and store them for the following year, and no one will know there was ever a hook there in the first place. What do you think about hanging garland on the mantel this way? I love the look of it, and can also rest easy knowing these hooks are tightly secured, and my garland is safe.

how-to-hang-garland-on-mantel-drilling

Tools for this project:

supplies-for-project

Faux Hemlock Pine Pre-lit Garland

Drill

Tape measure

7/8 inch cup hooks

Zip ties

Sharpie

Wire Cutters

how-to-layer-garland-on-the-mantel

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What’s better than decorating your mantel for Christmas? Decorating two mantels! Yes that’s right, I am lucky enough to have two working fireplaces in this house, which was one of things that hooked me from the beginning. Last week, I shared my symmetrical draped look in the cozy tv den. To keep things interesting, I decided to try my design skills at an asymmetrical look for my second fireplace. My goal was to layer the garland and create a whimsical and effortless look.

how-to-layer-garland

In the past, I’ve set my garland on top of the mantel, and didn’t really change much of the other décor out. This year, I knew I could up the ante and have been pinning ideas for months. Since my living room flows right off the main hallway, I thought it would make for a holistic design to continue the Norfolk real touch pine garland which I used on the staircase, into this room. The living room also gets a significant amount of light, and with a flocked tree in the corner, I didn’t think we needed to illuminate the mantel as well. Sometimes simple is better!

Follow along for a step-by-step tutorial of how to layer garland on the mantel, and some of the tricks I implemented along the way.

How To Layer Garland on the Mantel

Anchoring with Command Cord Bundlers

When I installed the hemlock pine garland in the cozy den, I chose to drill into the wood mantel and install cup hooks (a full tutorial is coming soon!). While this mantel is also wood, I wanted to try using command hooks first before drilling.

I purchased four Command Cord Bundlers from Amazon, which is what I needed to get the job done – this mantel is huge!

cord-bundlers

Prepare the surface

Before you start peeling and sticking, it’s important to prepare your surface. The three most important steps to follow are:

  1. Wipe your mantel with water and a rag. Do not use cleaning solution, as this will weaken the bond of the adhesive on the command strips.
  2. Use denatured rubbing alcohol and wipe the cleaned surface. This will ensure the surface is ready to bond.
  3. Turn OFF your fireplace. That’s right – if your fireplace is on, it won’t allow the adhesive to properly dry. Keep the fireplace off until at least 24 hours after installation.

Place your cord bundlers

Your garland design will dictate how you space out your command bundlers. Are you creating a symmetrical design? Then place the command strips evenly. Are you adding extra garland on one side of the mantel (or both?)? Double up the command strips in those areas to help even the weight.

Place your cord bundlers onto the cleaned mantel and press firmly on top. Wait 1-2 hours to allow for proper bonding time before hanging your garland.

Use a base garland

A little secret from the design world: use a less expensive base garland to start. It’s like a little petticoat. No one needs to know what’s underneath, but it will fill all the gaps for you. I chose to set my base garland right on top of the mantel and it covered the cord bundlers. This is a great economical garland to use as a base if you don’t already have one.

Layer Garland on the Mantel

For this look, I used 4 of the 5 foot Norfolk Pine real touch garlands. I started at one end of the mantel, bundling with the cord bundles as I went, and kept hanging the garland on the mantel from there. Layering with some overlap was essential to achieve a fluid look. Two pieces covered the entire front of the mantel. From there, I used the last two pieces to drape in a dramatic fashion on the right side of the mantel.

secure-garland

Wire the garland

To avoid gaps, it’s best to use some floral wire and gently tie the garland that overlaps together. Things will adjust over time and this will help avoid any gaps in between your pieces.

how-to-layer-garland-on-the-mantel

Adjust strands

Fluff the garland, move some pieces or even layer in some additional stems to hide the command bundles, floral wire and anything else that may be unsightly. This 50 pack of faux pine stems is a great option!

Balance the mantle

This will depend on your overall design, but because I went for an asymmetrical look, I needed to balance the other side of the mantel with some additional décor. I opted for two cream knit stockings from Anthropologie. On top of the mantel, I left my four vintage candlesticks and the picture of my grandparents in a gold frame with large cream matte. I added a couple more brass candlesticks to the right side just to fill the space above.

click-for-anthropologie-stockings
how-to-layer-garland-on-the-mantel
christmas-garland-on-fireplace

The final look captures the whimsical and effortless look I set out to achieve! For my first year hanging garland on the mantel, I’m so pleased with how everything turned out. What do you think? How do you decorate your mantel? Drop me a comment below and let me know!

Sources for this project:

Norfolk Pine Real Touch Garland (4 pieces)

Command Strip Cord Bundlers

Floral Wire

Cream knit stockings

Gold frame with matte 4”x6” photo

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If you’ve been following along, it will come to no surprise to you that I’ve decided to reward myself with some new holiday garland this year. After enduring the messiest renovation with new hardwood floors and a new staircase to boot, I’m ready to show it all off. I decided to splurge on Afloral’s Norfolk Pine real touch garland and it does not disappoint. Follow along as I share my method for how to hang garland on a staircase.

Step 1: Measure

Before you open up your wallet (or browser) you need to decide how much garland you’ll likely need. This will also depend on how you hope to hang it. Do you want long drapey loops or do you plan to wrap it around the banister. What about the newel post, or posts? Are you wrapping those as well? Take time to measure your staircase and add a little extra to be safe.

Personally, I knew I wanted to simple whimsical look, and wanted my garland to be in swoops. With a banister measuring 9 feet, plus an extra 4 feet of railing on the landing above, I opted for two 15 foot pieces off the Norfolk garland. This will allow for draping and a little overage.

Step 2: What type of Garland? Full or Thin?

Right alongside measuring is deciding what kind of fullness you want your garland to have. Do you want a fuller garland or a dramatic one? Keep in mind that many of the pictures you see online or in catalogues are really multiple garlands layered. If you want a fuller look, you may need to double your original calculation. Do you want lit garland or unlit? Is your staircase near an outlet? Run through these questions before you start browsing,

Again, I wanted a whimsical, romantic and dramatic look. For the first year, I’m going to stick with a single layer and see how it goes. As this is an investment for me, I can always build upon it in years to come if I decide I want a fuller look. And unfortunately, my outlets are not in a convenient spot in relation to the staircase, so we’ll be moving forward with an unlit staircase for the time being.

Step 3: Placement

It’s time to place your garland! Start at either the top or the bottom and properly anchor your first piece to the banister. I’m opting to use clear zip ties, but you can also use green pipe-cleaners.

Once you’ve anchored your first piece, its time to decide when to drape or wrap your garland. The way I’ve decided to do it is by counting steps and then dividing. From my 9 foot banister, I have 12 steps from the bottom to the top. Since I want a dramatic look, I’m going to do a long drape. I’ll drape the garland every 4 stairs, which will leave me with 3 big loops.

Step 4: Newel Posts

Generally, you should plan to double up your garland around the newel post. I have an extra 5 foot garland that I’ll be tying onto the base of my last piece, which will help create a fuller look at the bottom.

Step 5: Put a bow on it!

Or something else! Deck your garland out with long velvet ribbon, dried oranges, a string of bells or something else of your liking. My mom used to place crystal ornaments throughout hers and when the garland was lit it made such a pretty twinkle.

I ordered some burgundy and khaki velvet ribbon from amazon and created long bows for my garland. I ran a piece of floral wire into the back of the bow and then secured this to my zip ties on the banister. When it’s time to take it all down, I’ll leave the floral wire attached for next year!

Step 6: The bells and whistles

As an extra touch, I’m stringing some pretty bells at the base of the garland, which is at the newel post. They add an extra layer of visual interest and help keep the eye moving. Plus, they have a layer of nostalgia to them!

how-to-hang-garland-on-staircase

I’m so happy with my new garland, and while it was an investment, I know I’ll enjoy this timeless look for years to come. I might even continue to build on it! The look is simple and effortless and provides such a warm greeting upon entering the front door. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

click-to-learn-how-to-hang-christmas-garland-on-staircase

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happy-thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving! As I’ve gotten older, Thanksgiving has inched its way to the top of the list as my favorite holiday. I love having the opportunity to spend quality time with my family and being able genuinely enjoy the long weekend. It feels slow, intentional, and warm.

This year has been difficult in many ways. Most notably it’s been filled with quite a bit of loss. As I reflect on this, I can’t help but be reminded by something someone once said to me. At my previous job, my boss at the time unexpectedly lost his mother right before the holiday season. It was awful. When I called him to share my condolences, he said his father once told him: “When you experience loss, you should count all of the things you do have.” It was something so simple yet so profound.

So, I want to take this opportunity to share the things I do have, and be intentional about cherishing them. I challenge you to do the same. Extra points if they’re things money can’t buy!

My Parents

Always at the top of my list, I’m so grateful and thankful for my wonderful parents. Growing up, I thought everyone’s family was just like mine (because most of them in my hometown were!) but as I’ve left the nest and stepped into other people’s lives, I realize how lucky I am to have parents like mine. They are my biggest cheerleaders and are such an inspiration to me. Both as individuals and as a model relationship.

My Family

Up until this year I still had three grandparents, and I realize what a rarity that is this late in life. As life goes, I unfortunately lost both grandmothers this year, leaving me with one remaining grandfather. Even though you know it’s coming, it doesn’t make it any easier. I’m thankful for all the wonderful memories I have with each grandparent. When I see certain things, or smell certain smells, I’ll always be reminded of them. And of course, I’m especially thankful for my remaining grandfather, Poppa Eddie as well as all of my amazing Aunts, Uncles and cousins.

Community

I’ve been blessed to have an incredible community of friends both near and far. It’s so important to know you can always count on someone when you need them. When I think about it, I need more than two hands to count the number of people that I know I can truly count on. How lucky am I?! Having a friend I can just sit still with, or a friend I know I can confide in with absolute trust is one of the most valuable things in life.

This Project!

If you know me personally, you likely know I’ve always loved design. Unfortunately, it’s not what I’m currently doing for a living, but I started this website and this brand as a way of dipping my toe into the design world. The sense of purpose this has given me, and the amazing community of like-minded people I’ve found in such a short time has been overwhelming and unexpected. This has been something I’ve thought about doing for years, and self-doubt has stopped me time and time again. I’m so glad I finally mustered up the courage to just go for it.

YOU

Lastly, if you made it this far, I want to say I’m thankful for YOU! Thank you for taking an interest in this project. Every comment, every like, every share, every follow – they all truly mean the most to me. I hope to continue to give back to you in the coming months and years. Whether it’s through education, inspiration, or just plain entertainment. Thank you for following along and all your support. I couldn’t do this without you!

Just for giggles…

In good fun, I’ll share I’m extra thankful to be done hand scraping 3,000+ square feet of popcorn ceilings. I’m also thankful I’m not living through a hardwood flooring renovation. I’m looking forward to some less dusty renovations for 2024 (more on that soon!).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family. Remember to take a moment to tell the people in your life how much you love them. And if you get a quiet moment to yourself, I hope you’ll think about all the things you have that money can’t buy.

how-to-clean-leather-furniture-before-after

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Today I’m sharing something I wish I would have done years ago: protecting my leather sofa. My beautiful camel colored leather couch from West Elm was delivered the week I closed on my house and unfortunately there was so much chaos that I never got around to properly protecting it. Had I done so, I would have been able to prevent sun damage as well as general wear and tear from everyday use. Luckily, it’s still in decent shape, and by learning how to properly clean and condition leather furniture, I’ve been able to bring it back to life.

Before vs After (no photo editing)

Follow along as I guide you through a quick and easy tutorial on how to clean and condition leather furniture using a leather cleaning and conditioning kit. This is an important step in keeping your leather furniture looking and feeling its best, and it’s something that should be done regularly.

Why is it important to clean and condition leather furniture?

Leather is a natural material that can become dry and cracked over time, especially if it’s not properly cared for. Cleaning and conditioning your leather furniture helps to remove dirt and grime, and it also helps to keep the leather hydrated and supple. This will help to prevent the leather from cracking and peeling, and it will also help to keep it looking its best.

Before cleaning and conditioning: The leather couch is quite worn down and weathered, with scuffs.

How often should you clean and condition leather furniture?

How often you need to clean and condition your leather furniture will depend on a few factors, such as how much use it gets and how dusty your home is. In general, it’s a good idea to clean and condition your leather furniture every 3-6 months.

What you’ll need:

leather-cleaning-kit

Instructions:

Step 1: Vacuum

Remove all cushions from your furniture (seating and backrest cushions) and set aside. Using your vacuum hose extension, vacuum on the base as well as in all crevices and seams. We don’t want to put our clean cushions back in the dirt!

Step 2: Apply cleaning solution to cushions

Shake the cleaning solution well, and spray 2-3 pumps directly onto your microfiber cloth. Gently wipe along the tops and sides of each cushion, making sure to get in between any piping and seams. The effort you put into this step, will ensure the conditioner properly sets into the leather during the next step.

Clean cushions one at a time, and set aside to dry. Generally 30-60 minutes of drying time is sufficient.

Step 3: Condition

Apply three lines of leather conditioning treatment to a new microfiber cloth. Gently massage onto the cushion, using circular motions. Work across the entire top side of the cushion, and then move along to the sides and seams.

Set each cushion aside to thoroughly dry.

Step 4: Condition again!

If this is the first time you’re treating your leather furniture, I’d recommend a second set of conditioning. Repeat the above steps, and allow cushions to dry for 2 full hours before placing back onto the frame of the sofa.

leather-couch-cleaning-after
After cleaning and conditioning: Couch is restored to be more supple and scuffs are less visible after.

Step 5: Treat the couch frame

While your cushions are drying, we’ll repeat the same steps above to the frame of the couch. Work along the outside and inside of the arm rests, the back of the couch and also along the bottom front.

Repeat each step above.

Step 6: Assemble couch

After two hours of drying time, you can place your cushions back onto your couch. I would recommend waiting at least 24 hours before putting pillows, throws, etc. back onto any surface. This will ensure everything has had a chance to set in and do its job.

leather-couch-after-cleaning

Conclusion

how-to-clean-leather-furniture-before-after

Learning how to clean and condition your leather furniture is an important step in keeping it looking and feeling its best. By following the simple steps above, my camel colored leather couch is buttery soft and will last me for years to come. If you have leather furniture, trust me that it’s worth the small investment in a leather cleaning kit to protect your bigger investment.

diy-autumn-centerpiece

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With all the updates to the house this year, especially the floors and staircase, I decided this would be the year I would splurge on some new holiday garland. Ever since last year, I have been eyeing the Norfolk Pine garland and I finally decided to “add to cart” this holiday. I’ll admit, it was a bit pricey. To stretch out the enjoyment from my investment, I decided to repurpose some of the garland and create a DIY autumn centerpiece for my Thanksgiving table.

diy-autumn-centerpiece

My goal of this project was to keep it relatively low cost, so many of the items you’ll see in this tutorial have been scavenged one way or another! Ha! With that being said, I think you can easily substitute your own elements into this project to make it suit both your style and your budget.

Here’s everything I used to create my DIY Autumn Centerpiece:

  1. Long strand of garland. I purchased the Norfolk pine garland and love the realistic look and texture of it. While it’s definitely an investment, I plan on using this for the rest of my life.
  2. Magnolia leaves. I was able to pluck some from a nearby tree for free!
  3. 2-3 oranges
  4. Brass candlestick holders and taper candles. I picked up several vintage brass candlestick holders of varying heights at my local antique store.
  5. Additional candles. To plus up the autumn theme, I layered in these pine cone candles from Crate & Barrel. There’s also a wonderful battery alternative on Amazon and they look like they have a hint of gold to them!

Again, feel free to mix and match different items that fit your style and scheme. Now that we have our supplies, lets get to work assembling the autumn centerpiece!

Prepare the Dried Oranges

We’re going to make the dried oranges via the oven. It’s a very simple process but you will need to be available to flip the orange slices every 30 minutes for several hours.

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  2. Thinly slice 2-3 oranges. I used 2 oranges for this piece.
  3. Place oranges on parchment paper on a baking sheet
  4. Bake for 2-3 hours, turning every 30 minutes. I ended up doing 3 hours, as my oranges were juicer than expected.

Your house will smell amazing! I personally think it smelled like butter!

Place the garland

Add your garland to the center of the table. Mine was a fuller piece, so if you prefer this look, you may want to layer 2-3 pieces of garland to achieve this look. Play around with it and have fun! You can always start over, add or remove as you keep going.

Layer the Magnolia leaves

Once you have your magnolia leaves, wipe them off or wash them to ensure you’re not bringing bugs or dirt into your home (and onto your table!). Weave them into the garland, placing them underneath, in between and on top. Alternate sides of the garland as you work your way from end to end. I chose to place my leaves brown side up, as I really like the contrast and I think it adds a nice autumn color palette to the table.

Bring on the brass!

As I mentioned above, I was able to find quite a haul of brass candlestick holders at my local antique store. This is a more cost effective alternative to buying new, if you don’t already own some. Look for varying heights and shapes, as it will add visual interest to your arrangement. When it came time to add the actual candles, I chose to keep it simple with long white taper candles.

Some brass candle stick ideas if you want to buy new:

Layer in additional candles

To further the autumn theme, I added in these cute pine cone candles throughout the centerpiece. These come in three sizes and are so cute! If you’d like a battery alternative, which will last you a lifetime, these are a great option!

pine-cone-candle-click-to-shop

Place your Oranges

Once your orange slices are properly dried out and cooled, layer them throughout the garland. This does not need to be complicated. Simply place them down the table, alternating sides of the garland.

Closing Thoughts

I truly did not know what to expect with this project, but I’m so glad I gave this DIY autumn centerpiece a try! Being able to extend the enjoyment of my new holiday garland, makes me feel better about the investment I made. I love that I was able to transition it into an autumn theme at a relatively low cost, and will be able to enjoy it for years to come!

diy-autumn-centerpiece-full

Tell me: what would you put in your DIY autumn centerpiece?

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dining-room-reveal

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Alright, so I’m taking the excitement I had to share the dining room progress report with you and I’m going to multiply that by ten for the dining room reveal!!! Are you ready for it? I am. I was beyond excited about how transformative the Cole & Son’s wallpaper was for this space, and we really kicked things up a notch with the Talia bubble chandelier from Visual Comfort. The room was really turning into the crown jewel of this house.

dining-room-reveal

While all of that was amazing, these big changes really began to amplify that the dining room set needed a change. Or needed to be removed and replaced. You’ll recall during my dining room progress report that I just couldn’t stomach the idea of buying a new table that was going to be incredibly expensive and also very well likely not real wood. So even though this dining room transformation started out in a very non-DIY way, we’re going to roll up our sleeves for the finish line.

Table Transformation

I’ll admit it, I was incredibly nervous to refinish this table. I have limited experience with refinishing anything besides trim work, and I have absolutely no experience with wood stain. And although this dining table weighs a ton, I also wasn’t fully convinced every single piece of it was real wood (here’s looking at you, legs). So I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I knew I was biting off a big project with the deadline of Thanksgiving looming.

After some extensive internet sleuthing, I decided to try Retique It in the Pecan finish. Do not ask me how this stuff works, but let me just tell you: it works. With some light sanding, a bit of patience and a lot of trust, I transformed my black dining room table into a beautiful soft wood table. It seriously looks like it was custom built for this space!

click-for-refinished-dining-room-table

If you’re curious about the process to get here, you can check out my full tutorial and tips here.

Finishing Touches

I rounded out the dining room table with some antique bentwood chairs I found on facebook marketplace (at an amazing price). I love how understated they are, as there is already so much to look at in this space. Can you believe the original blue seat covering matches the wallpaper exactly? What are the odds! I’m still on the hunt for two more chairs to add to each end of the table, but am in no hurry as I have some substitute chairs I can use as needed. If I’ve learned anything over the past several years, it’s that it’s better to wait for the right thing than rush into something that you know doesn’t work.

antique-bentwood-chair

The blue sideboard, which I had previously and is also from facebook marketplace, tucks nicely into the corner. It is the perfect little trophy case for some very special family keepsakes from both grandmothers (and from their grandmothers!). I love being able to look at these pieces and think of them. Eventually I plan to hang a mirror above this but I’m in no rush to put holes in this wallpaper.

blue-antique-hutch

Before, Halfway + After

dining-room-before-photo
click-for-new-dining-room-design-plans
dining-room-wallpaper-chandelier
dining-room-reveal
dining-room-reveal
dining-room-reveal

Future plans

After transforming the dining room table to the pecan finish, I do think there’s a bit much of wood on wood on wood, so I’ll be on the hunt for a rug to create some separation. Perhaps something clean with a light line or simple geometric pattern could play nicely with the floral wallpaper.

Nearing the end of the year, I’m beginning to shift focus to 2024, and have started a short list of projects both big and small I hope to complete for the house in general. One of those things is adding some millwork throughout the house and the dining room is one of those spaces. I think adding some custom trim to the lower half of the walls would really make sense for the style of this room. For now, it’s an idea living in my head, but don’t be surprised if you see an update about this next year!

The past few years open concept floors plans have been all the rage, but I’ll always be on Team Dining Room. I love the idea of defined rooms that can have their own personality and special set of memories. For me and this particular space, that includes hosting family and gathering around delicious food. I’m so thankful we have such a special place to make those kinds of memories in.

how-i-transformed-my-dining-room-table-from-black-to-wood-for-less-than-$100

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The dining room flip has been one of my most exciting projects to date in this house, however I truly reached a sticking point when it came time to make decisions about the furniture. If you remember, I got a bit tripped up with the design plans for the dining room because of this black dining room table. I loved the table itself, but the black finish didn’t fit the style of the new dining room, nor would it go anywhere else in the house. Rather than buy new, I wanted to see how I could transform my existing dining room table.

I’ve always loved the look of a pecan dining room table, but they can be so expensive! So when I heard about Retique It, I was intrigued and started thinking about the idea of transforming my black dining room table to a pecan finish rather than buy new. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous at first, but the process was actually really easy and I was amazed by the results.

If you’re not familiar, Retique It is a product that includes actual wood fibers and allows you to refinish furniture without the need for sanding. It’s available in a variety of wood finishes ranging from light to dark, and also comes with a graining kit. What’s even better, it’s is non-toxic and water-based, and also has a low VOC content. This means it emits very few volatile organic compounds into the air making it safe for use around children and pets.

After even more online research about the product, I opted to buy the Retique It Table Top kit from Amazon. This kit included everything I needed for the project and also came with very clear instructions, as well as links to watch more online videos. I strongly recommend you determine how much coverage you need and order the corresponding kit. I ended up needing 16 oz of the Wood’n Primer to coat my table three times (more on that below).

retique-it-table-top-kit-pecan

Here’s how I transformed my dining room table:

Step 1: Clean Your Surface

Wipe your surface with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris. Go over it a second time using either Dawn dish soap, Krud Kutter or denatured alcohol + water. The instructions for this product were very clear not to use products with TSP, as this will prevent the wood based coating from adhering properly.

Step 2: Lightly sand or scuff

While the promise of Retique It includes no sanding, I was working with a pretty lacquered surface. I decided to give it a light sand just to be sure the product would properly adhere. I went over all surfaces (top, sides, legs, edges) with 220 grit sandpaper, then wiped down again with another round of Dawn dish soap.

Step 3: Prime Time

I opted to order the table kit, which came with Retique It’s own paint brush. This brush is designed to create a slight wood grain, so while I have plenty of my own paint brushes I went ahead and used what was provided in the kit. I started with the Wood’n Primer that was included in the kit and painted a thin surface on all areas of the table. My recommendation would be to go light on this step, as you can always go over it again with another coat. With the first coat application, you can make shorter brush strokes and just focus on getting all areas covered. Let each coat dry at least two hours.

Since my table was black, I decided to put not one, but two more coats on the table. During your last coat of Wood’n Primer, work in smaller plank sized sections and apply the product with long brush strokes. Remember, you’re creating the look of wood grain which is continuous.

I will warn you during this phase, it’s going to look worse before it looks better. Trust the process and keep going.

priming-the-table

Step 4: Grain It

This step is totally optional and I think it’s really to each their own. The kits come with two graining tools, which are large rubber stamps that mirror the look of wood grain. I’m opting not to do this, as I’d like a smooth looking finish and also feel there’s enough grain from the brush strokes, but if you do want to do this you’ll apply a thin coat of your Wood’n Stain in plank sized sections. Pull the graining tool through while the coat is still wet. If you mess up, just go over it again!

Step 5: Wood’n Stain

Using the same brush as my primer, the next step was to apply my Wood’n Stain in pecan finish. How many coats you decide to apply is truly up to you and the look you’re going for, but it can be anywhere from 1-3 coats. Each coat of Wood’n Stain will give you a deeper finish. For me personally, I decided to do two coats of the Pecan Wood’n Stain on the entire table and then one additional coat of the Gel Stain in Pecan just on the top of the table.

Just like the Primer, make your final coat in long brush strokes in the same direction for a seamless grain look. After using both the Wood’n Stain and the Gel Stain, I will share I prefer the Wood’n Stain. I found the Gel to be very runny and difficult to manage. If you have the option, I’d recommend finding a kit or purchasing the Wood’n Stain specifically. It goes on just a touch thicker.

An important note for those that have used other stains before: you do not wipe this stain like others. You simply apply it and let it dry for 2 hours in between coats.

Step 6: Seal It

We’re almost done! We just did all of this beautiful work, so now it’s time to protect your surface by sealing it. My kit came with a jar of Tripletique which is a waterbased epoxy alternative. The instructions state to stir this, not shake it, and apply thin layers until the entire container is finished. Drying time between coats is again 2 hours.

Conclusion

While I was initially hesitant about how to transform a black dining room table to a wood finish, I couldn’t be happier with the results. My old black dining room table is now transformed into a brand new pecan table. It cost me less than $100 and was a project I was able to complete inside of a weekend.

I would definitely recommend Retique It and feel it’s a product for any level of DIY experience. Just take some time to watch the tutorials in advance, or practice on an old piece of wood or furniture if you’re unsure.  What do you think? Would you try this project? If you have questions drop them below in the comments section!

before-and-after-black-to-wood-table

Before

After

Sources:

Retique It Table Top kit (pecan)

If not ordering a kit, the below items are available individually

Retqiue It Wood’n Primer

Retique It Gel Stain in Pecan

Wood Graining Tools

Tripletique Water Based Sealer

*this post is not sponsored. This is an honest review of a product I purchased myself and would recommend to others.

click to learn how to paint trim

The Latest on the Blog —

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Today, I’ve got a fantastic project that will instantly elevate the look of your space: painting interior trim. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY pro or just starting your home improvement journey, this step-by-step guide will help you achieve a polished and professional finish. Let’s dive in!

Why Paint Your Interior Trim?

Before we get our hands dirty, let’s talk about why painting interior trim is such a game-changer. Trim, whether it’s baseboards, crown molding, or window casings, is like the icing on the cake in your home’s design. It adds depth, character, and a touch of elegance to any room. When you paint it, you have the power to:

  1. Refresh and modernize your space: Over time, trim can become scuffed, faded, or discolored. A fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into your home.
  2. Create visual contrast: Choosing the right trim color can make your walls pop and draw attention to architectural details.
  3. Highlight your decor: Painted trim can frame your furniture and artwork, making them stand out in style.

Now that we’re on the same page about the magic of painted trim, let’s go over the essential steps to get started:

1. Gather Your Materials

For this project, you’ll need:

2. Prep Your Space

  • Clear the room: Remove furniture and cover the floor with drop cloths to protect it from paint splatter.
  • Clean the trim: Dust and wipe down the trim to ensure a smooth surface for painting.
  • Fill any gaps or imperfections with wood filler. Once it dries, sand the patched areas until they’re smooth.
  • Sand down all trim with 220 grit sandpaper. This is an important step that many overlook but is not to be skipped. By doing this, you’re giving the new paint something to grip on to and it will help promote it’s durability.
    • If you skip this step, prepare for your new trim to chip easily and even peel off in some instances.
  • Wipe up dust with a cloth and vacuum remaining dust on floor area
  • Go over all surfaces one last time with a tack cloth

3. Tape and Protect

Carefully apply painter’s tape along the edges of the trim to protect your walls from paint splatter. Make sure it’s securely adhered to avoid any bleed-through. I usually like to run my putty knife over it just to make sure.

4. Prime Time

Apply a coat of primer to the trim. Primer helps the paint adhere better and ensures a smooth, even finish. Let it dry completely before moving on to the next step (usually 2-3 hours is sufficient but always check your paint can label for drying time).

5. Paint Away

Now comes the fun part! Dip your paintbrush into your chosen trim paint and carefully start applying it to the trim. Use smooth, even strokes, and always paint in the direction of the wood grain for the best results. Do not overload your paint brush. A thin coat will promote quick drying time and an even finish. If you try to lay it on too thick, you’ll have paint drips, bubbles and in some cases even tackiness. Less is more here.

6. Sanding + Second Coat

Once your first coat has fully dried (again always check the label for drying time) use a sheet of fine sandpaper and gently run this over the trim. Repeat the same steps as before, wiping with a rag, vacuuming and then going over once more with a tack cloth. Using the same technique as the first coat, apply a second coat to all trim.

7. Remove Tape and Enjoy

As soon as you finish that second coat (if needed) and the paint is still wet, gently remove the painter’s tape at a 45-degree angle for clean, crisp lines. Let the paint dry completely, and then stand back and admire your handiwork!

Pro Tips:

  • Invest in quality paint and brushes: The right tools make a huge difference in achieving a professional finish.
  • Take your time: Rushing through the job can lead to mistakes. Patient, steady strokes will give you the best results.
  • Choose the right finish: Consider your room’s function when selecting a finish. Satin or semi-gloss works well for trim as they are durable and easy to clean.
freshly painted door and trim

And there you have it! Painting interior trim is a DIY project that can truly transform your space without breaking the bank. It’s a small effort that pays off big in terms of style and value, and can make your entire house feel completely new. So, go ahead and add this project to your weekend to-do list and watch your home come to life with renewed charm.

If you have any questions or want to share your trim painting success stories, drop me a comment below. Happy painting, and stay tuned for more fabulous DIY tips and tricks right here on the blog!

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winterize-your-home

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When I bought my first house in 2011, I truly wish it would have come with a checklist of things I needed to do each year, and during each season. As with most things, I learned by doing (and failing!). Sometimes this was frustrating, and other times this was expensive. In an effort to help us save our money and our minds, I’ve put together a checklist of essential tasks to ensure your home stays warm, safe, and comfortable throughout the winter months. Winterizing your house is not just about keeping the cold out; it’s also about protecting your home from potential damage. So grab a cup of cocoa and let’s dive into how to winterize your home!

1. Clean Gutters

First on our winterizing checklist is cleaning those gutters. It might not be the most glamorous task, but it’s crucial. Clogged gutters can lead to ice dams, which can cause water to seep into your home and damage your roof. So get up there, remove leaves and debris, and make sure water flows freely.

2. Detach Hoses

Don’t forget to disconnect your garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving them attached can lead to frozen and burst pipes. Drain the hoses and store them inside your garage or basement. As an added layer of caution, remove the nozzle from the hose. If you leave it attached (and leave it outside) you won’t be able to remove it in the future.

disconnect-hose-to-winterize-your-home

3. Move Patio Furniture Inside (or Cover)

Your outdoor furniture deserves some TLC too. Store it inside your garage or shed, or use weather-resistant covers to protect it from the harsh winter elements. This will extend the life of your furniture and save you money in the long run. I bought these duck covers for my chaise lounges and they’ve held up in the elements for several years. Far worth the investment to protect the furniture!

4. Move Plants Inside

Bring your potted plants indoors before the first frost hits. The cold can damage or kill delicate plants, so find a sunny spot for them inside your home to thrive during the winter.

5. Calling All Grillers

If you’re a year-round griller, make sure to disconnect the propane tank and store it in a safe, dry place. Cover your grill to protect it from snow and moisture, which can cause rust and damage.

6. Move Flower Pots Inside

Oops, here’s a lesson I learned the hard way – don’t leave ceramic pots outside during winter! They can crack and break when water freezes inside them. Take them indoors, and your plants will thank you.

7. Service the HVAC

Before the deep freeze sets in, it’s essential to have your heating system checked and serviced. A well-maintained HVAC system will run efficiently and keep your home cozy without skyrocketing energy bills.

8. Close the Pool

For those lucky enough to have a pool, it’s time to close it for the season. Clean and cover it to prevent damage from freezing temperatures. Blow the air out of the pipes, and add the necessary chemicals for your pool type and size to ensure an easy opening come spring time.

close-the-pool-to-winterize-your-home

9. Deadwood Your Trees

Dead limbs on trees can become brittle in cold weather and pose a risk to your property. Hire a professional arborist to remove deadwood to keep your home safe from falling branches.

10. Inspect the Roof

Give your roof a once-over to check for any loose or damaged shingles. A small repair now can save you from costly leaks later.

11. Close Any Vents

Close any vents or openings around your home’s foundation to keep cold air out. This will also help with energy efficiency.

click-for-image-of-closed-vent-on-house-for-winter

12. Inspect the Chimney

If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, have your chimney inspected and cleaned. A clean chimney is not only safer but also more efficient. To be on the safe side, it’s best to hire this job out to a professional.

13. Seal Any Gaps (Doors, Windows, etc.)

Inspect doors and windows for drafts. Seal any gaps with weatherstripping or caulking to keep warm air in and cold air out. This will save on your heating bills and keep your home more comfortable.

14. Cut Flowers Back

Finally, don’t forget your garden. Cut back dead or frost-damaged flowers and plants to encourage healthy growth in the spring.

By tackling these tasks, you’ll ensure your home is ready to face the challenges of winter head-on. Not only will you enjoy a warm and cozy atmosphere inside, but you’ll also protect your investment by preventing potential damage. So grab your checklist, gather your supplies, and let’s make this winter a breeze!

Stay tuned for more DIY tips and home renovation inspiration. And in the meantime, Stay warm, friends!

click-for-new-dining-room-design-plans

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Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, the dining room is about to have the makeover she deserves. This room has been a slow progression, and honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way. While I’ve already finalized much of the design for this space, I want to bring you behind the scenes and share the final vision I have for the dining room makeover. It was not a straight and narrow path to get here, but I’m glad I exercised some patience during the design process and took my time with it. For some context, the dining room is the first room to the right when you enter through the front door. It’s an 11’x11’ room, and has two floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the front yard. It also has a swing door which opens up to the kitchen (I love this!) and is the only room in the house that has a chair rail (the moulding that’s towards the middle of the wall).

Where we started…

Since I had such a limited budget when I first bought the house, I focused on “resetting” the dining room and living with it for the first few years. This included scraping the popcorn ceilings, swapping out the light fixture with the one I had at my previous house and painting the walls a clean white. It wasn’t anything great, but I felt I had made it better than I had found it, and it was a band aide for the time being.

Above: Original Listing Photo | Below: Initial Band Aide

Where we’re going…

The chair rail in this space really had me fixated on installing wallpaper. I love the idea of breaking up a big pattern with some trim and this was the perfect formal space to really go for it. When I started mood boarding this space, I set out with the idea of keeping my existing chandelier and dining set. All of these things came with me from my previous house, and while I really wanted to make them work, it turns out it wasn’t meant to be. Why? Follow along for my string of mood boards…

Dining Room Moodboard – Option A (keep existing furniture)  

This was the first wallpaper that stopped me from scrolling that I thought could co-exist with my dining room set and chandelier. I felt the dark background would work perfectly with the existing furniture and light set up, while the magenta flowers would add a pop of bright color to break up the pattern. I envisioned painting the trim, ceiling and lower wall Sherwinn-Williams charcoal grey Peppercorn, knowing that the white oak flooring would help balance everything out.

I was so certain of this design that I almost just ordered the wallpaper outright. Thankfully, a voice of reason entered the scene (which was likely the order total in my shopping cart) and I decided to order a wallpaper sample first. Folks, if you’re thinking of installing wallpaper please order a sample. I will continue to repeat this message. The sample arrived and I tore it open like I was a kid at Christmas. Guess what? It felt flat and cartoon like. I couldn’t believe it, but we needed to move on…

Dining Room Moodboard – Option B (keep existing furniture)

Again, determined to keep my furniture and light fixture, I moved onto this wallpaper by Cole & Son. With the different tones of greens I can see both silver and gold being able to play nicely in the same space (hello chandelier, hello mirror) and the dark background would pair with the black table and chairs. I color matched Benjamin Moore’s Mediterranean Olive for the chair rail and molding and felt confident its warm undertones would work well with the floors.

Feeling good right? Cue the wallpaper sample…and again, we strike out. This time, the sample showed up way more metallic than I was expecting. I was really thinking this would be heavily green, and it was anything but. While I still like this wallpaper, I know the dining room isn’t the right space for it in this particular house. Moving on again…

Dining Room Moodboard – Option C (new furniture / light)

The universe was trying to tell me something and I was finally ready to listen. It might be time to let go of the table, chairs and light. Mentally letting go, I set out to design a lighter space and started with Cole & Son’s Florencecourt wallpaper. I first saw it from the Renovation Husband’s dining room and have been obsessed with it ever since.  

The samples were ordered and we passed with flying colors! What I saw, is what I got. Feeling good about this, I continued to mood board the space and was on the hunt for a light fixture that’s a bit cloud like. My original choice was this tiered chandelier by Visual Comfort, but after inspecting it closer I don’t love the little crystals. Paint wise, with so much going on between the light fixture and wallpaper, I think keeping the wall and trim color a simple white and pairing an understated lighter table with the room is the way to go. This design gets a gold star and moves to the final round.

Dining Room Moodboard – Option D (new furniture / light)

Having previously struck out with wallpaper samples, I was already onto Mood Board #4 while I was waiting for the Florencecourt sample to arrive. Spotted from The Established Home, I had daydreams of installing this hand painted wallpaper by Kelly Ventura. It is so whimsical and stunning but not overpowering, which is such a delicate balance to strike. I found this light fixture by Visual Comfort that looks like it was made to pair with this exact wallpaper and I like the idea of trying an oval table in this space. I felt the wallpaper needed a darker contrast and I think Benjamin Moore’s Amherst Gray is the perfect match as it has some green undertones running through it.

While I loved this last design the most out of all four, it ended up being cost prohibitive due to the wallpaper in particular. With it being hand painted, it’s a labor intensive product and is priced accordingly. I still love this design and think it would stand the test of time, it’s just not right for me at this time in my life.

Our Winner: Florencecourt!

dining-room-mood-board

While there’s still a ton of work to do with sourcing the new furniture ahead of Thanksgiving, I’m so happy to share that the Florencecourt wallpaper was the winner of the wallpaper contest! It’s already been installed and has truly made the dining room makeover one for the books. Stay tuned for more updates soon, as I’ll be sharing details about the wallpaper install and the unexpected decision I ended up making (you won’t believe it!). We’ll have a full reveal of the final space just in time for Thanksgiving. And I’ll be extra thankful to cross another room transformation off the list!

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Tom Petty once said the waiting is the hardest part. Well Tom, you were right. If you remember, I shared I’d be doing my hardwood flooring installation in phases. Due to the kitchen leak, we knocked out the downstairs first, then scheduled the upstairs second. With how I live in the house, I really use the downstairs floor the most. The primary is downstairs and the only room I use upstairs is my home office. Knowing this, I didn’t think it would be a big deal to space out the installations. Well…turns out I got a taste of something I liked and just couldn’t get it out of my head. I’d be padding across the new white oak hardwoods and then I’d look over and see this dark staircase. The balusters stuck out like sore thumbs and I kept looking back and forth at the contrast. I couldn’t wait.

The Upstairs

The upstairs flooring took no time at all. There are 3 bedrooms and each room is significantly smaller than the spaces downstairs. The contractor had everything ripped out and bundles of hardwoods placed at the end of day one. Coming home and seeing this I felt like a kid at Christmas! I even dared to think that maybe we’d be ahead of schedule and I could have a full weekend day to put my house back together, and (gasp!) live like a normal person once again.

The Staircase

The staircase though, the staircase had other plans. The big issue was adjusting the steps. The very top step was higher than all the other steps, so the entire staircase needed to be adjusted. They needed to raise each tread up to make each stair equidistant. I’m still scratching my head at how the staircase ended up this way in the first place, and I’m happy to know that as of now, it’s been done the right way.

Open Stringer

If you recall during the staircase design, I was originally planning to keep the stringer closed (see staircase anatomy and design plans here), but at the last minute decided to open it. During the install week, I would peer around the plastic sheeting each night at the progress and hope I had made the right decision. There was no going back. My fear was the open stringer would feel too modern for the style of the house, and the new number of balusters would feel too busy. Remember, the previous balusters weren’t up to code and were spaced unevenly. So although I opted for a more streamlined baluster, there would be double the amount. The balusters were installed on the second to last day, so it was a long week of waiting for this girl.

Newel Posts

When I saw the newel posts installed for the first time, I knew I had made the right decision. They are chunky and stately and blend perfectly with the traditional style of the house. As soon as I saw them placed I felt like I had at least made one decision right. On the previous staircase, the newel post at the base of the staircase was on the floor, however since these newel posts are so much thicker we had to place this one on the first stair tread in order to allow the front door to clear. It was a design decision that was made for me, but one that I’m happy with and actually prefer to the previous version.

Final Results

The installers worked up until the end of the very last day, but they managed to finish on time and on budget. Similar to seeing the new downstairs flooring for the first time, I am blown away at the transformation this renovation has made to the entire feel of my home. It is lighter, brighter and more open. It’s updated but not in a forced way. It just feels cleaned up.

after / before

When I walk up and down the stairs now, they no longer creak. The first step from the top doesn’t feel like you’re falling off a cliff. And the railing doesn’t shake when you grab onto it. These are all things I lived with because in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t a big deal – there are bigger problems in the world. But there is something to be said for when a design comes together and you know it’s right. It’s this feeling. It’s a shift from a cringe to a smile.

This is just the beginning for this front entry way. Further on down the road I plan to update the front door to a black one, which I know is going to tie in beautifully with these new black balusters. In the short term, I’m already browsing and pinning new ideas for garland and can’t wait to see what it will look like all decorated for the holidays! I’ll also be hosting Thanksgiving this year, and will be so proud to open the front door and invite family into my home (and not worry about them falling off that top step). 

In the coming weeks I’ll share a breakdown of the budget for each phase of this renovation, and will also aggregate all of the design decisions into that post for safe keeping. In the event you find yourself designing a staircase and/or a hardwood flooring renovation, I hope my experience and many learnings will be useful to you!

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how to paint a wall

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Are you ready to paint?! Follow along below as I guide you through how to paint a wall like a professional. Speaking of professionals, I’ll share the cost savings you can anticipate by choosing to DIY this project. Get excited – we’re about to transform your space!

Getting Set Up

After you’ve decided on your paint and have properly prepped your space, it’s time to get your painting clothes on and get ready to paint your walls!

First thing’s first: Open your paint can and start stirring. When you think you’ve stirred it enough, keep going. Seriously though, paint (even if it’s white) is mixed of multiple colors that will eventually settle to the bottom of the can. Stir your paint for at least 2 minutes straight, making sure you’re touching the bottom of the can.

Once your paint is mixed, pour paint into both your painting tray and your painter’s cup. Set the painter’s cup and paint brush aside.

Attach your extension pole to your roller (I prefer this but it’s a personal preference)  and dip the roller into the paint tray, coating it evenly. Roll off any excess paint on the ridges of the tray.

Rolling Technique

Start painting by rolling the roller onto the wall in a “W” or “N” shape. Apply even pressure and work on one wall at a time.

Above: painting a W on the wall. Below: filling the W in with the remaining paint on the roller brush.

Once you’ve painted your “W” or “N” use the roller without reloading it with paint to smooth out the in between unpainted sections of your letter. This eliminates any visible roller lines and is called “back rolling.” Continue painting the wall, working from top to bottom and from one side to the other. Maintain a wet edge, which means avoiding drying areas and overlapping sections while they are still wet.

Cutting In

Now it’s time to “cut in.” This is the part where you’ll use your angled brush to paint where the roller can’t reach, which will include around doorways and windows, corners, along the baseboards and along the crown molding / ceiling. If you’ve decided to tape the trim, this will be a faster process, as you won’t need to be as careful. I generally like to work from left to right, starting in the corner. I’ll paint up and down the corner first, as far as I can reach on the ladder along the ceiling, and then will move down to the baseboards.

Above: Cutting in against door trim. Below: Cutting in against the ceiling.

I’ll move the ladder and then repeat until I’m across the whole wall. This helps keep the paint lines wet, and prevents streaking. When using your brush, dip the brush about one-third of the bristle length into the paint and remove excess by tapping it against the side of the painter’s cup.

Watch a guided tutorial as I paint this wall in my laundry room

Drying Time + Second Coat

Continue to the remaining walls and then you’re all done with coat #1. Now I know it’s tempting to want to finish the job and clean up, but it’s important to let the paint dry. Drying time will differ based on the type of paint, and sometimes even the brand. It should be listed on the paint can. Honestly, I would wait a full day for the first coat to dry. Unless you’re painting a super small space and started early in the morning and will go for round two late at night, I generally feel giving the paint a full day to cure is the best approach. If you apply another coat too soon, you run the risk of lifting the paint up with your roller, which will make the paint look like it’s peeling in spots. Yes, I’m guilty of not waiting long enough…so please learn from my mistakes!

Once you’ve applied all coats of paint you should remove the painter’s tape while the paint is still slightly wet to avoid peeling the dried paint with it. Gently peel it off, walking with it as you peel.

It’s suggested to wait a couple days before hanging things like artwork or mirrors, however you can move your furniture back in place the next day.

What Would A Professional Cost?

As with most services, the cost of a professional will depend on where you live and how big your space is. For a frame of reference as it relates to Nashville, I can share for walls alone it’s roughly $2 per square foot. So for example if you have a 2,000 square foot home, it would cost $4,000 plus the cost of paint (around $200 for this space) to have your walls only painted.

All of this to say, painting your walls is a very manageable DIY project and is achievable with a little bit of patience and prep work. Personally, taking the time to hone this skill has saved me thousands of dollars over the course of owning a home. I encourage you to head to your local paint store, pick up some supplies and a gallon of paint and give it a try. You might just surprise yourself!

styling-pumpkins-on-front-steps

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As the temperatures in Nashville begin to cool down, and the days become shorter, I’ve gradually started adding fall décor touches from the inside out. It is truly my favorite season of the year – the color palette, the smells, the crisp air, the food, sweater weather and all around general coziness. And something I’ve grown to love is styling pumpkins on my front door steps.

click-for-pumpkin-styling

This will be my fifth fall season in this house and I feel like I can finally say I’ve gotten the hang of how to style pumpkins on the front door steps. However, it was a journey to get here. Coming from my previous house, which had only one step, I was a little overwhelmed the first year and honestly I didn’t know what I was doing. My current house has five circular steps leading up to the door, with the hand rails angling out from the top. This angle creates some extra ground to cover when decorating and filling in “the stoop.”

Pumpkin Display At My Previous Home (simpler times!)

simple fall porch decor

Pumpkin Paralysis

The first few years, I remember looking at so many inspirational photos of beautifully styled steps on pintrest, only to arrive at the pumpkin stand and immediately feel completely overwhelmed upon seeing all of the shapes, sizes and endless choices. I don’t have photos of the first couple years, but I can say they were rough.

After some trial and error over the past couple years, I’ve found implementing styling techniques that I use in every day design has helped me tackle how to style pumpkins on the front door steps. If you face the same overwhelm that I once did, I hope that this post will serve as a thought starter for you, or at the very least will help making styling pumpkins on your front door steps a fun experience and not an anxiety ridden one!

click-for-various-pumpkins

Helpful design tips for styling pumpkins on steps

  • Start Big – place your largest item(s) first and work backwards from there. Every year I get at least one monster pumpkin and place it on a lower step. I also love to buy mums each season and enjoy placing those in large pots flanking either side of the front door. These are examples of larger items to start with.
  • Be Odd: place things in groups of three’s or five’s or even seven’s. This design rule in general is usually more aesthetically pleasing.
  • Vary the size, shape and height: Too many big items look too uniform and too many small items can look cluttered. Work to pair gords with traditional pumpkins. Place little pumpkins with medium and large pumpkins. Create a pumpkin tower of three different pumpkins of different colors. Mix it up!
  • Mix textures and colors: too much of the same looks unnatural, while mixed pairings create more visual interest for the eye. I love different colored pumpkins! Mix white, green and orange pumpkins together. Pair a smooth pumpkin with one that has nubs all over it.
styling-pumpkins-on-front-steps

New for this year

Each year I’ve lived here I’ve visited a local farmer’s stand nearby and have picked up a trunk full of pumpkins for my front steps. And I mean a TRUNK FULL! What’s even crazier is that I wish I could buy even more and really make these pumpkins spill all over the front steps!

Last year, as I handed over my credit card and quietly gulped at the total, I told myself that I’d look into adding some faux pumpkins into the mix. I spent a few months hunting for the right ones, but I will say the ones that I found were worth the hunt! Can you tell which ones are faux? (hint: two of the three are in this photo below)

styling-pumpkins-on-front-steps

If the faux pumpkins end up working out, I’ll buy a couple each year and slowly build up a little collection. So while my trunk this year was still quite full, the load was lightened a little bit. I’ll do a full review at the end of the season and share how they’ve held up. One thing’s for certain: they’re squirrel proof!

To close out the front step styling, I added a simple burgundy wreath for the front door. Earlier this spring I bought the same wreath but in a pretty green, and it held up outdoors in the elements. It actually still looks brand new!

styling-pumpkins-on-front-steps

Once I decorate for fall, it runs through Thanksgiving until I’m ready to put up Christmas decor. With that said, I tend to lean into a much more neutral decor style and focus more on the color palette of oranges, burgundies, browns and deep greens where I can versus the traditional black and orange Halloween decorations. But that’s the beautiful thing about design – it’s objective and there is no right or wrong. Whatever speaks to you is what you should follow. Right now, all of this is speaking to me and I’m snuggling up to it.

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If you’ve been following along, you’ll recall that I opted to complete my new hardwood flooring installation in phases. In phase one I knocked out the downstairs flooring first, which is where the water leak happened (it was kinda urgent). Now that we have that out of the way, we can focus on the staircase and upstairs bedrooms. While I’d already made the core decisions when it came to the flooring (wood type, plank width, stain) I still had a lot to nail down when it came to the staircase design. Honestly, it was more than I ever would have expected – I already had a staircase so what was there to decide? Wait for it.

Staircase Terminology 101

Most of the staircase terminology was new to me, so to help you follow along I’m going to break down some key terms along with a diagram.

Anatomy of a staircase with terminology
  1. Riser:  this is the back of the stair, and what you might stub your toe on when going up the steps. Technically: the riser is the vertical component of the stair that provides support to the tread.
  2. Tread: the tread is what we step on (i.e. what we tread on). Technically: the tread is an upper flat surface or a horizontal portion of a step  A tread + a riser = a step
  3. Newel Post: these are the posts at the top and bottom of most staircases. They support and connect the handrail.
  4. Hand Rail: Sometimes also referred to as a banister, this is what we try to slide down when we’re kids. Technically: the piece of metal or wood that you hold on to when going up and down the stairs, which provides both support and safety.
  5. Baluster:  these are the wood or metal vertical pieces that connect the handrail to the bottom of the staircase (which is called a stringer – see next).
  6. Stringer: These are angled pieces of wood that support the steps in a staircase. There is always a wall stringer, which is next to the wall and then an open or closed stringer for the other side of the staircase.

Staircase Design Decisions….

The biggest decisions I needed to make for the staircase design came down to a handful of components but ones I didn’t take lightly. They were: newel post design, riser type, baluster type, and open vs closed stringer. Follow along as I break it down from easiest to hardest, along with my design process.

Design Decision #1: Riser type

When it came to the risers, I needed to decide if I wanted to continue the white oak the entire flight of stairs, or if I wanted to break it up with painted white risers. This was a pretty simple decision for me because I felt having continuous white oak would be too much wood, and a white riser would help break things up. Winner: white risers.

Design Decision #2: Newel Post

The house is a traditional style home and I felt bringing in a large newel post would work for both the design style of the house as well as the scale of the entryway which has 20 foot high ceilings. I have a small balcony at the top of the stairs, which would require two additional newel posts. I had the option to vary the sizes of these posts, but I decided to keep all the newel posts large and chunky to allow for design consistency. Winner: chunky newel posts.

Design Decision #3: Balusters

I knew I wanted black balusters. I love the contrast they bring to the table with the white oak floors. The unknown part that I struggled with was what size – there were thick balusters and thin balusters. Due to code, I needed to have three balusters per step (so children can’t put their heads through the balusters). My previous staircase was not done to code, so I had a hard time visualizing if the wider balusters I wanted were going to look too busy due to needing so many per step. The other option was to go with a thinner baluster, however I was worried that would create a modern feel which is what I didn’t want. Winner: thick black metal balusters.

Design Decision #4: Stringer – Open vs Closed

This was the hardest decision for me and I went back and forth multiple times. My previous staircase had a closed stringer. That meant the balusters were drilled into the angled piece of wood that was placed on top of the tread.

original staircase with closed stringer
The original staircase: this is a “closed stringer” which means the balusters are anchored to the stringer (the angled white piece of wood) rather than the stair treads directly.

I had planned on keeping the stringer closed, however after learning I’d need to keep the existing stringer in order to do so, I opted to open it up. With so many DIY issues from the previous owners, I wanted to ensure I was getting a fresh start all the way around. Winner: Open Stringer

Conclusion

This project gave me a run for my money! The staircase is the first thing you see upon entering the front door and first impressions are everything. While I’m sure it sounds silly to most, I wrestled with the staircase design decisions for weeks, mostly because I wanted to ensure I was staying true to the style of the home. Ultimately I want this first impression to be a memorable one, and a proper introduction of what’s to come upon visiting my home.

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A couple weeks ago I shared my vision for the Powder Room Makeover, including three moodboards – all featuring different wallpaper designs. In addition to the moodboards, I ordered samples of each which helped narrow down the decision between Moodboard #2 and Moodboard #3. In the end, I decided to move forward with Woodchip & Magnolia’s Ava Marika Moody wallpaper and I’m so glad I did! It’s even prettier in person and the color pathways are absolutely stunning.

This wallpaper is straight paneled, meaning that each roll contains three panels and they line up precisely. No more measuring for a repeat pattern and collecting large wasting heaps of wallpaper (it’s expensive!). I’m already a huge fan.

Anytime you’re going to wallpaper it’s important to read the instructions, as some papers are paste the wall and some papers are paste the paper. So far, I’ve installed paste the paper and I’ve also installed a peel and stick vinyl wallpaper, so this is going to be a first. The instructions also suggested to utilize a more heavy duty paste, so even though I had some leftover paste in the garage from a previous job, I invested in a tub of Zinsser Sure Grip Heavy Duty Wallcovering Adhesive.

Installation:

Following this install, I’ll do a separate post about the different types of wallpaper, pro’s vs con’s of each kind + what it costs to hire a professional. To keep it short, this was not the “easy” job I had hoped for, but it was doable by myself. The biggest challenge was the small confines of the room and working around the toilet to get to some of the high corners with my ladder.

Everything I needed for this job: Smoothing Tool | Seam roller | Wallpaper brush | Exacto knife | 24” Ruler | Scissors | Ladder | Paint roller | Paint skin | Wide Bucket | Paint brush | Roller Grid | Wallpaper Paste | Drop Cloths

Choosing A Trim Color

Originally I had hoped to paint the ceiling and the trim prior to installing the wallpaper, as I didn’t want to get paint on it, but after reviewing some paint swatches next to the wallpaper, I decided to wait. The powder room does not have a window, and I also decided to get a new light fixture for the space. These two factors alone can completely transform how the paint looks in this space vs in the dining room which is where I was laying everything out.

Based on where I cut each panel (top & bottom) the color ways were a little bit darker than the middle of the panels which is where I was pulling colors from. I felt my original plan for shiny kettle would be too contrasting against some of the darker colors, especially at the ceiling. Additionally, as much as I wanted it to work, I don’t think it was the right pink to pair with this.

After laying out twenty different swatches I narrowed the decision down to two choices: Benjamin Moore’s Sage Mountain and Benjamin Moore’s Squirrel Tail. Sage Mountain (top left * option) is a muted green with grey undertones and I thought it pulled the green tones out of the wallpaper in a beautiful way, while not stealing the show. Squirrel Tail (bottom right * option) laid really beautifully against the background colors of the wallpaper, and since this color is going to be at the base and the crown, I think a grey with warm undertones would be complimentary to the overall design.

Since picking the trim was such a process, I decided this was not the time to guess and headed to the store to pick up paint samples. For reference, you can get little pots in an eggshell finish for about $7 each. It’s worth the cost of your time, rather than painting your space the wrong color and then having to do it over.

benjamin moore sage mountain paint sample benjamin moore squirrel tail paint sample

I painted little patches of each color side by side on a strip of baseboard that the sink will eventually go in front of. Both colors looked so similar as I was painting them, however after drying there was a stark difference. And I’m still not sure…

I think the answer is that we still don’t have a winner. I’m going back to the drawing board tonight (aka my paint wheel) and am also going to start scrolling through some photos from my favorite designers for some inspiration. While I’m anxious to finish this space, I want to get it right and fall head over heels in love with it.

Light Fixture Drama

I wanted drama for this room and I’m getting it! The original light fixture I had planned for (this bumblebee sconce) is currently backordered until November and I don’t love it enough to wait that long. So back to the drawing board I went, looking for something new. My parameters were the length (needed to be at least 15″ long but couldn’t exceed 22″), a brass finish, and at least two light bulbs. During my search, I found this extra large dresser sconce from Visual Comfort, and I thought it would add an unexpected twist to the space.

Unfortunately after unboxing it, it did not live up to the expectations in my mind. While the brass was beautiful, and the perfect finish for the space, the clear part of the light was the issue for me. I was expecting it to be glass or crystal, and it was actually plastic! For the price point of this, I was incredibly disappointed. Although, it was only my own fault as I’m sure that was listed in the product description and I missed it. I took the light fixture into the powder room just to be 100% sure, and after that I knew it was getting returned. The plastic really set the room back 20 years, and that’s not the direction I’m trying to go!

As of now, I’m back on the hunt for the right light fixture but am proud of myself for not settling. I’ve learned the same lesson too many times, where I’m eager to get a space done and just settle for something I know isn’t right. Ultimately a few months later I end up replacing whatever that thing is for what I wanted in the first place. So while this is a bit annoying to not be “finished,” I have faith that the final version is going to a showstopper, and I’m going to love every last detail.

Stay tuned for more soon…

click-to-learn-about-paint-sheens-colors

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Paint is one of the most instantaneous and easiest ways to transform a space, but sometimes all the choices can be a bit overwhelming. Today, I’m going to break it all down for you and arm you with everything you need before heading into the paint store. We’ll go over the basics which include an overview on paint sheen, paint type and tips on how to choose a paint color in the article below. Lets get to it!

Which Paint Sheen Is Right For Your Project?

Picking the right paint sheen (also referred to as paint finish) is going to depend on what you’re painting. Here are some pro’s and con’s to start thinking about for each type of paint sheen.

  • Flat / Matte:  
    • Pro’s: hides imperfections and provides a non reflective finish.
    • Con’s: It’s not durable and is difficult to clean (i.e. you’ll easily see areas you tried to clean).
    • Pro Tip: Flat paint is generally a builder grade choice because it’s the cheapest. I would suggest leaving this for the ceilings and going up one sheen for any walls.
  • Eggshell:
    • Pro’s: Eggshell finishes meet in the middle balancing both matte and shine. Versatile for various surfaces, durable and easy to clean minor stains with gentle scrubbing without losing the finish.
    • Con’s: As we increase the sheen, imperfections become more visible. If your walls have uneven surfaces, expect eggshell to showcase these more than a matte would.
    • Pro Tip: If your room gets moderate to low light, this is a great option. Eggshell is what I’ve used on almost all of my interior walls.
  • Satin:
    • Pro’s: Is more durable than an eggshell or matte paint. It has a subtle hint of sheen.
    • Con’s: We are going in order of shine, so this is a more reflective sheen. If you have a room that gets a lot of light, you may want to bump down to eggshell.
    • Pro Tip: A satin finish is a great choice for trim in a room that gets a lot of light, as it’s durable but won’t be super reflective.
  • Semi-gloss:
    • Pro’s: highly durable and works well in high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms. It resists moisture and stains, and provides a smooth surface. Offers a noticeable shine.
    • Con’s: Semi-gloss can highlight surface imperfection, so make sure your surface is properly  prepped (sanded, wood filled, cleaned)
    • Pro Tip: Semi-gloss is the go to choice for trim in most rooms, as well as other high traffic surfaces. Just ensure your surface is properly prepped to eliminate imperfections showing through.
  • Gloss / High Gloss:
    • Pro’s: beautiful glossy surface and highly durable. This finish provides an elegant and modern look.
    • Con’s: again the higher the gloss the more likely imperfections will be noticeable. Additionally, application can be tricky on large surfaces, as it needs a perfectly smooth surface and balanced humidity for optimal and even drying.
    • Pro Tip: this finish is best for trim work, molding and wood. If you’re considering a larger surface you may want to practice first, as it can be a tricky one to get right!

How To Choose A Paint Color

While this is the most exciting step, and many of us are quick to get right to it, I encourage you not to rush through this. A lesson learned the hard way I will share with you: in my early days of interior painting, I chose a grey paint off the color wheel that I thought looked great. I went through all the trouble of applying it to my dining room, only to find out that because of how the light came through my windows, it ended up looking purple, which is my least favorite color (actually I can’t stand it). To make matters more embarrassing, I chose another grey off the color wheel and painted it the next day. When I turned on my chandelier, the light cast through my black shade, made this new grey paint appear an even darker purple!! I wasted about $200 and a weekend’s worth of time because I didn’t plan. So learn from my mistakes and take the extra time to buy some samples and paint some swatches to check out as your lighting changes throughout the day.

 Some other thoughts on choosing a color: I believe this is a very personal choice and can be thought about in a few different ways.

  1. Love of a color: maybe you just love a color and want your walls to be that color. If that’s the case then go for it!
  2. Practicality: I generally like to stick with neutral colors like white, grey and beige for larger spaces. This makes the room feel like a blank canvas to me and allows me to accessorize with artwork, furniture and other décor. Again, this is just a personal preference and there’s really no right or wrong.
  3. Warm vs Cool: there are undertones in every shade of color on your paint color wheel. Take the time to think about what kind of undertones would work best in your house. Are your floors a warmer tone or a cooler tone? If you’re not sure, place your paint swatches on your floors and you’ll see if the hues compliment one another, or if they compete.
  4. Light: what kind of natural light does your room get? If you’re painting a movie room, you probably don’t want it to be bright so stick with a dark color. If you’re painting a bedroom that has a million windows, maybe opt for something soft that isn’t necessarily white (it could feel like an asylum if it’s too bright).
  5. Trending: every season there is a new trend of colors. If you know you want a refresh but aren’t married to a color yet, I would suggest starting a mood board and pinning some ideas of rooms you like from your favorite design magazines or Instagram accounts.
  6. Focus pieces: another idea if you’re on the fence with a color is to consider some of your staple pieces that you know will be part of that room. For example if you have a piece of artwork that you definitely want to belong in this room, consider color matching one of the colors in the painting for your walls. It can be a subtle way to tie the room together.

Which paint type is right for your project?

Lastly, you’ll need to decide which type of paint is best for your project. Options include:

  • Oil based – oil based paints are typically more durable and a bit cheaper than latex paints, however they take longer to dry and are very odorous. I personally don’t use oil based paints much, but they’re usually used for trim and molding, as well as high gloss sheens (see below).
  • Water/Latex based – faster drying time, easier to clean, less odorous. Typically great choices for interior walls. These are my go to.
  • Primer – think of this as a base coat which is meant to fill in pores and level the playing field before you apply your new paint. If you’re painting with an oil based paint, use oil based primer and vice versa. *Do not skip this step! Applying primer is cheaper and will save you extra top coats in the long run. Most importantly it will ensure your color comes out true. Just imagine painting a beautiful creamy white over a deep charcoal grey wall. The primer will reset the wall and absorb the top coat of creamy white so it comes out true to form when it dries.

Related

Paint Supplies + How to Prep The Space

How to Paint a Wall

How to Paint a Ceiling

Painting Crisp Paint Lines

The Benefits of Color Drenching

Shop My Go-To Paint Supplies

Tap to Shop!

gold leaf chandelier reflected in primrose mirror

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I’ve been daydreaming about a moody dramatic tv room, and it’s official – I think this iteration of the TV Room is “the one”! There are still a few tiny details I need to finish such as putting a medallion above the gold leaf chandelier, changing out the electrical sockets to be black and eventually deciding on some window treatments, but for now, I’m checking this room off as complete.

dramatic-dark-room-with-bookshelves
Coffee Table Books: Pearl Jam | Trust | Danny Clinch | Gig Posters | The Rolling Stones | American Decay | CB2 White Trinket Box

Phase 1

If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember I did a budget friendly refresh shortly after moving into this house. I painted the built-in bookshelves a dark blue-grey (Benjamin Moore’s Lead Grey) in a Satin Enamel finish, swapped out the light fixture and added a sectional to the space. Many of the other pieces of decor came with me from my previous house. It was a fantastic update for the limited budget I was working with and it worked.

cozy-room-refresh
The different phases of this room: budget refresh (above) and original listing photo (below)

When I found out I’d be unexpectedly updating my hardwood floors, I realized now was the time to make a big change to this room and that started with the decision to remove the existing shag carpet. I was incredibly lucky to find beautiful white oak hardwood flooring underneath the carpet and it was in fantastic condition. It just needed sanded down and then stained to match the finish of the new flooring in the rest of the house. I am still counting my blessings about this!

unfinished old hardwoods
Original hardwoods discovered underneath the shag carpet. They just needed refinished and stained.

TV Room 2.0

With how much this room had already evolved up until this point, I felt like it was time to take a design risk and try my hand at color drenching. I was a little bit nervous about the new paint (ceiling, trim and walls) matching the existing built-ins, as paint does fade over time, but it turned out seamlessly and I am absolutely in love with the final result!

gold leaf chandelier against dark paint and primrose mirror
This gold leaf chandelier is a show stopper!
rejuvenation double arm floor lamp
The design of this double arm lamp adds the perfect touch to the refreshed traditional design of the overall room, while adding necessary accent light during the evenings. Paired with this faux fur blanket for an extra touch of coziness.

I had so much fun adding in brass accents to really pop against the dark paint. My Primrose mirror that I had in the dining room for years has found its forever home above the mantel and I love seeing the reflection of the gold leaf chandelier. I swapped out the previous desk lamp for a cute little brass task lamp with a curvy arm and was so excited to add my first art lamp above some of my music memorabilia on the back wall. I tend to move my artwork around a lot, so going with a battery powered option felt like a safe choice and I couldn’t be happier with the decision. I’m already thinking about where I can install more of these – (of course I am). 

Same corner. Same room.

Finishing Touches

Adding in a dark area rug helped anchor the room and balance the brightness of the new hardwood floors. I decided to choose a traditional style patterned rug and the colors in this one were perfect as they pulled in the burnt orange pillows, the Lead Grey paint color and the beiges from the coffee table and sectional. I think the floral / botanical pattern helps balance the plaid pillows, as well as the overall masculine tone of the room.

Some finishing touches like restyling the bookshelves and changing things up on the coffee table has made this room feel like a completely new addition to the house, when in reality the true transformation came from taking a design risk with paint. This project has given me the confidence to continue to push my design boundaries and I’m so proud of how it turned out.

color drenched bookshelves benjamin moore lead grey
vinyl record organization

Sources:

Rug (size 10’x13′) | 3 Piece Sectional (in Taft Cement) | Coffee Table (no longer sold) | Desk Chair (antique) | Gold Leaf Chandelier | Tripod Floor Lamp | Double Arm Floor Lamp | Art Lamp | Orange Pillows | Plaid Pillows (similar) | Record Player | Gleaming Primrose Mirror | Brass Task Lamp | Glass Trinket Boxes | Small White Planter | Paint Color: Lead Grey by Benjamin Moore | Faux Fur Blanket in Silver | CB2 Trinket Box | Candles

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