Friday, June 29, 2012


So a big trend right now is painting vertical stripes on your walls.

Emily A. Clark has a step-by-step on how she did it here. This room and the rest of her last house is featured in the July issue of Better Homes & Gardens! I was so excited to see the article that I checked it out of the library before realizing I had already received my copy at home. :)


The mom at IHeart Organizing recently posted about upholstering her sons' headboards, which are in a room that has vertical painted stripes. Follow the link below the photo to see how she transformed those beds. That's pretty amazing, too! I can only imagine how cozy it would be to read bedtime stories against a soft headboard.

And Melissa has some tips on how to paint crisp lines at The Inspired Room. 

I like how nautical the stripes make the different rooms (dining room, boy bedroom, and entryway) all feel. Now I need to decide which room I want to try this on in my house. 

My choices: 
  • Small wall in dining area
  • Master bath
  • Bela's bedroom (my daughter LOVES rainbows)
  • Griffin's bedroom (shamelessly copying IHeart Organizing :) 
And what about chevron stripes? Should I even begin to think about that?! I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kitchen Cabinets

My kitchen cabinets are a light oak color, but it appears from some of my favorite kitchen images that white cabinets are my real favorite. 

House of Turquoise

Love the stools! 

coastal living room 

Aren't these rooms gorgeous??? And definitely fitting the beach theme I am going for in our house. The only problem is that paint, like an unkind word, can't really be taken back once it's put on wood. Anyone have any tips for painting cabinetry? Have you tried it and have a story to share? Please leave a comment below. Thanks!

Lazy Summer Days

It's summer and I'm sick. Pretty sure this is allergies, but it's the worst bout I have had in years. Years! Even with young children, I don't get sick often. Lucky, for sure. But when I am sick, I am a huge baby. So it's for the best that I usually keep this sort of thing at bay. It started with brain fog. Everything was going wrong and I couldn't quite figure anything out. Then a horrible sore throat, followed by heavy duty sneezing and nasal drip. Today is worst of all, sinus pain and pressure. I feel spaced out, lethargic. 

As a result, I did not show up today. I allowed my kids to eat ice cream for breakfast and watch back-to-back episodes of Malcolm in the Middle and Spongebob Squarepants--in pajamas. They are missing out on their special summer camps because not only did I not feel up to requiring them to get dressed and eat a proper breakfast, I couldn't imagine packing a lunch or driving them there. The village is pretty far from the ballet studio and nature center. We also decided that baseball season is over. Even with two games to go...

It all really makes me feel like a terrible quitter. What lesson am I teaching them about commitment? Shouldn't we be going, going, going? Making this the BEST summer vacation ever? Why don't I have a ban on electronics? Or sweets? Are they losing everything they learned in school?

But, perhaps, are lazy summer days the ones you remember best? The ones where you get to watch your favorite TV shows and eat ice cream for breakfast. No rushing. No striving. Just being. I hope so, and in any event, there's not much I can do to change it. Today is what it is.

The up-side is that I'm spending a lot of time on the couch reading design blogs and looking around my house at what works, and more frequently, what is not working. I hope to make some changes and post some pictures soon!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Balloons, Fireflies, and Memories

Michigan Challenge Balloonfest took place this weekend in Howell. Since that is right down the road from us, the kids and I have gone for the past three years. Besides getting to see lots of brightly colored hot air balloons, there is a midway with carnival rides. Last year and the year before, we have gone for the opening of the festival on Friday night. The balloons launch in the early evening, and then after dusk, there is a fireworks show.


Every year my kids ask to go on the rides and I always say no. Until this year. This year it was not just the three of us. My parents and my brother and his family came into town to join us. They didn't arrive until after dinner on Friday night so we went to Balloonfest on Saturday. And since we were there during the day, I finally said yes to the rides! We bought wrist bands, which was a great choice for my daughter and nephew (the wonder twins!) who raced up and down the gigantic slide several times. My partner also came along for the first time. Below is the ferris wheel, which is the only ride he and I actually got to go on together, and with all three kids. :)

The midway and ferris wheel
Besides having people to go with us to Balloonfest, out-of-town family also means we have house guests! We kept things pretty easy, though, because it is summer and that's how the living should be. Everyone brought food and their own pillows; I pulled a big stack of paper plates and plastic drink cups from the pantry; and bedtimes were not enforced. I got by with some very awesome naps!

The kids wanted to have a camp-out on Saturday night so we set up the pup tent in the backyard, filled it with sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets, and strung an extension cord so the kids could watch a movie inside the tent. The boys made it outdoors until about midnight when they came inside to sleep on the big pull-out couch. My daughter had come in long before that and was already snuggling with me.
Perhaps because of the cornfield, there are usually tons of fireflies. After dark, we grabbed a mason jar and went outside to catch fireflies. Is there anything more quintessentially summer??? As my brother and I helped our kids put them in the jar, I remembered the two of us doing the same thing at our grandma's house years and years ago. I hope that this weekend was full of memories none of us will ever forget. 

I wish I had a great photo of the fireflies. The great photos of Balloonfest come from the Livingston Daily.

Open Concept Inspirations

As I mentioned, there are no interior walls in the main living space of our home (entry, living room, kitchen, dining area). 

Here are some photos of other rooms that make good inspiration for decorating our space.

This actually looks a little like my house :)

What I love about this room is the amazing custom ceiling. Our house has cathedral ceilings so this feels a little bit like a possibility. I also really love all the white including the white cabinets and the light-colored slipcovered sofas. It really makes it feel light and airy.

open concept

I really like the light-colored sofas in this room and the off-white cabinets, just like in the first room. But the dark bar stools and coffee table offer contrast that is more like what we have in our house. I am happy to see it done so successfully. We have dark hardwood in the kitchen and dining area and a dark TV cabinet and bookcase. The key to this room, I think, is that most of the accents are also light (note the white lamp base and pale blue pillows).

cute sitting area

I like the wainscoting on the bar in this room. The drywall under our bar has gotten pretty scuffed up from little feet so this seems like a great solution. (In fact, being fairly unaccustomed to drywall vs. plaster, and having active kids, I'm leaning toward adding wainscoting many, many places.) I also like the way the natural elements (jute rug, wicker chairs, and bamboo shades) also help make the room feel more beachy. For sure I could achieve a little bit of this look simply by getting one of those gorgeous big glass lamps for behind our couch.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


This is the first shot of the place we call home. 

Built in 2006--the same year my daughter was born!--our house is a fairly new construction. It is in a micro-subdivision (there are only five houses) in a tiny village on the far outskirts of Michigan's capital. The village is small enough that the ladies in the village office knew who I was before I even moved in. I suppose that could be a bad thing, but I love the small-town feel.

This is what things look like nowadays.
We moved into our home in February of 2010. Despite the snow on the ground at the time, I knew that I wanted the theme of the decor to be "beach house". 

I love the beach! 
But in reality, the beach is very, very far away. We actually live next to a corn field. That's the field behind our swing set. I swear in the summer time you can actually see the corn growing. It shoots up so quickly!

My kids playing with the neighbors. See all the corn?! :)

Come on in!

The house is 1,300 square feet with a full, but unfinished, basement. The master bedroom, en suite bath, and laundry/mudroom are on one side and the children's bedrooms and bathroom on the other side. The main living space is in the middle and is completely open. There are zero interior walls in this section of the house. There are some natural delineations: a bar between the kitchen and living room; wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room contrasted with hardwood  in the kitchen and dining area; and the entryway, which can be seen a little bit in the above photo.

This effect has been created very simply by placing a console table behind the sofa and placing a bench against the opposite wall with hooks above to hold all of our gear. Right now, the hooks are holding my Detroit Tigers baseball cap, a purselet, yoga mat, rain coats, jump rope, a plastic lacrosse stick, and a tote bag full of beach towels and our swimsuits (just in case we decide to run away to the beach!).

I've experimented with different sized rugs in this space. It's not huge. The tile in front of the door is only about 3x4. Since it is not anything too exciting (contractor tile rather than marble or something else worth showing off), I've recently covered the entire space with a 4x6 jute rug, transplanted from elsewhere in the house. It extends the space and means that the carpeting underneath won't get too muddy. While there are elements of the design of this space that I like, I see it changing in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned!


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