Weekend Happenings

This week has been long and sleepless. It has been so good, but it has also been a little trying. I had a big fun project that is really starting to take shape this week (and taking sleep), and all the efforts really are oh-so worth it. Work at the office has also been very busy. This season is typically busy for us, but this week has felt especially hectic.

Brantley Bub July 2015

Our Brantley is feeling a little under the weather, and we took him to the vet today. He lost a little bit of weight, but I think it may just be normal weight fluctuation of a few pounds up and down. He had a little fever, and after a week of diarrhea they are running some tests to see what exactly is going on, but for now we have started him on some antibiotics to help get him back to normal. We should know more tomorrow, but it appears he has a little parasite.

All that said and done, I am ready to get home, change into some comfy clothes, poor a glass of wine and snuggle with my boys. This weekend, I’m hoping (but not holding myself to) to finish some little organizing projects around the house and organize some pictures for the blog. But mainly, I have one client pit stop to make tomorrow after I leave the showroom, and then once I park my car in Jersey City, I don’t want to even look at it until Monday morning–I can walk to anything that is of any real importance (farmer’s market, ice cream, maybe a picnic… )!

What’s on your docket for this July weekend? Isn’t it so nice to just enjoy some time at home with the ones you love?! I’m so looking forward to this much needed down time.

Wall of Mirrors

I know I owe you all an update on what has been happening as we “Address the Bedroom” but while I am working on that, I can’t help but continue to think about other little updates and projects that I will be doing next.

Mirror Wall-1

As everything has been ordered and or planned out for the bedroom, we are just waiting for the details to come together. While we wait, let’s talk about our entryway.

We have this wall right across from our front door, it is the first thing you see when you walk into our condo, and it has a light switch dead in the center of the wall. Who installs a switch in the middle of a wall?? I have looked into moving it, but due to the fact that we live in a terribly old home home filled with years of character, the switch is not going anywhere unless the wall comes down.

So, we have to work around it. The space from molding to molding on the wall is 32″ and originally I bought a 28″ D round mirror for that space, as I really like the idea of a mirror in the entry, but due to the aforementioned light switch, the mirror found a home elsewhere.

That said, I am thinking of doing a wall of smaller mirrors. I’m not sure how it would feel being the first thing in the front door, and I haven’t pitched it to P yet, but I wanted to source out some inspo for the concept and get a few more opinions on it.

Mirror Wall Grid MIRROR GALLERY-VINTAGE WHITEMIRROR GALLERY-GILDED Mirror Wall Photo Ledge Mirror Wall Round

So what do you think? Are you a fan of a wall of mirrors? Would you do it in your own home somewhere?

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Illuminating Decisions

One of the biggest issues in our bedroom is the lighting. Since my work space is here as well, I need good lighting all the time. A few weeks back I discussed adding a specific task light for the work space, but the overhead lighting needs to be addressed as well.

Yesterday I finally purchased the lamp for the work space, so I thought today I would try to make a decision on the overhead fixture. I also wanted to share with you guys, one of my favorite online retailers for house wares. I’m always surprised when people haven’t heard of One Kings Lane (OKL) because it is often a go-to for me when I’m looking for something unique or beautiful. They have great options available all the time and always at a reduced price. When I started trying to decide what I wanted for our overhead fixture, I was looking all over the place with nothing striking me as even an option for the space. Then I thought I’d check OKL to see if they did lighting too, and of course they do, I should’ve just started there.

For the bedroom, I love the idea of adding a chandelier. Chandeliers can be sexy and/or romantic, they can be sculptural and interesting. They illuminate the space while offering a focal point, so first, I checked them out as an option.

Lighting Options-Chandeliers

The four choices I found I really do love! Option 1 feels more appropriate for a dining space as it is a long and narrow piece, but I love the art deco feeling of it, the lines feel very flapper-esque to me. (Burlesque Oval Chandelier, also available in silver.) Option 2 is definitely more functional and I love the industrial quality of the black and exposed bulbs, this light is super functional and makes a good option for a bedroom, entryway or dining space. (Socket-To-Me.) Option 3 is very sculptural and has great curves, it is perfect for that retro chic space, but again, this fixture feels a bit more appropriate for the dining room. (Vintage French Chandelier.) Lastly, I love option 4! The soft drape of the chains paired with the sheer volume of them creates a stunning focal point, this piece would be perfect for our bedroom, if our bedroom was just a bit larger; it would also be well suited for an entry hall. (Chantilly Chandelier available in 6-light, 10-light or 12-light options.)

So, now that I’ve accepted the fact that our small space really wouldn’t be best suited for a chandelier option, Let’s look at the flush-mount and semi-flush-mount options.

Lighting Options-Flush Mount

Option 1 is a nice simple choice, the metal trim is simple and clean without feeling too style-specific, and it is available in a few different metal finishes to go with your space. (Harbour Flush Mount, alternate finishes.) Option 2 is probably the most spectacular semi-flush mount I’ve ever seen. It’s intricate glass shade is a textural work of art that I can only imagine does beautiful things to the light it filters. (Bella Semi-Flush Mount.) Option 3 offers a soft and simple sculptural shade, with lovely brass details. The organic shape of the shade is sure to please, and would be well suited for a bedroom space. (Soho Semi-Flush Mount.) Option 4 is another more industrial or farm-chic option with it’s cage-like shade. The details are simple and clean and would look fresh in any space and could work for several styles from rustic to city loft. (Downtown Flush-Mount.)

So there you have it! So many options for our new light fixture, I can’t wait to install our selection and have more light in our bedroom! Is there one that you think would be perfect for us? Or even better, one that is calling your name to come and live with you?? One Kings Lane has so many other options as well for lighting, so if you need something new for your space and you don’t like the ones I’ve narrowed it down to for my space, check out their chandelier lighting section or their ceiling-mount section and let me know what you think!

This is not a sponsored post, it is based solely on my own experience with and love of One Kings Lane. I’ve had great success ordering through OKL in the past, the only tip I have for you is to check the details on the order to make sure you love anything that is a final sale piece before you pull the trigger, especially noting the size specifications. Everything we’ve purchased through them has worked out great, so if you are new to them, I hope you love what you see!!

Addressing the Bedroom

bedroom before 1

I have decided that I need to change what I’m doing in order to really get my home in order. That said I decided I needed to stop working on little pieces of all the rooms in my home and work to complete one room. I discussed it a little bit last week, waffled around about which room would be best to work on and finally landed on the bedroom. I feel like this is a good place to start as it is where each day begins and ends for us. There are definitely areas of our home that need some attention too, but as P always says, one thing at a time, that way I won’t get overwhelmed with everything.

First things first, I want to give you a little peek at where things are now, and then we can go through the lists of what I would like to get accomplished throughout the course of the month. I’ll share a weekly or as-needed progress report, as well as some social media posts about what we are working on as we work through it.

Things that need our attention:

  • Window Treatments
  • Closet Area-Refold/Reorganize and hem-white curtains.
  • Work Space Completion-Address task lighting, project organization system, and chair.
  • Lighting-change overhead fixture and add desk lighting.
  • Storage-increase and reconfigure to work better.
  • Art & Details-styling the surfaces horizontal and vertical.

So it isn’t too bad. Things like the window treatments, we have (they are in the West Elm box on the floor) and they just need to be installed. Everything else I have a major plan for, I just need to lay it out, finalize and take action to implement. More on that through the course of the week, and hopefully these scary before pictures will just lead to a much better after with all the wow factor a transition can have!

Oh and for those who have been looking for the final office-space area.. these pictures show a sneak peek at where it is now…and although it isn’t fully finished, it is functional and working well for now.

I’m excited to be moving along with this space (and hopefully more in the future), this refocusing is just the push I need to get my ducks in a row and get this room finished!

Designing at Home

As a design professional, one of the largest challenges I face is trying to feel like my home is in a good place all the time. The truth is, your home is a never-ending cycle of projects. From day to day activities like cooking, cleaning, etc., to larger projects and renovations, there is always going to be something to be done.

I work with my clients on this all the time, but it is tricky to actually follow this rule myself. Focusing on one thing at a time, and working with what you have is so much easier said that done, especially when I don’t have a copy of myself to hold my hand and walk me through it. So, do as I say, not as I do!

That said, I have been working on being happier with my space, with what I have and where we are at, without everything being exactly as I hope it will be someday.

I thought it would be good to focus on one room at a time, create a list and tackle it for each space to really get them in a good place. This would focus on the cosmetic only, it’s not a knockdown, drag-out scenario where you are crashing through walls or anything like that, so it keeps things small, dealing only with the finishing touches.

My problem is I don’t know where to start! Maybe I should start small and tackle the completion of our entryway. Hanging those little shoe cubbies was such a great move in that area, but there is more I would like to do… we need to change the light fixture and I would like to add a mirror (or something).

The living room has a few issues too, we have everything we need in there but it’s a matter of fine tuning, finishing the window treatments and getting them up, and the same goes for the bedroom… apparently I have something against actually hanging my curtains.

Lastly the kitchen. We just have storage and organization limitations there, but I think that will entail more planning to get to, so I’m not sure I would start with that. And the bathroom is off limits. Nothing is going to change in there, it is what it is and it’s perfectly fine and functional as is… though I do still need to share the little things I did there to increase the organization and visual appeal.

Anyway, so that’s where my house is currently… and that is what I’m considering to get moving in the right directions with my home? What space would you tackle first and what space do you think I should tackle first in my house?

Just remember, it’s not about everything being 100% finished. Your home is the story of the progression of your life. It should grow and change with you, so even if it is 100% done, there will still be little things that change in your space as time goes on and things happen. That’s a good thing. Let your home be the expression of you and give it the room to evolve with you.

Work Space Lighting

I am still working on getting my little home office work space fully put together so I can show you the real ‘after’ look from the shelving post a while back. I know some of you commented that you really needed to see the space finished to get the full idea of what I was trying to do there… so it’s coming.

One of the last details I am working on right now is the lighting. The work space is in our bedroom, and currently we only have a hideous single bulb flush mount ceiling fixture in the room. That will eventually change, but for now, I just need some dedicated light shining on my work space for when I am working either early or late and there’s not enough daylight filtering in to balance out the space.

I love lighting, so sometimes it can be hard to nail down exactly which piece is the right fit, but here are the options and some of my thoughts on each:

My primary concern for table lamps is I don’t want something with a heavy base that has large footprint. Since I added the shelves to get things off the surface to give myself more room to work, I don’t want to now limit the work surface by filling it in with a heavy-bottomed lamp. That said, I love the textured white look (though even the thought of dusting those little hexagons… no thank you) and any combination of white and gold is just so pretty, not to mention the soft handmade quality of the brushstroke lamp. (Gold Brushstroke Lamp by Jana Bek/BEK Design || White Honeycomb Table Lamp from World Market)

An alternate option would be to add sconces, I might have a mild obsession with sconces. They have no footprint and take up zero space so they are so useful. Alternately, you either need to hard-wire them or leave a cord exposed and hanging down the wall, and you have to anchor them into the wall as well…which ends up being more of a permanent detail or feature in your home, so if you will be there for a while, no big deal, but as this is our starter condo and it’s tiny and we likely won’t be there for too long and thus, I don’t know if this is the best option. That said, we have several nail holes and things that we will need to patch and repair when the time comes to ready the space for resale anyway so it certainly wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world and I could camouflage an exposed cord. I’ve also been trying to find a good way to incorporate sconces somewhere in our home basically since we moved in, so I don’t think I’ll nix these just yet. The industrial style piece is right up my ally I love it’s simple details and the glass shade and P was immediately drawn to the simplicity of the sleek white sconce. (Menlo Park Industrial Style Sconce found on One Kings Lane || Jax White and Wood Sconce from Crate & Barrel)

Lastly, there are floor lamps. They won’t take up any surface space on the desk, but I do have to be aware of how much physical space they take up in the room. They can be a great addition, help layer in the right amount of light for the space and even act as a focal point. The first option shown is just that-a statement piece-and it is glorious! I’m crushing on it hard, but at the end of the day, it might just be too much of a focal point for this area and end up pulling away from everything else that is going on here… plus I may not ever get any work done because I think I’d just be sitting here swooning over it all day. The second one is understated and simple while still being very visually appealing. I think the base is small enough that it could sit alongside the desk (or even slide partially beneath it) without taking up too much space, and I love that it brings in a touch of the gold tones, without being overkill. The black top mutes it down just enough to add an industrial edge to the glam gold base so the style is on point, but we have to consider the proportions and make sure the scale is a good fit for the space as well. (Studio Tripod Floor Lamp by West Elm || Black and Gold Crane Floor Lamp by CB2)

What do you think and which would you choose? I think I know which way I’m leaning, but I always love your input! Hopefully I can make a decision and get something ordered in the next few days so I can finish the work space and share the full reveal!

Work In Progress {Lighting}

I mentioned on Friday that one of the things I wanted to work on was our lighting. All of the light fixtures in our condo are the same exact flush-mount, single-bulb, basic fixtures you can imagine – in every room. They really don’t put out enough light for any of the spaces, except maybe the entryway, and they are really not attractive. Something’s gotta give.

Condo Lights

Lighting in general is something that I have thought a lot about since we moved in. From both a visual perspective, as well as a functional one, the lighting around here just isn’t up to par. I have thought about adding sconces flanking the bed, though I’ve recently rearranged the bedroom furniture, so I’m glad I didn’t do that. I have thought about layering in some freestanding pieces (table or floor lamps) but again, with the furniture not settled, it just doesn’t feel right to invest in anything too much right now.

So I opted to start in the kitchen. Here is a place where you cook, clean and spend a lot of time. You really do need a lot of lighting here. This is also a space where I sometimes overflow to the kitchen table to do work when I need a change of scenery, or to really spread out materials, drawings, notes, etc., So a single-bulb fixture with a frosted glass shade really just wasn’t cutting it.

Since I don’t know how much we are going to really be doing with our place or how long we will be here, I didn’t want to invest to much into something, so I opted for an option from Ikea. I found the Hektar fixture and figured $30 for a three-bulb down light, done. I had never changed a hard-wired light before, but I did my research, studied up and mostly relied on this video for instructions. The instructions that actually came with the fixture were really of no good for actually installing it, but install it I did.

So a few things I’m not super in love with, the electric box doesn’t line up perfectly square in the room, which on this fixture in our galley kitchen, I can really see that the whole fixture is angled in the space, secondly, the fixture itself doesn’t fully cover the electrical box, which really just creeps me out. I don’t like the look of the finished result, mostly because I feel like it doesn’t look finished.

But I did get the fixture installed, and it does provide substantially more light in the space. Unfortunately it isn’t perfect, but for a fixture that only cost me $30, it will do for now. Have you ever changed out any of your fixtures? I’ve also now realized that it is a lot easier than I could’ve imagined!

Two big things to remember before attempting a lighting upgrade in your home, if you don’t know what you are doing or don’t feel comfortable handling electricity on your own, do not attempt to do this on your own, call an electrician, or maybe your dad. Either way, reinforcements are a good idea. And most importantly, turn off the electricity to the area where you are working!

The January Cure Project

For the January Cure over at Apartment Therapy, you are supposed to make a list of “problem areas” within your space, room to room, and if it is bothering you or wreaking havoc on your day to day, write it down. Then you are supposed to decide which area you could actually tackle and get done within the month that would greatly benefit you and your space. We chose our entryway.

Entryway Update 1

The whole entryway is a bit of a struggle – or was, anyway – because of its awkward space with all the doorways off of it, small wall spaces, etc., it has always just not functioned well for us. We tried putting a chair there, we added coat hooks, nothing made it feel better. Until, I decided to add the Ikea Trones.

These little cubbies are like the best creation ever. They are a simple, stackable storage solution in a variety of colors, and I can really see how you could get a ton of mileage from them in many areas of the home. For us, simply stacked and attached to the entryway wall was the best thing we could do for that space.

Now that they are in place, there is a cubby dedicated to Brantley’s stuff, a cubby for our shoes and for now, the top cubby is used for winter. I had thought about getting some sort of more finished shelf to put on the top of the cubbies, but I’ve been really enjoying the top tray shaped area to use for our keys, gym locks, etc., it really has be acting like a great landing zone for our home.

We shifted some of the hooks around, put up a lovely frame that was gifted by a dear friend over the holidays and voila! We now have an awesome functioning entry space that doesn’t make me crazy every time I’m coming or going.

Now, if only I could find a mirror for the other wall and get a new light fixture up in there…

New Year, Time For a Cure

I have followed along sort of mindlessly with the Apartment Therapy January Cure in the past. But I haven’t really ever participated, mostly because I didn’t want to put the effort into a home that wasn’t truly mine.

This year, however, I have signed up! I know it is a little late to the game being six days into the cure, but we are only on assignment two, so if you are interested in curing your home, click over here to sign up. They will send you the assignments via email throughout the month of January and by the time we have finished the month, your home will be in better shape for the year ahead.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited to get curing! I think that being involved in design, and working so hard on everyone else’s spaces (which I love so much), it is sometimes hard to bring that home. At the same time though I want the same peaceful and organized home that I preach the benefits of to my clients. Truthfully I don’t think we are that far off, but what I like about the cure is that you start at the ground (literally) and work your way through your space.

You can tackle the whole home or one specific problem area depending on the size of your place and what feels like it needs the most attention. Either way… I think it is definitely worth take a look at.

Friday was the first assignment, and though I started on Sunday, I still managed to get it done. If you get going today, you should definitely be able to catch up.

This weekend we tackled floors. The assignment was to give your floors a healthy cleaning. And being the way that I am, I left no piece of wood un-scrubbed. I found some good wood floor cleaner, got my supplies ready and then methodically worked through each space. I started with the vacuum and vacuumed up what was there. then I removed all the layers (furniture, area rugs, etc.), vacuumed again, ran the Swiffer over the floors, then got on my hands and knees with the wood cleaner and really got down to business.

I used Method Wood Floor Cleaner, a hard-bristle scrub brush (the kind you scrub your grout with) for the corners of the rooms and where the baseboard meets the floor, and a soft rag for the main areas. While going around the edges, I noticed that we had some old dried sealing around the edges of the living room and the bedroom, so instead of just noting it and moving on, I got out my putty knife and new sealant and scoured away the old, cleaned beneath what was there and re-sealed the edges.

I have to say that it was hard work to clean all the floors, especially scraping and resealing the edges. But, I feel so much better already. The condo just feels like it is in better shape already! And after all, that is the whole point. This little detail that I’ve never paid much attention to before, has been tackled and I feel like I am being a good homeowner taking good care of my investment.

Part two of the assignment was to pick up some flowers for your home. Having just preached about this on Friday, you might be surprised to learn that I failed to accomplish this part of the task. I can make all sorts of excuses for why it didn’t get done, but really the last time I was at the market, none of the flowers spoke to me and we are going out of town soon, so I passed this weekend, and I will pick some up next time.

Time to start working on the second assignment! Who’s with me?

2014 Personal Highlights

This is the time of year when you look back on things that you’ve done, hurdles you’ve conquered, celebrations you’ve reveled in, and all the little things in between. This is a time for some positive light to be shed, but I know that it can often turn negative, and you can beat yourself up for the things that didn’t get done, hurdles you are constantly tripping over, etc., some years are going to be better than others. So as we get ready to start the next book in the series of our lives, I wanted to take a minute to run through my personal highlights of 2014, with a focus on the good and any negatives we will call challenges that helped us learn and grow!

In January, I shared the long struggle that was our home buying search. It was such a difficult process that challenged us at every turn and keeping positive was downright impossible at times. I wrote a bit about that here, and tried to give some insight into the process for other first time home buyers.

In February, we finally did find our first home! We signed on the dotted line, scheduled the movers and tore out the carpeting all within the first 24 hours.

Our small little slice of the world is the perfect place for us, and we have loved (and hated) it for almost a year now, and I can confidently say the struggle was worth it. Losing out on the other two places was meant to be, even though it was hard at the time, it was the best thing for us.

In March, as we settled in, I dreamt up a color scheme for our cozy abode and we painted the nights away. I will say that painting is something that I really do not enjoy. I thought there would be some feeling of reward in painting our first home by ourselves. But after finishing up the living room, we decided to wait on the other spaces, and eventually we will likely have a professional come in and at least touch up the moldings.

That said, P & I did still paint the kitchen ourselves, and in April, I taped off and painted the accent stripes over a few days when he was working late shifts. The bold accent was a surprise to some, and it still gets a lot of comments when we have company over, but we still really love it. It adds such a playful element to the space and makes me smile every time I glance into the space. Take a look here for more on our bold kitchen reveal.

In May we brought the most adorable puppy home (check #BrantleyBub on Instagram for a cuteness overdose). He instantly stole our hearts despite the potty training challenges of living in a condo and having to repeatedly sprint down several flights of stairs (sometimes for nothing), and I’m sure all the neighbors think we are insane for the excessive whooping and cheering we’d perform upon him actually going to the bathroom outside. Outside of the house, I began working on a living and dining room for a client whose bathroom is still an all-time favorite in my portfolio. Much like the rest of us, her projects are ongoing as the challenges of the budget and owning a home often add restrictions and make getting things done feel impossible. Both spaces are very close to completion and I promise to share them once they’ve wrapped up.

The summer months came and went without much notice, between wedding planning and working we spent a lot of time checking out our new neighborhood and dreaming of beach days and scenic retreats. Somewhere in there we managed to organize some frames and arrange a gallery wall as a focal point in the living room, which is another highlight of our home in my opinion. We actually received a few more framed pieces over the holidays that will soon be added to the wall as well, so more on that when the time comes.

Come August I got to bask in the fun of bridal showers and girls nights with some of my nearest and dearest. In September we even made it home to Seattle for a few days of bachelorette fun and a couples shower. If I had to use one word to sum up our labor day weekend of fun it would be epic. That trip was seriously so much fun. We also began work to add a closet to our bedroom that has added so much storage that I can’t express how much our life has improved with it. I haven’t shared pictures of it yet because it isn’t truly finished, but I think we will be there soon.

October was a continuation of epic fun, starting off with our wedding! It was a day that down-poured. The weather was not such a treat, but it made for a truly beautiful backdrop to our day, I’ve always loved so much about the rain, being from Seattle, and our pastor reminded us that our first date was also very rainy. Needless to say, the ceremony was so beautiful and we had so much fun at our reception and after-party that I woke up the next day and asked my new husband if we could do it all again! And if bad weather is the worst of things to come in our marriage, I will certainly take the rain! A few weeks back I shared a glimpse into the making of our big day, and hopefully in the new year I will have time to sort through more pictures of the wedding and honeymoon to share as well.

We ended the month of October on our honeymoon and started November off in Italy. For being a month about gratitude and thanks, my heart is certainly so full with love (even still) from our amazing wedding and honeymoon it might just burst. This trip (and this year) has filled me with so much inspiration and relaxation that I am fully geared up for another year of working with my clients to create amazing spaces for them.

December  has been about cutting myself some slack. I have had an extremely full year. Full of a lot of incredible and very positive things. But with all that good comes a lot of chaos. So I have been working on giving myself credit for all that I have done this year, and trying to give myself more attainable goals for things. We did have our holiday party, which I debriefed on a bit yesterday, where instead of making everything from scratch, I worked on good presentation, planning a tasty spread and a house full of festivity, cheer and ambiance.

This year as a whole has been such a wonderful year. For starters, I am now a Mrs. I am a home owner, a doggy mom, a business owner and so much more. These are all huge things! There have been times I have cried over the chaos, but there has been so much growth this year. Personal growth, yes, but also business growth-I have so many exciting projects to share with you in the new year. I haven’t ever really done a year in review like this before, but I have loved doing it! It has taken me all the way back through the blog and I’ve seen how this outlet has grown for me as well. I am so thankful for everyone who comes through and keeps me going here. I love to see the progress I’ve made with my writing, graphics and even my work that I share. I am so excited to continue this growth through blogging into 2015! If you made it all the way through this lengthy post, I can’t wait to make it through so many more in the new year!

Wishing you all a healthy happy 2015–I can’t wait to share another year with you all!