Thursday, August 30, 2012

designers block

We've survived the move, unpacked most of our belongings and even lived through construction. You'd think (or at least I thought) this would be the shining moment for any design fanatic. Our space is light, bright and ready for personality...except I stand here, in front of a blank and beautiful canvas, frozen.

I'm afraid to paint the wrong color, choose the wrong fabric or spending money on something that I might regret in a year. I've got a classic case of designers block. What's a gal to do? Between Houzz, Pinterest, blogs and flash sales at One Kings Lane I do not lack inspiration so I began compiling and pinning images that caught my eye. Instead of worrying about color, coordination or what rooms these pieces would go in I just let my gut instinct lead me.  I have completely rejuvinated my design spirit!  

Below are a few of my favorite finds that accurately represent our personality and will add character and color to our home.

I am learning to accept my new status as a Texan. While I refuse to kill, stuff and hang dead animals on my wall (it's seriously creepy, especially when you leave the eyeballs in) I love the idea of using throw pillows as a  tongue-in-cheek nod to my new hometown.

You might remember this fabric from an earlier post. I still love it and think it's the perfect feminine balance for those ultra masculine antlers.

both fabrics via

Love the colors and modern flare of this C Wonder dish. Elephants are also my favorite animal...behind French Bulldogs of course.  

I am dying to wallpaper a room. The powder room to be exact. Sadly this is impossible due to our textured walls (and the price of this paper, yikes) however I refuse to let that stop me. I will find a way to use this Cole & Son pattern, it's just too fabulous to pass up:  

 As I mentioned in an earlier post, my Dad is the handyman of all handymen. He flew into town for a long weekend and POOF we had a new, hand crafted fireplace surround. I'm saving the unveiling for a later post (as I might be a little behind on applying that final coat of paint) but regardless it's gorgeous. The only thing missing is this lovely mirror hanging above it:


I admit it, I like animal print. Not in the silk leopard bedsheets kind of way, but in the zebra back-entry accent rug kind of way: 

Mine came from One Kings Lane and is no longer available.
similar via

What do you have in your home that is "totally you?" How do you let your personality shine through in your living space? I'm dying to know...

Friday, August 24, 2012

before + not-so-after: bathrooms

Describe your bathrooms in one word: white.

Our bathrooms are far from complete. They lack both color and character, but phase one of mission upgrade was a success. The biggest splurge in this project was flooring. We took 3 bathrooms and one laundry room from standard vinyl to tile that we found and purchased ourselves. We had the same group that did our kitchen take on this transformation and it was absolutely worth the time and money. While we still have a ways to go, the first round of updates have left our bathrooms feeling very bright and clean with a touch of lux. 

phase one included:
- tile flooring (basketweave carrara marble & white hexagon merola )
-  rope knobs (in chrome)
- Macy's hotel collection towels (hands down, the most amazing towels I've ever used)
- Restoration Hardware extra long shower curtain (guest bath, makes a standard tub shower look fancy)
- guest accessories (tray, glass storage, bath products)
- extra large glass shower (instead of including a tub in the master bath)

future phases will include:
- paint walls in the master bath and powder room (light grey)
- accessories (storage baskets, art in the powder room)
- new mirrors (in guest and master, I'm not a huge fan of the standard sheets mirrors)
- new lighting (we opted for the standard options in hopes one day upgrading in all three)
- window treatment in the master bath (we frosted the lower half of the window, you're welcome neighbors)
- crown molding in the master

{before: master}

 {after phase one: master}

{before: guest bath}

{after phase one: guest bath}

{before: powder room}

{after: powder room}

My favorite element has to be the basketweave carrara tile.

I'm struggling most with how to dress up the powder room since the tile is rather busy and it's such a small space. Has anyone seen any fun, small bathrooms lately? The next phases of transformation will happen as buget and time allow, so stay tuned for future project posts!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

before + after: staircase

finial: an architectural device, typically carved in stone and employed decoratively to emphasize the apex of a gable or any of various distinctive ornaments at the top, end, or corner of a building or structure.

I finally have a finial. When I told my husband we were going to attach a pineapple finial to our bannister he simply nodded and said, "Great idea, honey." It wasn't until our wooden fruit arrived via ups and I saw the blank stare on his face that I knew why I had not received any pushback or questions about this design decision: he had no idea what a finial was. Truth be told, even I needed to be reminded of its proper name when I first began brainstorming.

To me the pineapple shape is extremely classic, often displayed in stone or metal at the end of grand stairways in sophisticated homes. Since our abode is a bit more humble we opted for carved wood, merely to capture the essence of sophistication and character...and to prevent our bannister from being completely bland.

staircase: before

staircase: after

We didn't have room in the budget for iron railings or decorative banisters so this inexpensive piece found online here was the perfect $20 addition. We added a clear glaze so that hand grease wouldn't cause discoloration over time and opted to keep it a natural wood tone so that it stood out from the trim and molding (it also happens to be the same tone as our rustic dining table which makes me internally happier than it should).

When updating a home it's essential to focus the big dollars on high impact projects (ie: the kitchen) and then find small, inexpensive ways to add character and personality in other, less significant areas.

finial fun fact: even the Grand staircase on the Titanic had pineapple finials!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

before + after: dining room

Until last week, I had never owned a dining table. I spent the better part of 6 years eating dinner on barstools at an island or at a cocktail table in front of the TV. Needless to say, I'm pumped that I can finally eat like an adult. So pumped in fact that my husband has asked me on numerous occassions who we are having over for dinner because I set the table for four "just for fun." Sorry I'm not sorry.

We weren't exactly sure what kind of table we wanted (as indicated by the multiple posts I've dedicated to the topic) but once the 1900's Boulangerie French Bakery Table from Restoration Hardware came into our lives, there was no turning back. I love the rustic feel that it adds to our more modern kitchen. Rustic-Modern, is that even a term? I think they call it eclectic these days but no matter how you put it, we like to mix different looks. It makes our home feel more like it was pieced together with elements that we love rather than purchased out of a catalog.

Without further adieu here is the before + after of our dining room.

{when we first moved in}


What do you think about the rustic table with the modern aluminum chairs? 

I tend to gravitate toward the clean and timeless decor for everyday, but the dinner table is the perfect place to add color to your home and play with trends. As noted above I've been pretty excited about setting the table lately so here are a few "fun" looks I've been trying out. 

Feminine + Floral

Ikat + Tortoise with a pop of my favorite color: red-orange. 

My table top resources are currently limited, but now that I have such a fab table to dress I will most certainly dedicate future posts to new themes. This opens a whole new shopping door for me (my husbands eyes are rolling as we speak). Does anyone have a favorite go-to kitchen store? Also, the one major element missing in this room is a chandelier. Any advice or suggestions?

Monday, August 13, 2012

before + after: kitchen

It's a miracle. The boxes are gone and we have finally begun to settle in. The moment we had keys-in-hand we began our first project: the kitchen. We loved the layout but wanted to give the space more personality and sophistication while staying within our budget. It was financially impossible for us to upgrade to the "gourmet kitchen" at the design center (they didn't offer the the materials or appliances we wanted anyway) so we went out on our own and hired individual craftsmen to do the work. Let me start by saying this path is not for the faint of heart. My sympathy and respect for contractors has grown exponentially these last few weeks. 
Even though we endured a few extra headaches and I had to dig deep to find patience I never knew I had, we couldn't be happier with the way our kitchen turned out. To fully appreciate the transformation, we must start at the very beginning...

{phase one: the frame}    

{phase two: sheetrock + cabinetry}

{phase three: floors, counters + appliances} 

{phase four: renovation}

+ carrara marble and absolute black granite countertops
+ basin sink and industrial faucet
+ double oven, gas range 
+ chrome hardware
+ subway tile backsplash
+ pendant lights 

goal: an open, bright, transitional kitchen 

{sink: before}

{sink: after}

{backsplash: before}

{backsplash: after}

{range: before}

{range: after}

There are still a few projects left and more personal touches to add, but we are so glad we didn't settle for a cookie cutter kitchen. It's a reflection of us and it truly feels like home.