Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Selections Series: The Kitchen

Timing, as they say, is everything.  For us....well, let's just say it's not our forte.  We never seem to plan very well.  Case in point: the last time I was in my third trimester of pregnancy, we moved everything out of our house and installed hardwoods.

Well here we are again in third trimester with our second baby and THIS time....well, we're looking at another renovation.  A renovation, might I add, that makes the last one seem like amateur hour.
This time, we're taking the roof right off and adding another story.
I feel pretty confident that this HAS to be the last baby; because this....we can't top! (literally)
I'll keep you updated along the way....but here's the exterior that we've fallen in love with:

{via Urban Building Group}
No guarantees whatsoever that our home can transform into this...but it sure is fun to have a gorgeous goal like this to reach for.

For now, I thought I'd walk you through the selection process room by room.
Though I thought I'd love this process (finally making selections for my personal home instead of a client's).... it's been much more of a challenge than I had anticipated.

For two reasons I believe:
First, because there is such an over abundance of wonderful sources from which to choose.  It nearly drives you batty after the seventh hour of pouring over bathroom fixtures and cabinet hardware.
Secondly, because I've never put my own home together in a matter of weeks.  I've always much preferred the "collected over time look" as opposed to a house that appears ordered straight from a magazine.

So in an effort to make your hunting easier {should you be in the renovation habit as well}, I thought I'd share my favorites so far for each room.
For today.... here are my top picks for a classic and elegant kitchen.
Here's our current kitchen before and after the hardwoods:
It's functional for sure; but there's no big WOW factor.
We hope to change all of that by gutting it completely - taking out the back wall of cabinets to open it up to the rest of the house and borrowing quite a bit of space from the adjacent morning room.  Most importantly, we hope to add an island that truly becomes the centerpiece of our home.  Plenty of room for cooking, studying, and chatting, and chopping - all at once, even.

So after hours of searching for deals and scouring every crevice of the Internet, here are my choices for a more updated look:

Cabinets:  Shaker Style White Cabinets win every time in my book:
Source: We will order ours from Aristokraft (Although their Shaker style doesn't officially come on the market until April, this will be perfect timing for us)
I also loved the look of glass uppers without the panes - keeping it simple, fresh, modern and crisp.

Cabinet Hardware: It's Restoration Hardware for the win!
Either of these choices would be beautiful and classic in any kitchen:
Asbury Pull

Source : Restoration Hardware Lugarno Pull

Though I could have found less expensive options, I love the fact that Restoration Hardware offers sizes ranging from 3" to 8".  This will allow for a uniform look on all sizes of drawers.

Lighting: Though any of these choices will most likely blow our entire lighting budget, show-stopping pendant lights over a large kitchen island are a MUST in my opinion.
Here are a few of my favorite options:
{via Decorpad}
Source : Restoration Hardware Harmon Pendant
{via Decorpad}
Source : Shades of Light Quad Hanging Lantern

{via Pickell Architecture}
Source : Restoration Hardware Keynes Pendant

{via Sand and Sisal}
Source : Shades of Light Oversized Cone Pendant

Countertops: Of course I love the look of real Carrera Marble; however it's so delicate.
As an alternative, many are leaning towards Quartz.  No worries about staining or etching here:
Just loads of gorgeous gray veining!
Source : Caesarstone Quartz  
(My top pick from them is Frosty Carrina; although there are several great options to choose from)

Backsplash: I love the look of a High Gloss Subway Tile.  In my opinion, it adds a bit more drama and sparkle to the room.

{via Decorpad}

Source : Mission Stone + Tile

Kitchen Sink:
{via White and Gold Design}
Source :Ikea's Farmhouse Sink is always an easy choice in my opinion.

And finally...The Faucet:
You can't beat the price on this bridge-style faucet from Overstock!
Source : at $165, this was the best deal I've found by far on this gorgeous style.

Still LOTS more kitchen decisions to come, I am sure.  
But for now... it's on to the baths!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Card Season!

I love Christmas card season - that magical time of year when checking the mail becomes the highlight of your afternoon instead of just another dreaded, mundane chore.

When credit card offers and Target ads are accompanied by colorful envelopes and friendly faces of friends old and new....Christmas is almost here!

This year, I enlisted the help of Tiny Prints for our cards.  I was amazed by their selection and the ease of the whole ordering process!  They made it SO easy that I miraculously already have ours sitting here waiting patiently to be sent out the day after Thanksgiving.  That NEVER happens!  Ever.
And, with little baby boy Knotts on the way, I feel sure that this will most likely never happen again.

Getting these daily surprises is wonderful indeed; but year after year, I seem to struggle with how to find them a fitting place in my home.  Because you know those sweet moms put MUCH thought into coordinating Christmas outfits for the kids, enlisting the help of their favorite photographer & carefully selecting the PERFECT card to sum up a year in the life of their families.  (Or is that just me?)

Regardless these beauties need a spot to shine this season.  Because...truly opening them is only half the fun- the real joy comes in seeing these sweet faces every day in that magical time between Thanksgiving and New Years.

You could always go the tradition route of ribbons and clothespins or sit them atop a mantle.  Both great options.  If you're like me, however, and are up for a little DIY Christmas card challenge, I think you'll like this easy idea:

1.  Find an old frame (shop your house or Goodwill first...you  never know what you'll find for little to no cost.)  Just be sure it's large enough to hold all of those gorgeous friends of yours.
I ran across this one while thrifting last Saturday:

2. Give it a fresh coat of paint (if needed.)  I just dry brushed ours with a coat of Annie Sloan's Paris Grey Chalk Paint.  I wanted some of that gorgeous wood to show through and add a little dimension as well.

3.  String twine across the back and attach with a stapler!  It's THAT easy!

4.  Start hanging those cards just as fast as they roll in!
(If your frame fills up quickly, rotate the cards as much as you like.  The extras could always be compiled into a little coffee table book....just punch a whole through them, tie a ribbon & admire your fabulous friends all season.)

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Some Thrifty First Birthday Party Tips!

There I was on the night she was born holding my baby Elle in the hospital- stroking her buttery soft skin, looking deeply into her eyes, still with their "newborn blue" hue and imagining. . .
her first birthday party, of all things!

I can't begin to tell you why my mind went there.  Maybe it's my real love of hosting others in our home, of all things gold and glittery, or maybe I was already secretly anxious about keeping up with our Pinterest crazed world's new idea of what a first birthday party must be.  Regardless, my crazy, sleep deprived brain went there....on day ONE of her life!!

Somehow, though, as the months went on, it faded in its importance.  (Or maybe got slightly interrupted by real life- diaper changes, long nights, doctors visits...you know, all the stuff that never makes a Pinterest board.)  In fact, I never gave it a second thought until a few weeks before the big event.  I like to think we were too busy making memories to spend precious hours crafting party favors and designing invitations.
But when it came right down to it, I did want it to be special!

With a little creativity, a few trips to Michaels and a LOT of imperfections, Elle's party came together relatively quickly.
So for any other new moms who, like me, want to keep it simple, classy, special but somewhat inexpensive, here's some tips that I hope will help:

1.  Skip the expensive cake.  Most likely your sweet one won't smash it at all.  When I was first scrambling to find the perfect cake, I called several bakeries in town.  Most quoted me $75 or more to feed our 15 guests and a small cake for Elle.
Not realistic! (for us at least)

Plan B....call Publix (or a similar grocery instead).  They usually only require a 24 hour notice and will make a cake exactly to your specifications if at all possible.  In our case, I wanted the cake to be symbolic of the party as a whole - simply yet stylish.
With this in mind, I had them skip the fancy decorations, edible flowers, and Disney toppers.  Instead, we got a a PLAIN WHITE CAKE.  I figured I could take it from there.
The kind-eyed older lady behind the bakery counter must have felt sorry for Elle:
"You mean no color at all?  Not even some pink balloons on top?"
"No, ma'am.  Just plain white please.  Thank you."
(Definitely not mother of the year in her book, I can tell you that!)
Opinions aside, she sweetly obliged and for $20, we had our white cake and a free smash cake for Elle!
After adding some of my own decorations and a touch of edible glitter from Michaels, we were on our way:

2.  Make it by hand! This was  hard for my Etsy-loving, non-crafty self.  But I just dove right in, knowing that it would be far from perfect and accepting that in my mind before-hand.  
(Working on giving up perfect these days, if you couldn't tell!)
I even let Elle join in on the fun and what could have been just a click of a button turned into a great mother-daughter experience.  
Don't get me wrong, I'll be back, Etsy.

These are inexpensive letters from Michael's that I spray painted gold.
And then added some extra tissue paper from the tassels that I made for the backs of the chairs:
(see below)
The tassels probably cost $5 max but added a great pop of color to otherwise seating.
Here's a quick and easy TUTORIAL on how to make these!

Next, I bought some colorful felt and cut quick shapes and letters to dress up Elle's chair a bit.
The chair, by the way, was hiding in our garage!  It was its original brown color; but nothing a quick can of spray paint couldn't fix (I believe the color is Valspar's Catalina Mist).

3.  Fill the room with people you love and that love your baby well...they'll forgive you if the food isn't exactly perfect.

We opted for a Southern BBQ theme.  We were able to feed 15 people for about sixty dollars!
Our menu:
-Homemade barbecue and sauce (made by my talented husband)
-Corn on the cob
-Collard Greens
-Baked Beans
-Crock Pot Mac n' Cheese

Nothing fancy....but what we all really wanted was cake anyways, right Elle?

 4.  Shop your house for decorations:
To add a hint of gold, I sacrificed a few of our ball jars that we have laying around the house.  If nothing else, I can pull them back out at Christmas.
The table runner is an unused drop cloth that was hiding beneath some piles of fabric in my closet.

This high chair got a makeover and added just the right pop of color to balance out all of that pink!

"Ellie" the Elephant added some whimsical charm and pink straws are always a good idea!

Elle's wagon held gifts and was very helpful in containing them all after she'd opened them as well.

An old ladder that usually holds baby blankets in her room, showcased a year's worth of Elle pics for the guests to remember.

5.  Take some time to thank the ones that have made this first year so much more wonderful!
Because, really...it takes a village!

Each of our guests were greeted with a small gift....a Shutterfly book of Elle's first year highlights along with a letter thanking them for all that they've done to make this the best year of our lives!
I wanted to be purposeful in making this day - not just about Elle- but about the appreciation we feel towards all that love her so well. 
As I heard one of my favorite authors- Shauna Niequist- say at a conference a few weeks ago:
"When people leave your home, the heart of hospitality is for them to feel better about themselves and not better about you."
Because at the end of the day, it was never about the decorations, the cake, the food, or even the budget...it was about creating a warm space for those who love our daughter so well to be appreciated, to be loved, and to be nourished.  
THAT is what made this day special!
Well, that....and this sweet thing:

Happy Party Planning!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My ABC's of Home Decor

Maybe it's because I spend most of my days reading ABC books, singing the ABC song, or even practicing ABC sign language with Baby Elle; but I thought it would be fun to compile my favorite interior design trends, shops & resources into ABC's .... 
Crisp Interiors style.
Allow me to introduce to you my favorite sources and trends:
A is for Anthropologie ....
as if it could be anything else
I'm in love with their rug selection.... this one {Kiara rug} was a contender for Elle's "big girl room."

B is for Brass....
It's back in a big way and I can't stop dreaming of it in our kitchen remodel.

C is for Celadon Home...
my idea of the perfect store.  Located in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. - it's the most wonderful mix of eclectic elegance.  
**They even have a huge warehouse with lots of scratch & dents pieces that can be scored for major discounts **

D is for Domino Magazine....
my guilty pleasure and greatest source of inspiration
Basically it was Pinterest before there was Pinterest.
It went away for a while; but I couldn't be happier that it's BACK!

E is for Etsy...
and because we all know it's easy to fall into the black hole abyss of all of Etsy's goodness, I've narrowed down some of my favorite shops:
{EarthCadets: that's where you can find these fun pillows.
BrandMeBeautiful: love her for helping me with this blog design.
PaperPleaseStudio: for the most dreamy business cards around.
TheDedicationCompany: for the sweetest lockets with personalized notes inside
PBandJBabyChic: for the sweetest baby gifts - the wonderful owner will customize just about anything for your little love}

F is for Furbish Studio....
The Queen of Pattern Mixing, Jamie Meares of Furbish Studio gets it right, every single time.
Check out their store for TONS of inspiration!
{it'll make you instantly happy, I promise.}

G is for Grasscloth Wallpaper....
especially with a subtle hint of metallic.
Several of my favorite sources are Phillip Jefferies, Burke Decor & Thibaut

H is for House of Belonging...
one of my favorite Etsy shops, these fun prints sure can make a room.
We just ordered this one in gold for Elle's "big girl room"

I is for IKEA...
especially when you're in the mood for modern and black & whites, Ikea is the way to go.
Lately, I'm loving this rug and am so tempted to design a whole room around it- though I couldn't come close to the perfection of this room by John Jacob Interiors.
{see my previous blog post for all of my favorite Ikea finds}

J is for John Robshaw...
if Jamie Meares of Furbish Studio is Queen of Pattern Mixing, John Robshaw is most certainly the King of Textiles.  His prints and patterns are smart, stylish, yet so livable!
Seen here in the home of Brooke Shields, his fabrics are perfect for pillows and upholstered pieces alike.

K is for Kilim....
a perfect way to bring color into an otherwise neutral space, these rugs are rich with history.
{see my previous post on kilim rugs for a complete run-down of their history and my favorite sources}

L is for Layla Grayce...
featuring over 400 brands, LG always seems to get it right!
I'm especially in love with this Oly Studio Meri Drum Chandelier:

M is for Millie + Marge
OK so it's not home related at all...but I just had to share my gorgeous friend and her equally gorgeous jewelry with you all.  Check out Courtney's facebook page here for some boho chic pieces that you'll want to style every outfit around: 

N is for Navy {Walls}...
A subtle and chic splash of color that makes small spaces come to life.
{Benjamin Moore's Hale Navy is always a winner in my book}

O is for Oushak...
Not to be confused with Kilim Rugs, these Turkish beauties are known for use of silky wool. 
My favorites are those with a faded look, as if they have been used for centuries before.
I've found my favorite Oushaks at flea markets from dealers who import directly from Turkey.
However, there are some great finds on Ebay, Etsy, and One Kings Lane {where this pale blue runner was spotted.}

P is for Pastels....
they were all over the Spring market, proving that they're not just for little girls rooms any longer.

R is for Restoration Hardware...
a go-to for "forever pieces" and nursery inspiration.
They take neutral to a whole new level of beautiful.
{and thanks to Elle's Aunt Anna, we love having this rocking sheep in the nursery at our house}

S is for Serena & Lily...
Originally  known for their fabulous nursery decor, the Serena & Lily duo has expanded their horizons to all parts of the home: bedding, art, decor, kids rooms - you name it!
I do believe I could decorate my entire home with just their products.
I'm loving these fun and livable kids chairs for Elle right now.

T is for Teepee's...
{in kids rooms of course.}
I've found so many that I love for Elle on Etsy - but they look super easy DIY as well.

V is for Victoria Hagan Interiors...
a designer for the ages, Ms. Hagan gets it right every.single.time.
Her signature furniture line is equally as lovely.

W is for West Elm...
currently dreaming of their cushy Kasbah rug.

Y is for Your Own Home....
one of my favorite decorating tips is "shop your own home"
When you need to give a space new life, start with a blank slate and then shop around until you find the perfect medley of treasures.  Just present them in a new way.
You won't have spent any money and you'll feel like a true HGTV star!

Z is for Z Gallerie...
I always pop over here when I need a quick shot of inspiration.  
Their unique and quirky style always leaves me wishing I had an unlimited budget.
{Especially for things like this perfect office desk}

Now...for those of you loyal readers who made it all the way from A to Z.....thank you for hanging in there with me for the longest post ever!  
**Bonus points for some suggestions for the letters I left out** 
 I struggled with Q, U, & X
Would love to hear your favorites for these though.

Now, off to sing some ABC's with my girl!
Happy Hunting!