Friday, May 30, 2014

Best of My Nest: May

It's the end of the month and that means it's time for the Best of the Nest! 

Simple Details // Shine Your Light // Driven by Decor // Dimples & Tangles
Click on the links above to visit any of the four fabulously talented bloggers and the link party!

My best of the nest for May is my One Room Challenge room, which I call "the keep." Like the keeping rooms of olde, this sitting area is directly off of my kitchen.  

For today's party, I want to show you how the room looks a few weeks post-reveal.

The bar'moire was a big hit! The fern was part of my original design plan but I didn't find one in time for the reveal. This one is HUGE! I love the way it brings the outdoors in and makes the space feel more like a garden room.

The bar'moire from the side. I hope to be able to keep this fern alive! I tried to buy one that could handle poor treatment...

I was also waiting on this set of Barzina lattice planters from Zinc Door. It was part of my Polyvore Project Decorate contest winnings. I moved the (silk) orchid up here too. It adds some height, color, and interest to the space I think.

The wall above the sofa got the beginnings of a paper treatment. I bought this marbled paper from Minted. One set equals five sheets. I probably need more, and I probably need wallpaper glue. But I like the way the swirls play off of each other and I love the pink and orange colors.

The gooseneck lamp mimics the marble whorls. 

And this is how I was done with a project and then complicated it into undoing...  :)

High Five Friday

It's Friday!!! Let the party begin!

The High Five Friday features my five favorites from the week.

1. Keri Russell

We've been catching up on episodes of The Americans the past few nights. Set in the 1980s and featuring Keri Russell as a suburban mom with a secret identity as a KGB agent, it gives me a Walter Mitty-esque thrill. After all she and I are about the same age and even have the same name, so it's rather fun to think that I could beat up someone twice my size!
via Elle Decor

I happened to stumble across a story about her brownstone from the June 2011 issue of Elle Decor this week. One of the things I like best about the space is how much of it has been recycled or reclaimed. The closet rod, for example, is made of plumbing pipes. Yet it looks so chic and glamorous thanks to the neutral palette and thoughtful use of different textures.  

via Elle Decor
2. New Series 
Which is a great segue to an idea that has been tumbling around in my brain for awhile: decorating on a budget in an intentional, unapologetic way that looks both beautiful and luxe. There are definitely people doing this already but I think I have a unique perspective. I hope to write a lot more about it in the coming weeks and unabashedly share things I have done around our house. 

3. The Power of Small
The other thing that's preoccupying my mind lately has been my desire to get better at the details, the little niceties of life. It is definitely something that I struggle with as a big picture thinker and someone who flutters off to the next thing before finishing    To that end, I'm reading the book The Power of Small right now. I hope to be able to write more about how it influences me in the near future.

4.  Happiness Project Halfway
I started a #100dayshappy project in April that ends the day after my wedding, which is now only 50 days away. So far I am happier. I think it's working! The intent of the project is to photograph something everyday that makes you happy or is a symbol of your happiness. It's a good way to reflect on all that is right with the world.

via Miss Selfridge

5. Dressy

I am on the hunt for a good shift dress for summer. A shift is just the right amount of girly and functional. In the right dress, I feel like I can conquer the world. I love this one, which sadly is not available. The lace and pompoms are so fun.

Have a fantastic weekend!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Fixer Upper

Not to rush through life too much, but the best part of a three-day weekend is that today is already Tuesday! 

I really love my downtime on the weekends, and this past holiday weekend was no exception. Even if I was woken early on Saturday morning to a puky kid. With lots of rest, she was feeling like herself by bedtime. And at some point during the day, while she watched My Little Pony, my son and I headed over to the local library.

I picked up Mary Kay Andrews best seller, The Fixer Upper, among other books. And while I'm not quite done with it yet, I am thoroughly enjoying it. If you didn't read it back in 2009 when it first came out, you should definitely put it on your list for summer reading this year!

It's all about Dempsey Killebrew, a 20-something lobbyist whose life turns upside down due to a political scandal. She ends up in small town Georgia to fix up a dilapidated family home. Turns out she has an affinity for interior design and read shelter magazines while as a break from the rigors of law school. As an aside, does it seem like there are a lot of people involved in the law who also love decorating??

In honor of the book, a few images that inspired me. 


Dempsey's favorite designer is the Prince of Chintz, Mario Buatta. This Palm Beach bedroom might be my favorite of the many rooms he is known for.


A fun tote bag from Lyford Cay in the Bahamas where the scandalous part of the scandal occurred. 

W.G. Kirk on Flickr

Guthrie, where the family home is situated, isn't a real place that I could find on a map, but the book mentions that Griffin, GA, is nearby and that is a real place. It's ten times bigger than Guthrie but has lots of the small-town Southern charm I imagine Guthrie to have.

And a beautiful Southern home, also in Griffin, to imagine decorating.

Are you reading anything good? Summer books are my favorite!

Friday, May 23, 2014

High Five Friday

Happy Memorial Day weekend! We are supposed to have beautiful weather for the next three days and I am so excited! I have summer fever in a big way! 

Here's the snapshot of my week--what I like to call the "High Five Friday":

1. Opening the Pool
In Michigan, Memorial Day weekend is when most families with pools open theirs for the summer. In our case, I'll be blowing it up, but whatevs, it'll still be nice to sit beside while my kids frolic.

2. We are all made of stars
This five-question quiz felt surprisingly accurate for me. I am the Phoenix, rising from the ashes.


3. Give, Give, GiveWe can't all be philanthropists, but like me, you may have lots of stuff in your house that you no longer need or love. I gave away bunches of it yesterday and it made my house feel so much lighter. It was a little sad to acknowledge that my kids are getting too old for things like Play-Doh, but knowing someone else can enjoy those things makes me feel good.

4. Rug Love
Joss & Main has some more rugs that would work great in my house.

Cori Rug
 I love the citron border on this one and how it plays with the blue abstract.
Leila Rug
This overdyed rug is a gorgeous classic modernized by the turquoise color. 
Here's an invitation if you haven't joined Joss & Main yet. It's an affiliate program, so when you join and make a purchase I get a bonus. Win-win!

5. Rockin'
My maid of honor and I met up last night at a huge farm market in Lansing called Horrocks. They have a free coffee bar and the most amazing plants at great prices as well as all kinds of goodies inside their store. I got a HUGE fern and some red geraniums that all barely fit in my car. And then, this drum-off, is how I woke up this morning. Whoa!

And let's not forget a big THANK YOU to the armed forces who fought for our freedom! Wishing you all a happy weekend full of sales and BBQ!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dining in the Kitchen

Since we're thinking about remodeling our kitchen, I'm also thinking about our dining area. Our house is a tri-level, and this level is very open. In fact, the entire ground floor has the same blonde flooring. 

The table where we eat our family meals is situated in the front of the house between two windows: one facing the street and one on the side. There's a third window that is also on the side of the house, heading toward the kitchen area, where we currently have a console table set up as a buffet.

Since I love a banquette I think it would be fun to add one under the front window and use it in conjunction with the chairs we already have. 

Lulu & Georgia

Next I imagine this rug underneath the table. Currently 25% less for Memorial Day! I like that it mixes blue-green and an almost black color. Not to mention it's so dark that it would hide a lot of spills!

This tablecloth to top it all off. H&M is opening a store in our local mall and I cannot wait to shop there!! They have the absolute best prices! This is only $17.95. 

Gray Malin

And on a completely unrelated note, did you see Gray Malin's new images from La Dolce Vita today? I am in love with his work! Someday I want to travel to the Amalfi coast just to see the beautiful beaches he has photographed. Which led me to discover this blog post about Lake Como (George Clooney's hangout) vs. Amalfi... Where would you rather go?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Thanks, and Kitchen Dreaming

It has been far too many days since I last posted. And I want to begin by saying THANK YOU so much for all of your kind words about my One Room Challenge reveal! Kindness is free but it made me feel like a million dollars. So, thanks! :)

While the blog was on silent mode for the past 11 days, we discovered what the next big project will be at home. My neighbors who saw food delivery at my door three nights in a row last week can probably guess the answer!

Our kitchen. It features a wall oven and separate stove top. Since I had always wanted wall ovens, I was secretly thrilled about this when we bought our house last year. Once we moved in, though,we noticed that the oven is really teensy on the inside. And it juts out into the kitchen in a strange way. All of which would have been perfectly fine except that recently we noticed it was taking forever for the oven to pre-heat. Bottom line: it's broken and we can't make oven meals. Including brownies. :(  While we could have the oven repaired, when you factor in the lack of a dishwasher and drawers that don't quite all close properly, it's three strikes you're out! Time for a new kitchen!

Luckily I have 500-plus pins on my kitchens board on Pinterest to give us inspiration!

Our house has fantastic light with lots of windows. To play off all that light we are leaning toward white cabinets. I like the way butcher block on the counters looks with the white cabinets. I've also read that the wood can take a beating!

This kitchen is from Desire to Inspire, which has loads of advice about using butcher block counters.

I also like having a mix of shelving and upper cabinets. The everyday dishes are more artful when displayed. I think that it makes it a bit easier to put the dishes away, too.

Traditional Home
To further enhance the great light in our house, I want to replace the back door with a full-view one like in this kitchen. No better time than when we're already renovating, right?

via Haute Design
Metal cabinets are also a modern look that I really love. The reflective surface could be good for bouncing the light around the room in a similar way to lacquered white cabinets.

via Urban Orchard Interiors
Do we want an apron sink? Or will it feel too much like a farmhouse? I think this one is so great and I love the huge windows with the frames painted black for contrast.

via Better Homes & Gardens

This little nook is the right amount of modern for our mid-century modern house, and a cute way to handle a stand-alone microwave. I'm not sure what we'll need or want to do about a backsplash. The kitchen has cinder block walls like our living room, which seem pretty sturdy on their own.

via Apartment Therapy
IKEA cabinets are a choice we are leaning toward for their clean, modern look and low price. There are loads of articles out there about buying an IKEA kitchen including the one here

The elevated table in the kitchen above is another option for replacing the peninsula that is currently in our kitchen. The above table doesn't offer any storage but I've seen others for sale online that do have an undershelf. I think I would prefer cabinets in my island.

via HomeBunch
I am really drawn to the idea of a waterfall counter for the new island. See how the pattern goes over the side? Like a waterfall? There are lots of great examples such as the one above or the next one.

source unknown
In fact, maybe there are too many wonderful examples and it's going to be played out before I get it paid off? Just to be safe, I ordered a sample of the mind-bending Formica that looks like marble and was used in Pam's ORC kitchen.

Last but not least, is the decision on the appliances. I like the look of a stainless steel range
via Remodelista

but white for the refrigerator. And the dishwasher? I really don't care. I'm just over washing dishes. In fact, I broke a glass last night which resulted in some cursing and stomping. Realllll mature...
via The Inspired Room

Anyhoo, I'm hoping that we can do this cheap, cheap, cheap. We'll see how that goes. Any tips I must know? Any favorite trends to try or things to avoid? Please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

One Room Challenge: Reveal Day

Welcome to week six of the One Room Challenge Link-Up! In six short weeks I took a boring, neglected spot in my house from this...

to this >>

And turned a china cabinet into a bar'moire.

This was a pretty inexpensive and easy makeover (no construction involved). A list of my sources for the items in the makeover.

Garden stool: $52 (Tuesday Morning)
Orchid: $25 (HomeGoods)
Chair: $25 (April's Antiques)
Mirrored frame: $35 (Target)
Flamingo art: free (Sarah M. Dorsey)
Rug: free (Zinc Door)
Wrapping paper on back of shelves in bar'moire: $3 (HomeGoods)
Paper straws and elephant paper napkins: $10 (World Market)
Batik napkins, giraffe bar towel, blue vase, champagne flutes: free (Zinc Door)

Did I really spend less than $150 to remake this room? I suppose it helped a ton that I had won a gift certificate to Zinc Door. (Thanks so much, Albertina and ProjectDecorate!) The rug really makes the space feel like a room. There are a few more things that I purchased from Zinc Door that won't be shipped until later. I'll post an update when they arrive.

The rest of the items were things I already had. The gooseneck lamp was something a friend gave to me. I removed the glass shade and added an appliance lightbulb to make it look more interesting. The salvaged frames on top of the bookcase were from a project at my day job; the photos are pictures I took of my mom's garden several years ago. The window treatments will hang out for awhile longer. Eventually I'll replace the rest of the drapes on this level of the house and I've decided I want to go for a cohesive look.

Thanks so much to all of you who commented and cheered me on! This was such a great way to get to know other bloggers and I hope you will go check them out here and here. And thanks most of all to my "blogging fairy godmother" Linda who masterminded this epic extravaganza. #longlivetheorc {because god knows I have a lot more rooms to fix up!}

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


My fifth grader has a compulsion to tell the truth. That's the only way to explain him telling his teacher that I might not be able to go on his field trip this week. I am sure that this truth-telling gene will be something I appreciate when he is, in fact, a teenager. {As I was searching for summer camp options I noticed that his is the face of the teen camps here.} 

But for now I am consoling myself with chocolate and the Christmas morning of the blogging world: One Room Challenge reveal day!!!

Each blog post is like another fantastically wrapped gift under the Christmas tree.

I also included the four(!) books that are on my nightstand currently. 
Miss Manners Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding// The Lawyer Bubble // Dream New Dreams // Agenda 21

Miss Manners is obvious since I am planning a wedding. The Lawyer Bubble is for work. Agenda 21 is about a dystopian future where mothers aren't valued (kind of a good selection for Mother's Day). And Dream New Dreams was written by the wife of the Last Lecturer.

And here's a song for Mother's Day. I suppose I can console myself that I am not Debbi Mathers, whether I go on that field trip or not...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Blue and White for Lovers

This month Mitch and Cam of Modern Family will be the first gay couple to get married on network television! In honor of their nuptials (and because I spent the weekend registering for my own wedding) I am dedicating today's post to gifting a blue & white collection and linking up with the Pink Pagoda's May bash. Please head over there to visit all of the other blue and white inspiration!

The first choice for a wedding gift in the blue & white family is something with the double happiness symbol. According to Jan-Erik Nilsson, an expert on Chinese pottery and porcelain, the Chinese character "shuang xi" is the recognized symbol for "wedded bliss." Furthermore, the decoration of sweet pea vines symbolizes "forever" and "many children."

An eBay search for "double happiness jar" can help you find an antique gift, or you can purchase a beautiful new jar in our host's shop or a set from Wisteria. I also really dig that platter from Wayfair!

Christies / Amazon / Overstock
An umbrella stand is a great wedding gift in lieu of something more traditional. It has the weight and heft of a crystal vase, but with the added height and interest of a ginger jar (at generally a lower price point). Ginger jars are awesome, though and can be purchased here, here, and vases here.
Bed Bath & Beyond

The oldest china pattern still in production is Blue Willow. This platter is from Bed Bath & Beyond; however, Blue Willow is sold just about everywhere (Overstock, JCP, even Wal-Mart); prices can vary so it pays to shop around.

Crate and Barrel
This plate from Marimekko is mid-century modern, but might play nice with Blue Willow for a little pattern love across the centuries. Crate and Barrel's site says it is not available for purchase online but it is available on the Marimekko site (which is worth a look for its own sake).
There are so many gorgeous blue and white patterns for dishes including the aforementioned Blue Willow and Marimekko. I also like this one from Horchow which feels to me both classic and modern at the same time.

Zinc Door
And speaking of both classic and modern, these batik cocktail napkins are a great example. Table linens are sometimes overlooked but are a good way to fortify a blue and white collection.

Don't forget a cute pair of salt and pepper shakers!
Crate and Barrel
Whether your loved ones enjoy a spot of tea--or not--you might like this pretty little teapot. The pattern feels a lot more modern as does the shape. Mixed with more traditional pieces, I think it would be a fun addition to a blue and white collection. If you can find it, that is. It's only available from the Crate and Barrel outlet now. 
If you do like tea, then you might want this electric teakettle with an ikat print.

Another modern take on blue and white for weddings would be a personalized Lucite tray with the couple's new monogram, initial, or last name. I especially like this one from Le Papier Studio in Chicago.

Bliss Home & Design /Amaryllis Bulb Co. / Source Collection
Planters bring us back to the traditional pattern. Aren't these lovely? And what a wonderful way to celebrate a new marriage by giving a beautiful gift that will grow!

What is your favorite wedding gift that you have received or given?


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