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The Balcony Project: Inspiration

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We have a little balcony space that isn’t getting much use. With warm weather approaching we really want to start using this space for more than just storage. Our biggest issue has been that we hate bugs and we get some scary looking spiders crawling all over our balcony and some even make their way inside on the third floor! This is something I really have to address before the little one arrives as well, and it’s especially important if we want to start planting a little herb garden. I found some great privacy shade fabric online that comes in a roll to make our balcony into a screened in one. I also scoured Pinterest to find some inspiration images of what I wanted to create. For the gardening, we want to start small, maybe some kind of lettuce and also some of the herbs we use for cooking like basil, cilantro etc. We would love to try our hand at tomatoes too, but I’m not sure we have the room.

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I have my work cut out for me but I can’t wait to start working on this project too! Gotta get all three projects DONE before the baby arrives!

-S.

 

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The Baby Wall Project: The Beginning

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With only 7 weeks to go before the due date, I am in full nesting mode. We had the baby shower, received our gifts and now the closets are full of giant boxes that the Mr and I are a little nervous to open. Opening them means it’s here and we still have time! But all the big stuff has to get set up ahead of time. Living in a one bedroom apartment means the little one will be bunking with us for the time being. I would do that even if she had her own nursery, I can’t imagine having her sleep in another room!

We are lucky enough to have a beautiful handmade heirloom wooden bassinet passed down to her that was made by her grandfather. She will sleep in this precious little thing for the first few months so in an effort to save space, we are holding off on assembling the crib for now. Also because her dresser takes up so much space! I lucked out and found a gorgeous West Elm dresser at a thrift store for a beautiful price!

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We have yet to get the crib because she won’t be using it for another few months. It will be one of these two neutral beauties that will work for a future boy or girl too. This one is a collaboration with Babyletto and The Honest Company that I love. It’s sold out for now so if time becomes an issue, we will go with option number 2.

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The Babyletto Hudson 4 in 1 crib is a cooler gray but still dig the clean lines. And it’s more readily available so we may have to go with this one based on that.

 

 

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Her bedding is a pretty paisley pink from Land of Nod which we already have waiting for her!

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In the next couple of weeks I’ll working on some artwork for her wall and when it’s all put together I will reveal right here!

 

-S.

 

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Friday Finds: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

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My first Friday Finds is here! You’ll have to excuse my concept for this week as it is directly related to my pregnancy craving, one that I miss so dearly but will have to enjoy after the baby! Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream makes me feel young, fresh, homey, and new. Here are some of my favorites in the mint, chocolate and cream colors that just spell yummy treat! Here are some treats I found for the home:

1. Vintage Factory Pendant by Jayson Home. The weathering on this piece makes it great for a kitchen. 2. Brass Coasters by ahalife. How great are the geometric designs on these babies?! 3. Metal Container by Ferm Living. Use this as a swanky paper bin for your office. 4. Mint Green Fish Figurine by Lalique. So many uses for this little gem! Paperweight? On a bookshelf? In a glass cabinet? Bathroom countertop design? Endless. Love this little guy. 5. Curly Maple Triangle Board by Fort Standard. You can never have enough cutting boards. I like to have separate ones for cheeses and small fruits like figs that can stain a board. 6. Surf Wax Coconut Candle by Tilly’s. This soy blend candle is made in a coconut half shell! Who would have known Tilly’s made something so cute for your home? Or is this on here because it has to do with food again? 7. Madurai Celery Outdoor Pillow by Dwell Studio. I almost didn’t pick this because the color was “celery” but the simple beauty makes up for it. 8. Biba Plush Brown Fur by House of Fraser. Soft and cozy and an essential for any sofa. 9. Keep It Old Spool Stand by ModCloth. Useful for your craft space but also oh so cute as a decorative accessory! 10. Two-Handed Medium Bowl by !ndigo. Gorgeous stoneware in a light and fresh color for your light-filled kitchen. 11. Menu Marble Clock by Connox. This is simply perfection anywhere you place it! I’m in love with this clock! 12. Mint Square Glass Jewelry Box by Olivar Bonas. Place this pretty piece on your dresser and you’ll have bling inside and outside. 13. Up North S’mores Scented Candle by Smells Like Canada. I don’t even care how this smells, I love the label. I’m sure it’s divine! 14. Small Fern Leaf Vase by Bliss Home & Design. I would put some pretty pink flowers in this beautiful vase for my living room side table. 15. Epiphany Leather Journal by Rustico. A must have for any desk top tray, a gorgeous leather journal to jot down your notes in.

I can’t pick a favorite, can you? If so, share below then have a fantastic weekend!

-S.

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The Most On Point Quote About Design, Ever.

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“People think that design is styling. Design is not style. It’s not about giving shape to the shell and not giving a damn about the guts. Good design is a renaissance attitude that combines technology, cognitive science, human need, and beauty to produce something that the world didn’t know it was missing.”

-Paola Antonelli

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The Bathroom Project: Inspiration

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No I don’t mean a bathroom for rent… yeesh..

We scour Pinterest and drool over beautiful DIY rooms and wish we could do the same, but alas… we still live in a rental! We’ve been house hunting for two years, but that will be another post entirely. Now that we have the little one on the way, we decided to bite the bullet and stay for another year here and pick up our hunt later on when the market changes. This makes me re-think the things we want (can) do to this place. Bathrooms and kitchens are the most difficult because we can’t change the built-ins or even paint, really. But especially with more people coming over soon I really want to make it homey and inviting as opposed to the standard contractor “industrial chic” style we are forced to work with.

So here’s what I’m working with: I’ve removed a few items we had in there to really give it a clean fresh start, welcome to our bare bones bathroom:

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Pretty gnarly huh? Zero imagination here. Thanks cookie cutter apartment contractors of the 70′s. But not to worry, this is a challenge that I accept. I’m considering having the landlords change out the light fixture if I can get them to do that. I’d rather not pay for anything that could be within their responsibilities. I feel like the rest of it has to stay for now, but I can make do. My goal will be to keep the eyes going up and away from the ugly cabinetry and focus on some more pretty elements. Here are some inspiration images that I found on Pinterest:

I wonder how easy it would be to move these on the rod, but I love the idea! One less thing to worry about rusting.

 

 

 

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Functional cute and easy!

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If I make this longer, I could maybe hide the towel bar thats there, instead of having to uninstall it, which I’m probably not allowed to do!

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I think I’d fill this with flowers instead of all my messy brushes. I like to hide the actually functional things.

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I’ll definitely be working on this great Ikea hack idea from Emily Henderson, what a perfect size!

 

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Have to add some femme details. I think these dispensers are at Restoration Hardware.

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Maybe not jewelry in our shared bathroom, but love the arrow!

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I have some work to do but I can’t wait to post some of my progress too! How did you DIY your bathrooms? I’d love to hear!

-S.

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The Hunt.

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We’ve been house hunting on and off for almost two years! This should sum up my absolute frustrations with the entire process of buying and selling homes, and the current state of the market. What a roller coaster these last two years have been! While we haven’t yet taken the plunge and bought a home yet, we’ve learned a lot along the way.

We started casually looking at what was out there but not super ready to buy. We met a plethora of real estate agents ranging from incredibly sweet to some downright sharks. Some seemed to fight for your business, others couldn’t be bothered. But the one common thread with all of them that we noticed, they’re usually not looking out for OUR best interests, and mostly only for theirs. How are first time home buyers like us, supposed to feel confident that we’ve made the right decision? That we’re not getting in over our heads? That we’re not ending up with a money pit on our hands? We narrowly escaped a few treacherous properties that the agents were just trying to sell, and it truly makes sense now why you’d want to use a realtor that you personally know (if you’re so lucky).

I thought I’d share some of what we’ve learned over the past year or so, and hopefully this will help some of you who are also house hunting in this market. First you should know, California is in a sellers market. There’s a lot of buyers out there and every property gets multiple offers, leading to the dreaded bidding war. However this does not always mean these properties are not without fault.

Here’s what we learned:
-Get good comps for the area and look at what this property and other properties in the area were sold for over the last 10 years. This gives you a good idea of how the neighborhood is doing and what the rate of foreclosures are.

-If the listing looks fishy, it could be. Ask your realtor to pull the tax documents for the house. We looked at a house that was listed as “single family residence, detached” on the MLS but was actually technically a manufactured mobile home. They were trying to get way more than the house was worth!

-Never let the agents bully you into removing the contingencies of the contract for any reason. They will say it’s to make your offer more appealing and get accepted, but this is exactly how sub-par properties get sold quickly, to buyers who removed things like appraisal or inspection contingencies.

-Find a realtor you’re really comfortable with and someone who will fight for you. Not just a paper pusher. It will make all the difference in the world when your in a bidding war for your dream house.

-When you go to see an open house, don’t just walk through. Spend a good 30 minutes taking time to see yourself living there. Hang out in the kitchen, sit at the dining table and see how it feels walking through the halls.

-Although we have yet to find that perfect place for us, I feel like a lot of places we saw especially early on, could have really worked. We were too shy to pull the trigger because we felt like it was too early. Be aggressive when you want something and make it happen.

-Lastly, this one I have to remind myself of too… Stay calm. It’s overwhelming and emotionally draining. But it’s worth it. Take a break every few months and give it time. Come back to it when you’re ready. Don’t give up entirely.

Our search will continue after we settle in with the new baby for a bit. Still can’t wait to find our Petit Trianon to call home and get some real DIY projects underway.

Have you bought your home recently? What have you learned in the process? Please share!

-S.

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Who Needs Rules?

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Many of my friends and family have asked me over the years about my opinion in their decorating adventures. Springtime comes around and everyone wants to spruce things up a bit in their home with either new pillows or window treatments, upholstering a new ottoman or what have you. Many times they will ask me what they’re “supposed” to do. They want to know how “it’s normally done”? Every time I hear that question I’m truly puzzled as to how to answer and my go-to is, “well I have to see what you’re talking about to get what you mean… Really what that says is the one cardinal rule of design: there are no rules and everything depends on the space you’re working with. Sure there may be guidelines but really, your home has the answers.

One example that I will share is a recent living room project that I am currently working on for a client. Space planning for this room has always been awkward because of the way the room is set up. She can’t get appropriate seating in there, and they have never been able to agree on colors to make the room look as though it belongs. There was a hodge-podge of colors happening and no real direction. It looked disconnected.

I took the one constant, which was the beautiful and colorful rug, and used it as my anchor and guide in choosing the rest of the elements of the space. This living room opens into the kitchen and also has access to the backyard with sliding glass doors. This room has lots of natural light and beautiful scenery nearby. I chose some bold prints and some subtle prints and was able to tie the entire space together, very easily.

The answers were right there in the rug!! Observe what you have and what will definitely be in the space and pull out the colors that speak to you. Play with prints and solids appropriately and you will have your very own designer space. When people walk into this room, they will know it was well thought out, but they won’t realize how or pick out the details. It’s subtle enough to be on it’s own, and THAT is great design.

What do you think of this project? Need help with yours? Ask away!