Friday, August 30, 2013

End of Summer

I'm at work today, rocking a white lace dress for the last time before Labor Day, hot pink flip flops since it is still summer AND nearly the weekend, with my Fall nail color already on my toes. Follow me on Instagram to see more of the Life.

Here's a little wonderful song for the end of summer. Happy long weekend!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

TV Time

"We've got nothin' better to do / than watch TV / and have a couple of brews."
punk band Black Flag (c. 1982)

September. It's right around the corner. Back-to-school. Football games. Falling leaves. Warm wooly sweaters and tall leather boots. 

And, for me, the start of a new TV season!

I believe you can have a stylish room and your TV, too. Here's the proof...

via Calling it Home

If you follow Linda's blog (and you should!) then you probably saw this gorgeous room earlier this week. Is there anything more perfect than a velvety-soft sectional and a TV over the fireplace? I don't think so.

via Wayfair

When the fire is burning, you don't have to choose where to look, if your TV is mounted above the fireplace.

via Rose & Hudson
Flank it with a pair of brass swing-arm sconces for a classic look. High Street Market has a nice one here.

via Home Idea Maker

The only issue is where are the components? The DVD player/Playstation/XBox and cable or satellite box? Often with a fireplace you might have a built-in bookcase next to the fireplace that would be suitable. Otherwise, you have to get creative. 

via BHG
In this case, the mantel was deep enough to allow the cable or satellite box to sit under the TV.
via House Beautiful
Scale is important. This TV is relatively small, but it is the same width as the opening of the fireplace below it.

via The Hunted Interior
If you don't have a fireplace, or yours doesn't allow for a good solution for the components, use a console instead.

via Decor Pad
Or, create a built-in cabinet effect. I love how restful this feels with the addition of books around the TV.

We use our DVR to watch our favorite shows when it's convenient for us to do so (like after the kids' bedtime). These are the returning shows I am most looking forward to watching again.

Elementary: CBS
Person of Interest: CBS
Revolution: NBC
Modern Family: ABC
Mike & Molly: CBS
Raising Hope: Fox

As well as sports galore. If you are a football fan (or love one), you should really look into Direct TV and the NFL Sunday ticket. Let me know if you want a referral code. You will get $10 off your bill for you and I will get $10 off my bill for me. Win-win!
We also have family TV time. Last year (or is this the third season??) we fell in love with Once Upon a Time on ABC. Since it's been on break this summer, we have started watching this old gem from the late '90s:

Seventh Heaven
Truth be told, I had gotten so sick of the stupid parents on the kids' favorite Disney shows that I threw this in the DVD player one day out of frustration, not expecting or caring if Griff and Bela would like it. I just needed to see some good old fashioned values for a change, ya know? Anyway, the good news is that they LOVE it and beg to watch it. Now we are all singing, "Where can you go when the world won't treat you right? The answer is home. That's the one place that you'll find ... seventh heaven."

So, tell me, what are you going to be watching this Fall? 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sexy Laundry Rooms and a Tip for the Wash

I made a wild prediction last year that laundry rooms would be the next kitchens of home design. You know, a room that gets lots of love and attention. A place we can pretty up in order to enjoy a chore that is great for our families but boring and never-ending. My theory is if you can make it pretty, you might just get it done.

Only time will tell if my prediction is accurate, but here are a few gorgeous laundry rooms to inspire... plus my best SIMPLE tip for actually getting the wash done.

My numero uno room. I love how this one can be tucked behind closet doors. I love the counter on top of the front loaders (I have front loaders and it would be so helpful to have a counter--in fact, that may be my xmas present from my crafty dad...). I love the bar for hangers. But most of all, I LOVE that backsplash. Lots to love in a little space.

My fondness for first floor laundry rooms is well-known. I especially like this one that has been incorporated into a kitchen. This plan is not for everyone, but I think it is enormously handy. Check out the link, which is from an article on "13 Ways to Make Laundry Day Easier."

Martha Stewart
Stacking your washer and dryer is a great way to save space, and can usually be accomplished with front loaders. This room is great because of the pull-out tray between the two machines, as well as the ample shelving nearby and coordinating baskets. I also like the sinks. A sink in your laundry room is a necessity for pre-treating stains or hand-washing, and these pedestal sinks are an attractive alternative to the big, old industrial sink. (Of course, for whomever buys my current house, you can definitely live without a sink in the laundry room. Trust me.)

Hendel Homes
Another beautiful option for stacked machines is this set-up behind vented doors. You could also use louvred shutters or cabinet doors with caning... The sky is the limit.

Now for my best tip: I pre-load the washing machine with a batch of clothes. It is so simple it's almost embarrassing. But this one tip helps me to get the laundry done when it's convenient for me--not when I think I should be doing laundry, which always results in delayed loads.

And... check out Casey's post about a Suzanne Kasler-designed laundry room in this post today.

Don't let your laundry room become a laundry tomb!!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back in the Saddle

So sorry for the extra long hiatus, folks! And thanks so much for all the kind, encouraging words on my Big News! Anyway, I need a break from all the good, bad, and in-between in my life, thus a post.

Not only have I not been blogging in the past week or so, but I also have not been reading my regulars. I am out of the loop!

A few things have managed to permeate my cocoon, though. 

Talented photographer Gray Malin has a new series focusing on my favorite place on earth: the Italian Riviera.

Anthro has jewel-toned tops on sale for transitioning from this season to the next. 

Brilliant writer Laura Vanderkam has published her "what the most successful people do..." series in paperback format. You can listen to her read a segment of it on Amazon. And you should. It's so good!


Today get double cash back at Horchow when you shop through ebates. If you are not familiar with ebates, it's quite simple to sign up. Then, when you shop online you'll get a percentage of your purchase back in the form of a check from them. You can also refer friends for an added bonus (which is what I'm doing).

Better Homes & Gardens
Finally, this kitchen vignette was my most popular pin this week. I so totally want to do this with our microwave when we move. Our house is still for sale; I'm not quite sick of showings yet, but I am ready to move on...

So fill me in... What's new out there??

Friday, August 16, 2013

BIG News

Elizabeth Anne Designs
I am getting married!!!!!

Pottery Barn via Between Naps on the Porch
So sorry to show you all a winter scene, but I just had to do it because I actually clipped this page from a Pottery Barn catalog in the days before Pinterest--and not all that long after Phil and I had started dating--because I liked that it says "Sampson House" above the door. Can you see it?? That's what my new last name will be, as of sometime next year. The link has quite the story about the house (which is actually in California) and a tutorial on how to make the ornament-covered garland, too.

But since it is still summer how about a few of my favorite wedding-related movies and books?

Clockwise from top left: Polish Wedding, a weird movie filmed in Detroit that I never miss on IFC; Wedding Night, a novel by the author of the Shopaholic series; Monsoon Wedding, a beautiful party movie set in India; and The Magic Room, written by late Michigan author Jeffrey Zaslow about a wedding dress shop near where I live.

We have about a year until the big day so I'm sure I will be writing about this again and in more detail, but for now, I am just so happyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

p.s. The last image is from my secret board on Pinterest. So secret I couldn't even give it a proper name when I set it up. It's just called B&W, which is short for Babies and Weddings. There are no babies on the horizon (good golly don't you think we have enough going on with a house for sale and a house to purchase?!?), I just didn't want to put the baby carriage before the altar if you know what I mean. All of which is a moot point if I don't make the board public... So who wants to see it?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Getting a Good House Photo

When my daughter was six weeks old, one of my best friends from college came to visit. As I snapped a shot of the two of them together, Bela turned to the camera and smiled. It was as if she had been born knowing how to take a cute photo!

I think taking pictures of your house is somewhat the same thing. Clearing out the things you use on a daily basis for the purpose of getting a good picture doesn't need to feel artificial if you can think of it as your house smiling for the camera. 

To illustrate this point:


How different would this kitchen feel if there were photos, spelling tests, and crayon drawings of rainbows all over the refrigerator? Definitely how we like to live, but not how we want to pose.


Now imagine a big ugly garbage can at the end of this kitchen island. Easy for tossing potato peels as I make dinner, not so pretty for pictures.


On the other hand, this table looks more inviting because of the styling. A plump ginger jar and bowl of apples keep it simple and fresh.


Fresh flowers, yes! Toilet plunger, NO!


How would this stunning bathroom look with a toothbrush, can of shaving cream, or box of Kleenex next to the sink? What if those towels were bleach-stained and mismatched with washcloths of a different color? For our house, we actually bought some new white towels and put them out just for showings.

via Habitually Chic

This sitting area would look a lot less relaxing if the coffee table was full of remote controls and GameFly or Netflix envelopes. Even if you have to stuff these things under the sofa, make it look like your surfaces are clear.

via Houzz
This inviting mudroom would say "buh-bye" to buyers with a pile of dirty shoes by the door, or my personal favorite, a vacuum shoved in the corner. Just because it's where you store something doesn't mean that you should keep it there for pictures.

Kerry Hanson Design via House of Turquoise

This child's bedroom appears restful with a pair of color-coordinated Ugly dolls on the bed versus a row of every stuffed animal your child has ever loved.

Tobi Fairley for Designers at Home

Not everyone loves dogs (hard to imagine but so I've heard). For showings, I move our dog's bed and food & water dishes out to our garage. 

How you live is not how you want to necessarily style your room for photos. The photo above is from Tobi Fairley's blog, a designer who can do no wrong in my opinion, and in which she gets at the same idea. Her pup is on the bed for a photo in the new book Designers at Home showing how she really lives, but the room was also shot for Traditional Home magazine two years ago, sans dog.

Things definitely aren't organized the way I like them to be around our house right now, but with these guidelines, it has stayed clean enough that I'm not frantic about getting ready for showings.  
You can even apply this concept to how you prep your house for a party or guests. What do you think? Anything you would add to my list? Nicely, of course! After all how fun would an airbrushed life really be??

Monday, August 12, 2013

A House Called Four Potties

Happy Monday! It's gray and rainy here today but I had such a fantastic weekend not even the gloomy weather can bring me down. We had two showings this weekend, celebrated my lovey's birthday, and gambled and pigged out at this beautiful casino.

Despite my best intentions I have found a house that I am smitten with! The kids and I refer to it as "Four Potties." The name has a certain ring to it, I think, like Frank Lloyd Wright's "Falling Water." Of course, our name is also accurate because the house has two full and two half baths. Get out! Does it get better than that?!

Anyway, it's in an absolutely perfect location, and if I had tried, I don't think I could have found something that fits all our wishes the way this one does... But our house has to sell first, and chances are good this one will be long gone by then. Not to mention it's a tad over our fiscally-wise yet modest budget.

But that hasn't stopped me from decorating it in my mind. I spied this (pickled?) dining set on Craig's List this weekend, which I just think would be totally perfect in the space. 

I like it's modern 1960s look. It has really nice lines, has been well-cared for, and opens up to be huge (seen above). Since it was made with aprons on the inserted leaves, there's no visual gap. The pale orange cushions could be replaced, although for now they coordinate well with the wild orange wall-to-wall carpet that's there.

combined living room/dining room in "Four Potties"

There is also this piece, which would work nicely in a dining room. Oh, how I could fill those drawers with china, stemware, table linens, and more! Not to mention the top could hold a ton of liquor bottles for a pretty swanky bar. All for $75 obo.


I am thinking of something along these lines for the bar...


Apartment Therapy
That tile is pretty much to die for too, no? I would love to use something like that as the backsplash in the kitchen of this place.

Do you see my vision, or do you think I've lost my mind? Do tell!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

House Tour: Out the Door

Our house is officially for sale!

Every spare minute over the past two weeks has been spent cleaning, decluttering, and styling our house--or sleeping. Since the photos went online, I have been sleeping like a zombie. 

Anyway, brace yourselves. This house tour includes photos of spaces you have never before seen in our house.

Our open concept living area.

A view from the front door. 

The dining area. I will not miss Griffin tipping his chair back near that railing to the basement...But you can get a glimpse of the microwave cart-turned-art cabinet there in the corner. It's not too fab in real life, but it works.

The kitchen. I will greatly miss the huge walk-in pantry in the center of this photo. And the bar between the living room and kitchen. We didn't have a ton of parties, but when we did it was the perfect spot for hors d'oeuvres.

Bela's bedroom. As done as it's going to get while we live here. The duvet cover is from Serena and Lily, the gold drapes are re-purposed from elsewhere in the house.

The kids' bathroom. Cheap-o art on the back of the toilet and a basket for washcloths. I think the rainbow stripe shower curtain is so fun.

Griff's bedroom. Again, duvet cover from Serena and Lily. The drapes here were re-purposed from elsewhere in the house; they got faded and have a cool bleached-out look to them that are perfect in this room.

The backyard. The field behind us has soy this year; last year it was corn. I wish that they'd alternate with sunflowers. Wouldn't that be pretty?!

The daylight window basement. Otherwise, unfinished and unloved. But a great place for all the thousands of toys.
The never-before-seen master bedroom.

Another shot, including the bath. How nice has an attached bathroom been.

The master bath.

First floor laundry. I don't think I can ever go back to having my washing machine in the basement.

Now I'm off to see what everyone else in blog-land has been doing this week while I crammed and napped. :)


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