Browsing Category: interior design

Our Little Sofa Featured in Better Homes & Gardens Online



Okay, so if you know anything about the sofa in question, it’s that it’s not remotely little–it’s over 8 feet long. But anyway, you know what I mean. I’m super excited that our big/little sofa is part of a Better Homes and Gardens article about decorating with indigo! It’s a treat to have my work featured alongside some very talented ladies with fabulous spaces, and the article itself includes really great tips for using this bold but elegant color. Check out Crushing On: Indigo by Brittany Hayes of Addison’s Wonderland.

While you’re at it, check out some of the other bloggers featured:

And don’t forget to come back for our One Room Challenge reveal on Thursday–I’m so thrilled with how it turned out!

Master Makeover – ORC Week 5

Hi all! It’s Week 5 of the One Room Challenge hosted by Linda at Calling it Home. For those of you not familiar with the ORC, it’s important to know that it’s a 6-WEEK room makeover event across the blogosphere, meaning that this is the final update before next week’s big reveals. Just typing that makes me want to ribbon dance with joy and at the same time retreat into a closet somewhere with a large chocolate cake. We’ve run into a lot of roadblocks with this one, but after last week’s floor debacle (you may also want to catch up on Week 1 | Week 2 | or Week 3), I think we’re finally over the hump. It’s kind of like the moment on a long road trip when your destination finally starts appearing on mileage signs. The end may not be near, exactly, but at least you have some confirmation that it’s actually out there.

This week I’m happy to say that we have floors! We also have painted walls, an assembled and painted bed (after the floors ended up black, I decided to make the bed white instead), and about half our trim and baseboards installed.


Pardon the construction zone. There is obviously still lots of work being done, and this picture was taken last night with lighting that was less than glamorous, to say the least, but at least you can see that progress is happening! Our furniture is ready to go back into the room once the baseboards are complete, and most of our accessories, bedding, art, etc has been purchased. It’s kind of tough to have the stuff and not be able to move it in because of the mess we’re still making, but it will be really exciting to see the room come together quickly at the end (hopefully over the weekend).

The manual labor part of this job has lasted so long, I feel like I maybe haven’t done the best job giving you guys a sense of the pretty stuff that’s going into this room, but I promise, it’s going to be good.

Here’s a look at some of the accessories going into the room:

Accessories board

I’m also going to make a bench similar to this one I made for our downstairs bedroom:


And I have plans for this trunk I shared on Instagram a while back:


I hope you’ll come back and check out the reveal next week. It really is going to be a dramatic difference from this room six weeks ago.


Now head on over to Calling it Home and check in with the other linking participants! See you next week!


Master Makeover – ORC Week 2

Bedroom mood board

It’s week 2 of the One Room Challenge, hosted by Linda at Calling it Home, and if you missed last week’s introduction to our master bedroom, go back and check it out here, because you’ll see none of that blue and carpeted bedroom in today’s post. You will, however, see the official mood board, so stick it out through the reno picks for some pretty at the bottom!

We spent the week ceiling scraping, carpet ripping, and just generally destroying our home in the best way. You may recall from last week that we were eager/anxious to see what lay beneath the carpet, and I’m happy to report that the prognosis for the original wood flooring is mostly good. There is a small bit of complicating news, which I’ll get to in a minute, but first let me walk you through the progress.

Step 1 involved scraping the ceiling while the carpet was still in place. I wondered whether scraping would be as easy as it looks in videos, but I found that it truly isn’t that difficult. The key to scraping is to get the popcorn exactly the right amount of wet. Too wet and you can gouge the drywall, not wet enough and you won’t get the surface smooth. This was our first time with this process, so it took some trial and error to figure out what wet enough was, but we got the hang of it,the work went pretty quickly, and the look of the smooth ceilings was good motivation.


It was nearly heavenly, in fact.


Step 2 was tearing up the carpet and padding to reveal the hardwoods! Here’s a shot of the cleared room.


The floors are dirty for sure with plenty of paint and drywall dust, and it’s also easy to see where the walls were pushed back at some point. The lines where there is no stain on the floor show the original dimensions, and the doorway was very close to where I took this picture–the original room was tiny! On the whole, though, the floors are in really, really good shape for refinishing. The only small problem is that someone “forgot” to extend the wood flooring into the closets. Instead, they screwed down plywood and other random types of boards. We consulted a flooring guy who said we can use new red oak flooring to pretty well match our old Douglass fir boards, but the guy himself declined to take on the potentially tedious patch job. Never fear, though, my intrepid husband immediately said he’d try his hand at it and has already started laying boards. So far it’s going well, so check back next week to see where the saga takes us next.

I showed my original inspiration photo last week, and here’s how I’m interpreting it for our room.

Bedroom mood board

I’m trying to keep these posts snappy, since I know there’s a lot of One Room Challenge goodness to enjoy and only so many hours in everyone’s week, so next week I’ll go more in-depth on the design plan and sources for the items pictured (if you can’t wait until next week, though, just leave me a comment!).

Now get on over to Calling It Home and check out the other participants’ progress!

Master Makeover – ORC Week 1


I’m pretty excited today, because I’ve been waiting for this day for 5 months. This is true. Pretty much as soon as we wrapped up our kitchen makeover for the One Room Challenge in May, I’ve been planning to participate in the fall edition and take on our master bedroom. And now the day has finally come to put my obsessive thoughts to work and kick this renovation off!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the One Room Challenge is hosted twice a year by Linda at Calling it Home. Iit’s a 5 week event in which 20 select design bloggers and as many linking participants who are crazy enough to take it on transform one room and share weekly progress. It was a ton of fun when we did the kitchen last spring, and best of all it helped us knock out a project that probably still wouldn’t be done otherwise.

Let me show you the space and  tell you a little bit about and our plans for it.




We haven’t touched the master bedroom since we moved into our house about 8 months ago (we’re using the downstairs guest room for our bedroom), and it’s time to make this a proper bedroom. It’s an irregularly shaped space for sure (the walls were most likely moved at some point), but it’s spacious and the trey ceilings help keep it feeling open.

In terms of changes, everything is going. The carpet is coming out, and we’ll either refinish the original hardwoods or paint them, depending on exactly what kind of shape they’re in. The popcorn ceiling is getting scraped, baseboards will be swapped for taller trim, and the walls will get paint (and possibly some wallpaper!).

The design plan started with a rug that wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. I mentioned a few weeks ago on Instagram that this rug looked to be rust-colored in all the eBay pictures, but when it arrived, it turned out to be a super saturated red.


Red is definitely my least favorite color to decorate with, but I like the pattern on the rug, and my husband loves it–color and all–so I’m going to accept the challenge of decorating a room that is really me with a color that is really not. I found some inspiration that I think will help me pull it off.

(found on Pinterest, unable to track down original source–if you know it, please comment!)

The vibrant read really sings for me in this photo, so here’s what I’m going for: pairing the red with plenty of black, a contrasting color (like this gorgeous mint), and lots of natural elements.

Next week I’ll have a design board to show you more of my plan, and we’ll get a peek at what’s under the carpet! Keep your fingers crossed it’s good!

Now head on over to Calling it Home and see what other amazing projects linking participants are launching today!

Living Room Update | 1


Hello again, friends. It’s been a while (again) since I posted, and to tell you the truth I had to scramble to finish this post to get it out on August 31st and avoid having a calendar month that contained zero posts. But as the saying goes, something is better than nothing, and the something that I have for you today is, in fact, pretty good! I left you last time with an update on the dining room, since we had just (at the time) done a switcheroo with our living/dining room spaces. I promised you then an update on the new (at the time) living room space, and I finally have that for you today!

Let’s start from the very top with this space. Here’s what it looked like when we moved in in February.


Next, we have the dining room phase. This was part one of the dining room phase, when we still had our round table. There was a part two of this phase in which we had our current table in this space, but let’s just skip that, mmmkay? The dining room phase in all its parts was clearly a misguided phase.


And finally the current much-improved living room space!

IMG_7228-3 IMG_7232IMG_7238-2IMG_7231IMG_7233         IMG_7240 IMG_7241 IMG_7263

Tons better, right? I realized I never even posted a picture of the living room furniture in the other space, and that’s because it never really worked in that space enough for me to want to show it to you. Even though this space is smaller, it’s much better suited for furniture to be grouped for conversation, and of course it will be nice to use our fireplace in our actual living room during the winter.

One of the reasons we initially didn’t want to use this space for the living room was that we didn’t want the TV over the fireplace. It wasn’t even so much for design reasons that we wanted to avoid this as for a host of other logistical inconveniences, including: uneven mantle, need to potentially drill into brick, lack of ready electrical source, presence of ready heat source in close proximity several months out of the year. The solution we came up with was to house the TV on a bookcase on an adjacent wall.


I like to think this maintains the fireplace as the focal point of the room. The TV is still a little bit of an eyesore, but I hope as I get around to hanging things on the wall it will become less attention-getting. Ps, the TV console is an Ikea Billy bookcase to which we added the nifty Morliden glass doors. I love how much more custom the doors make the piece look. Right now I have them lined with fabric, but I could see doing marble paper, or a cool printed gift wrap or wall paper.

All in all, the living room is in pretty good shape, but there are still a couple projects left from the master list:

  • Refinish floors
  • Paint
  • Replace trim
  • New light fixture

Justin has been working on installing the trim (which I can’t wait to show you), but it’s definitely still going to take some time before it’s all in. We also have to add that list to replace the weights inside the windows that allow them to be raised/lowered. They were removed at some point in time and for who knows what unimaginable reason, but Justin is going to repair them when he removes the window trim. Thank goodness he is so handy because I already broke one storm window all by myself–I’d be living with Saran Wrap over all the windows in no time.

I do plan to be back with more regular updates and content as we move into fall and (say it ain’t so) winter, so hopefully there won’t be any more long periods of radio silence on my end. Hope you’ve all had a lovely summer! I bought a water color set and have been painting as gleefully as (and definitely no more skillfully than) a five year old. What have you been up to lately?

Dining Room Update | 2

Living room Now

Vintage bar setup

Hello again. It’s been a little while since I’ve had anything new for you, though I honestly didn’t realize how long until I looked at the date of my last post. The summer is positively flying by, and I’m mostly just confused whenever I consult a calendar. Can it really be July already? As I have said many, many times here on the blog, I hate winter, so you can imagine that I’m really relishing the long, warm days and plentiful sunlight. I have eaten boxes upon boxes of push-pops and creamsicles and biked through my neighborhood at dusk wearing inappropriate shoes–it’s been quite wonderful. Now if only time would slow down, or summer would last forever, things would be perfect.

Amidst all the summer revelry, we have still managed to get in some projects around the house. We’re trying to get the main floor in a DONE-ish sort of place this summer so that we can start working on the upstairs a bit in the fall. I’m rarely a girl to take one project at a time, but after having a prolonged mess on the first floor from February until very recently, it feels good to say “not now” to some things.

I think that part of the reason I ended up taking a break the last few weeks was that even as we were moving forward with projects on the first floor, things weren’t really clicking. I felt frustrated and uninspired. Thankfully–miraculously even–a couple tweaks to the floor plan was all it took to get back on track.

When our house was on the market, the previous owner had flipped the floor plan and was using the living room as the dining room (and vice versa) as shown in the MLS photo below. At the time it seemed to work really well.


Beyond seeing the furniture arranged this way, we’d also just we bought a massive couch (more about that here and here) that fit exactly into the window nook, so it seemed logical that we would use the flipped floor plan, too.

At first was okay, but as time went on, I liked the living room in this space less and less. Directly in front of the couch was the walkway to the kitchen, so traffic was constantly passing right through the middle of the room, and it was hard to arrange the furniture well for conversation. At the same time, the dining room space wasn’t working either. The table blocked the fireplace, and with a full set of 6 chairs, the room felt small and strange.

For all these reasons–and also for the sake of curiosity–I wanted to try switching around the living room/dining room furniture and testing it out with the intended floor plan. As soon as we moved the furniture, both spaces immediately made a lot more sense. The small dining room was cozy and inviting when arranged as the living room; the living room could be divided into a dining space and a display space with a natural walkway that didn’t disrupt the rest of the room. It just WORKED.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have caught a sneak peak of how things are looking in the new living room at the moment.

Blue living room decor ideas

I’ll be sharing more of that space next, but for now I want to look at what’s up in the new dining room. If you missed (or just plain forgot about) previous dining room posts, you can see them here:

IMG_5710-2Eclectic vintage living roomBissman dining table Ikea kallax shelving. Bookcase styling. Ikea kallax for record storage.

There’s still a lot to do in this room (like finish baseboards and window trim) and with the decor. We are searching for a bigger rug the chairs can sit on more comfortably, and once we’ve found that, I’m going to reupholster the dining chairs and paint the bench. The bench actually came in from our deck, so I’m not sure what we might do with it in the future. I’d like to possibly change out the legs at some point, but for now, it’s really sturdy takes up a lot less visual space than chairs, so I think it’s a step in the right direction.

How has your summer been so far?

Crazy For Colored Interior Doors

A great door can make a huge impact on the look of a room. We saw this firsthand when we switched up the doors in our last house. Disappointingly, our new house has all ugly wood hollow-core doors. I would love to replace them with old thrifted or salvaged doors; however, our door frames are rather tall, and it’s been hard to track down old doors that fit or are large enough to be trimmed to size.

This has got me looking for other inspiration for jazzing up our boring and unsightly doors. Front doors that pop have been the rage for a while, but lately I have been loving the look of bold interior doors.

Whether in a neutral, cool color, or warm color, a non-white, non-wood door can add a special something that makes an interior feel fresh.


Black interior doors via Manhattan Nest

Black doors are becoming pretty popular and for good reason. They are neutral, ground a space, and their high-contrast, dramatic look imparts a sense of instant elegance.

via Manhattan Nest

Gray is another wonderful twist on a neutral door. I love the calming effect of this light gray door in Lucille Gauthier-Braud’s Paris apartment. It brings just the right amount of interest without drawing too much attention from other elements of the decor.
Gray interior door via Design Sponge
Lucille Gauthier-Braud for Design Sponge

Cool Colors

Green is my favorite color (hello, my kitchen floors), so of course I love this dreamy green door. Personally, I find green to be a very versatile color to decorate with, which is one of the reasons I gravitate toward it so much. In the pic below, the green door brings a great sense of playfulness while still feeling at home with the rustic and modern elements in this space.

Awesome green door features in Domaine
Light Locations via Domaine

I haven’t used blue too much in the past, but it seems to be making its way into the new house more than I expected. Depending on the shade, blue can be striking, inviting (a la the first example below), or classic (a la the second example below).

Light blue interior door
found at hometalk, original source unknown, but whoever you are–your door is just grand. Love the indoor wreath, too.

Classic blue interior door via Jenna Burger
via Jenna Burger Design

Warm Colors

Yellow is definitely a color that says HI THERE, but on a small area like a door, it can provide a lovely, happy punch of color. Soft yellows can read “baby” or “dated”, but a bright yellow like the door below is super modern and chic.

Awesome yellow interior door via Redbook
via Redbook

Pinks probably wouldn’t be many people’s first choice for the common area of the home, but used in an appropriate space with a complimentary palette, a pink or coral door can look very sweet.

Sweet pink door for a girl's room via Young House Love
via Young House Love

Red is a strong color and used in large quantities can be overwhelming–this makes a red door the perfect way to incorporate this power color in a limited but pleasing way. In the picture below, the red door coordinates with other red accents to elevate and brighten a neutral kitchen.

Bold red interior door
via The Lettered Cottage

What’s your feeling on colored interior doors. Fabulous or too much?

Guest Room Update: Paint Reveal!


img_5712-TIMG_6596-TBlue bedroom makeover on a budget.

To read this saga from the beginning, see Trial and Errors in the Guest Bedroom and Inspiration for a Bold Blue Bedroom. Otherwise, press on!

Consider this scenario: You meet a guy (or gal) in a bar. Maybe you flirt a little, but it’s nothing serious, just a little chatter with a guy (or gal) in a bar. No real potential there. You go home, go on with your life, meet someone new. Things are going well, and you are thinking it could be the real thing this time. But in the back of your mind, you still sometimes think about the guy (or gal) from the bar. It’s ridiculous, yes, but it’s there.

Then, one day–maybe it’s New Year’s Eve, or the first day of spring–you bump into that guy (or gal) somewhere totally unexpected–maybe the skating rink at Rockefeller Center, or the top of the Eiffel tower as fireworks burst over head–and you live happily ever after, forever, THE END.

If you’re thinking that was a plot recap of about 80% of all romantic comedies, you’re right. But it’s also what happened to me and paint color #5 (remember paint #5?)! So, you see, these things can happen in real life. They can happen to you and the paint color of your dreams!

Bright blue bedroom. Mixing rugs. Eclectic vintage style.Hanging large art above the bed.

I changed up a few other things besides paint, but paint was the only thing I bought since the previous pictures were taken. Then, using stuff we already had, I switched out the matching glass lamps for taller, mismatched lamps that bring a little more presence and interest. I also rethought the bedding accessories. The printed pillows and blue throw were too busy and didn’t look cohesive, so I decided to go with a set of red plaid pillows Justin brought home from a yard sale ages ago with a set of yellow striped lumbar pillows I made for our TV room in the old house and a simple white lambswool.

There is a lot going on in this room, so I think bringing red and yellow more prominently into the bedding helps convey the color story in the room much more clearly. That awesome yellow mirror helps, too. Justin sweetly gave me that mirror for Christmas after I admired it in a vintage shop. I rudely gave him nothing for Christmas for the second year in a row. We had just bought the new house, and I thought we weren’t giving gifts! I have a lot to make up for this year to say the least.

Mixing patterns for bedding. Ikea duvet  and cover.IMG_6683Bookshelf styling. Yellow decor.Decorative glass hand. Croton indoor plant.

I did, however, give Justin that glass hand for Valentine’s day. Because nothing says love like a decorative severed limb.

Cheerful eclectic vintage decorIMG_6687-1

Sorry for cheesing out on you for a second there! I can’t help but give in from time to time…

It’s amazing how much bigger and brighter the room feels with this paint. Any trace of regret that I couldn’t find the matching paint for the original color is gone now for sure, and the two-tone window looks really great, too!

We still have a few things we need to do in here, like install white trim and baseboards, replace the doors (eventually), and replace the kooky ceiling fan, but it’s back to being presentable, and it’s definitely now a room I’m glad to wake up in.

All furniture, decor, art, rugs are vintage/thrifted/Craigslist except the following:

  • Duvet cover – Ikea
  • Faux lambswool – Ikea
  • Curtains – Ikea
  • Swimmer printed canvas – Ikea
  • White/woven basket – Target

As per usual, vintage + Ikea are practically the only two sources I need.

What do you think of the new paint? Cheerful, right?

Inspiration for a Bold Blue Bedroom

Full title of this post: Inspiration for a Bold Blue Bedroom that I Personally Am Not Using Because it Looked Terrible in My Space. So you see why I cut it off, right?

Pinspiration doesn’t always work, and here’s the reason: Pinteresting is a lot like window shopping. And as everyone who dresses herself knows, the clothes always look great on the mannequin, but sometimes, when you put them on your own body, something’s not quite right.

The same thing goes for rooms you see on Pinterest. Not only are the photos there often professionally designed, styled, and shot, but your home is just a different space. Maybe the ceiling height or architecture of your room is different, the exposure of your windows gives different light, or the flooring varies in color or material. Whatever the reason, Pinspiration doesn’t always translate seamlessly into your space. Case in point below.

When I presented my tale of paint woe in the guest room, I said that I had a bold new direction picked out with some fresh, inspiring images pinned to set me on my way. Here are some of those images:

 (William Waldron for Elle Decor via Daily News)

 (via with apologies--I wasn't able to track down the original source)

(Lisa Sherry Interieurs via Lonny)

(Patricia Goijens via A Beautiful Mess)

(via Better Homes & Gardens)
Edinburgh Georgian townhouse apartment living-room
(via Houzz)

Beautiful, no? I’ve been seeing these blue rooms everywhere, and I just love them. I thought it might be nice to play into the darkness of the guest bedroom and go for a cozy, dramatic vibe. Many of these rooms have green undertones, so I headed in that direction and picked a swatch in a deep blue-green to test out in the room (paint color #6).

It was bad.


And not just because that’s a bad picture. I mean, it is a really bad picture, but it wasn’t good in real life, either.

If I had emptied the room of all our possessions and started fresh with this color in mind, it could have worked, but that was not the plan for the guest bedroom (I was going to DO NOTHING, remember?).

In fact, I had a bedroom this color some years back in a rental house. I’d just dropped out of grad school and had to move at an odd time of year. I ended up living with a friend of a friend who had been in the house for some time, and the entire house was filled with her stuff save a small bedroom with old but fabulous floors and tall white baseboards. I had a futon for a bed and a dresser with zip ties for handles, but I painted the walls a color just like this, and it was awesome. But as I said, it had tall white baseboards, and it also two large windows, so it was a much different room than our guest room, too.

After paint color #6 didn’t work out and I gave up on the idea of the deep blue walls for now (some day! some room!), I took a break from thinking about this room for a few days. And wouldn’t you know, in that time, I ended up coming back around to one of the first five colors! I’m really happy with how that decision turned out, so be sure to check back for that story and the after photos tomorrow!

Wes Anderson, Interior Designer

Hi guys and dolls–I hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday weekend! Chilly, rainy weather here spoiled any outdoor plans we may have wanted to make, but I did still get to spend quality time with good friends, AND I finished painting the bedroom. I didn’t end up following through on the inspiration I claimed to have here (which is why I haven’t shared it), but the room is now one color, and the infamous curtains that caused the whole snafu are finally hung, so I’m feeling a lot more relaxed about the space. I’ll follow up soon with more details about what actually went down.

In the meantime, let’s wrap up this long weekend by talking about something FUN. Wes Anderson is one of my favorite movie directors, and of the many, many things that make his films memorable (like super quirky characters with exceedingly human motivations and perfectly curated soundtracks) his point of view as a designer is one that stands out in my mind the most.

Anderson’s films have created a recognizable aesthetic that encompasses everything from graphic design to fashion to interior design. On his movie sets, color reigns, vintage styles mingle in a way that makes the interiors seem almost outside of time, and each space feels perfectly and intimately suited to the characters who inhabit it.

Now, Anderson has completed his first real-world interior project–designing Bar Luce in the Fondazione Prada in Milan.

There are lots of pictures of this candy-colored confection out and about on the web, but one of the best collections to showcase all the details of the space is here.

It really seems like the perfect place to spend an afternoon sipping Italian coffee and wasting quarters on the Steve Zissou pinball machine. I feeling a little like I won’t have really eaten a croissant until I’ve eaten it inside one of Bar Luce’s pink and teal booths. Do take a gander at all the lovely photos of this place, and then, while you’re scheming about how to finance your trip to Milan, scroll through and enjoy lots more interior goodness from some of Anderson’s past movie sets.

The Royal Tenenbaums

Moonrise Kingdom

Hotel Chevalier / The Darjeeling Limited

The Grand Budapest Hotel

All so dreamy! Give me Margot Tenenbaum’s tub and Suzy Bishop’s window seat and I’ll be a happy camper. Which interior is your favorite?