Monday, August 29, 2016

The Modern Mix

So this isn't something I shared very publicly, but a month or two ago we almost bought a new house. My husband got a new job and this led to thoughts of moving a bit closer to his work. Well, it turns out we found a gorgeous house only about a mile from where we live (so not really closer to his job haha!) but it was a beautifully done flip so fully renovated and upgraded. It was simply stunning - truly the home of my dreams - and in one of my favorite neighborhoods we never thought we could afford. Long story short, the timing of everything just wasn't right, and we've decided to stay put until next spring or summer. 

The house we were looking to buy was so classic and timeless - hardwoods, crown molding, traditional white kitchen, marble tile in the baths, etc. It's a look I never tire of. Of course my wheels were turning on how we were going to decorate our "new house." I love traditional bones and am leaning more and more toward modern furnishings these days. Not mid-century necessarily, just clean lines and fresh motifs. There are a few designers that really embody the look I love. My very favorite is Studio McGee and I seriously spend hours poring over their portfolio, Instagram and Pinterest. Everything they touch turns to instant gold! I'm also loving Kate Marker Interiors and Julie Couch Interiors (especially her work on the show Nashville Flipped, though sadly there aren't really any pictures of that online. The show is so fun, though!). I shared my top 16 favorite Instagram accounts to follow a while ago and I'm definitely drawing lots of inspiration there!

Here are some of the images that are inspiring me lately. 

I discovered this image on Pinterest a while ago and it was my main source of inspiration that perfectly embodied the look I'm currently loving. Classic meets clean lines and unique details. I had to laugh when I later discovered this room is, of course, by Studio McGee. In fact, it's from the McGee's own home! Yep...definitely loving Shea's style right now! They have a really helpful blog and graphic on how to mix traditional and modern style.


Love the gold frames with large mats and abstract prints. I've been slowly curating a mini abstract art collection (I'll share some fun sources soon too). 

The two images above are by the incredibly talented Sarah Bartholomew. I love the traditional pieces mixed with bold fabric and on-trend gold accessories. 

This vignette is by Kate Marker and I love the simplicity yet visual impact it has.

This one is by Julie Couch - lots of white, a few key pops of color, classic yet modern all at once, and completely sophisticated. 

Love this bedside mix with the large-scale mats and convex mirrors.


I've been trying to channel my inner Studio McGee while restyling our large built-ins in the living room. Their shelf styling is always so on-point!


I just loved the mix of accessories here. So pretty!

If you follow on Instagram, you've seen a few peeks of our refreshed living room. Hopefully I'll be able to show you the whole thing soon, but these are just a few of the images that inspired the transformation in the first place. What styles are you loving right now?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

20 Things to Buy Now at Target {Decor Refresh}

I've shared both here and over on Instagram about the shift in my style from vintage/cottage to more modern meets traditional. I want to talk a little more about that in an upcoming post but right now I'll show you some of the little details I've either bought or am considering to make a subtle shift in our home. If you follow along on Instagram, you've seen that after finishing the hearth room I'm moving on to our main living room and changing the layout and lots of the accessories. I have to say it's so fun! I'm using lots of what I already have, but there are a few key purchases that can infuse that more modern feeling (the Studio McGee look, as I like to say - my favorite designers!). Here are 20 items I found that are small and fairly inexpensive but could lend that modern punch to a space for a quick refresh.

Gold Task Lamp | Ok so it's sold out right now, but I seriously love this little guy! I'm keeping an eye on it to see if it comes back in stock

Graphic Rug | perfect for a small space like an entry, kitchen sink, or layered over a larger rug for a graphic pop

Abstract Pillow | Peach and abstract? My two favorites! 

Vases: Gold | Green Glass | Gray Faceted | Gold Faceted | White Hex Planter | Glass Hex Planter | Target is absolutely killing it with their vases right now! I ordered several of these little beauties for shelf styling, but they'd be perfect on pretty much any surface

Striped Marble Board | The perfect kitchen accessory and it's a great price

Peach Throw Pillow | A sweet, timeless color meets a sassy geometric print

Scalloped Wood Bowl | I. Found. The. Bowl. This thing is all over Insta and Pinterest, but most people scored it at HomeGoods. Who knew you can grab it at Target too?! The perfect dining table centerpiece or kitchen island display.

Large White Basket | Super affordable and would look amazing with a fiddle leaf in it

Rugby Stripe Throw | Classic and cozy as we head into fall

Round Brass Mirror | I have this guy and love it. The best price for on this on-trend accessory that I've seen

Acrylic Tray | I've had this tray for a couple years now and it's still a favorite. It goes anywhere, looks chic and is unbelievably affordable ( store it's in the serveware aisle, not home decor)

Trophy | I collect vintage loving cups and get asked all the time where to get them. Reproductions are usually pricey but this one is a steal!

Marble Canister | Are you sensing the marble love?!

Black and White Pillows | Not the most affordable, but probably worth it for such a great pair of statement pieces

Oh and did I mention...Target is having a big home sale right now and a lot of these accessories are on major sale. What are your current must haves?!

Disclosure: Some links contain affiliates, which make writing this blog possible

Friday, June 10, 2016

Look for Less: Gold Lantern Pendant

Don't you hate it when you're on Pinterest swooning over a rug/table/appliance/lamp/light fixture, and you look up the product and it's crazy expensive? I feel like this happens to me all. the. time. Champagne taste on a beer budget I guess! Sometimes though I get lucky and stumble on a lookalike product that's just as great but much more affordable than the real thing.

Which brings us to the Darlana Lantern. I love the look of this modern-meets-classic pendant in gorgeous gold. It's everywhere, of course, but at $630 it's also pretty pricey.

When I stumbled on this lookalike on Amazon for a quarter of the price, I was so excited! It's by Millennium Lighting and is even the same dimensions as the Darlana. Perfect! I have some fun ideas for where this might work in our house, so stay tuned.

image 1 - Marcus Design Inc | image 2 - Design Indulgence | image 3 - Paper and Pencil Co. via DecorPad

Monday, June 6, 2016

5 Tips for Refreshing a Room on a Budget (Hearth Room Reveal)

Well, it's finally finished! Our new couch arrived and the hearth room is all set. Of course there are a couple other things I'd love to tweak down the road (like the light fixtures and pillow mix), but overall the room is complete. [Complete source list at the bottom of this post]

I am so, so happy with how it turned out! We spend most of our time in this room since it's adjacent to the kitchen and has a big picture window, so I love feeling so relaxed and inspired in here.

First, I'll tell you about this couch. It is so, so comfy. It is the most expensive piece of furniture I've ever purchased (more on that later) and it was well worth it. It is plush and deep and makes me feel like I'm sitting on a cloud.

It is the Montgomery Sofa from Joss and Main in Griffin Pure White Twill (also available through Birch Lane if it's not in a Joss sale currently).

I knew I wanted an English roll arm sofa, and wanted it to be white, which in turn meant slip covered. I really love having slip covered furniture you can just throw in the wash. This one is technically dry-clean only, but I'm taking a chance with it!

I can't believe what a change this room has gone through. But we didn't do anything major. This room is proof that a bit of paint and some new furnishings can go a long way. Here are my best tips for refreshing a room when you're on a budget.

1. Paint...something

Even if you don't paint all your walls, a little paint can make a huge difference. The only thing I painted here was the fireplace (see the before and after here). It's a night and day difference! It cost me $20 and two hours of my time...absolutely worth it! If you're looking for a refresh, start with paint. Maybe it's a piece of furniture you need to rethink, the trim around your windows, or the back of a bookshelf. Even a little paint goes a long way!

2. Sell what you don't love

...and put that money toward the room. Remember how I said this couch was the most expensive piece of furniture I've ever purchased? That's because I didn't have to spend "our money" on it. I sold a ton of decor I wasn't loving or using (a lot from this room) and was able to make enough to purchase the new sofa. I use local Facebook swap sites, but there are tons of apps and websites now meant to sell your items. It's a no-brainer!

3. Look for low-cost impact pieces

This rug is an 8x10 and really anchors the room, but it was only $130! Look for items that make a big impact but won't cost you tons - it's definitely possible. The round sconces above the fireplace, which I think make a big statement, were on sale for just $27 a piece. There are some things you don't want to skimp on, but things like rugs and statement accessories are usually available at a good price.

4. Shop your house

I know this piece of advice is part of every budget decorating discussion, but I admit I'm the worst at it. Once something has a "home" that's where I like it to live. But I did pull a few accessories from other rooms and it ended up working perfectly and saving me so much money. For example I was going to purchase a new lamp, but then I realized I liked the lamp I had but didn't care for the shade. I pulled the black linen shade from our guest room and immediately loved it in here! And the fact that it was free is even better! (I'll be honest that now our guest room lamp is shade-less, but we almost never go in that room and spend most of our time in the hearth room, so it's probably worth it to use the shade here and take my time replacing the one in the guest room). 

5. Take your time

This is a hard one for me. Once I decide on a look, I want it done yesterday. But it pays to shop slowly and collect a room over time. Not only does it make the room look more collected and unique, it also allows you to purchase a few things at a time so you don't break the bank. I often wait til I have gift cards or money from a birthday or holiday, then make some key purchases. It's not so easy when you're impatient, but I do think it pays to decorate slowly in the long run. (It also means you can keep an eye on bigger pieces and wait for killer sales.)

So what do you think? Was this little refresh worth it? I can't believe the transformation with just a little paint, pairing down, and a few new items.

Paint Color: Coventry Gray by Benjamin Moore
Fireplace Paint Color: Simply White by Benjamin Moore
Arched Window: Vintage | similar
Frames on Mantel: Ikea Ribba
Blue Art Print: Minted
Magnolia Print: Magnolia Market
Round Sconces: World Market
Aqua Glass Bottle on Fireplace: Joss and Main | similar
Magnolia Branches: Tuesday Morning | similar
Gold Boxes: Home Goods | similar
Ruffled Bowl: Pier 1
Black and White Street Signs: Vintage
Upholstered Bench: TJ Maxx | similar
Zinc Wall Clock: Hobby Lobby | similar
Candlesticks on Mantel: Hobby Lobby | similar | similar
Coffee Table: Purchased through Joss and Main | available here
Sofa: Montgomery Sofa purchased through Joss and Main | available here
Rug: Purchased through Overstock | available here
Rosemary Topiary: Available here
Gray Wicker Bar Stools: TJ Maxx | Similar here
Black and White Tray: Tuesday Morning | Similar here 
Grace Changes Everything Pillow: Aedriel
Diamond Throw Blanket: Target | Similar here
Leather Chair: Craigslist
Gray Ottoman: Target
Gold Side Table: Ross | Similar  
Gold Mirrored Tray: Target
Most Other Accessories: TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning
Throw Pillows: TJ Maxx | similar velvet
Lamp and Shade: Target | similar lamp | similar shade

*Some links contain affiliates, which make running this blog possible

Monday, May 23, 2016

Progress in the Hearth Room

Things are coming right along in our hearth fact, it's basically done, except for the long-awaited couch and maybe some new pillows! I am SO excited about how this room is coming together! I think after 2.5 years it finally feels like my style, not like an afterthought. It's also been a great place to test my evolving style that's leaning more modern than vintage. I definitely still have vintage and antique pieces incorporated, but it just feels fresher, cleaner and more...2016? If that makes sense? Here's what I've been up to (sorry these are just photos from my phone)

I was gifted these gorgeous myrtle topiaries for mothers day and they are the perfect touch of green for the space!

Next I picked up just a few finishing touches for the shelves. I actually found the blue bottle, bone inlay black and white tray and decorative brush (can't remember the name of these off the top of my head) from Tuesday Morning. I love the graphic pop the tray adds and it's so fun mixing in the deep blues.

In this little corner, I picked up the gold side table at Ross for a steal. I had really wanted a gold table with a marble top, but was having trouble finding the right thing, and this one was such a good deal I couldn't pass it up. I also swapped the lamp shade for a black one from the guest room. I am the worst about "shopping the house" because once I find something to go in a spot...that is its spot! : ) But I think the black shade is just what this corner needed to anchor the space.

Then a few days ago our new rug arrived. I liked the one we had in here previously but I felt the size was too small and it was also a bit dark. This 8x10 from Overstock was such a good price I couldn't pass it up, and the herringbone pattern feels modern yet timeless...which is sort of the theme of the room right now!

I also purchased this round mirror from Target which I am in love with but just wasn't quite right in the room. I am desperately searching for a place in the house for it because it is so gorgeous and was a steal!

The couch is supposed to arrive this week (I may have mentioned it came a few weeks ago but had a large black mark on it so they had to send out a new one). I am still debating getting this art in place of the galvanized wall clock (that's where the round mirror was supposed to go), and will probably add in these pillows and these. And then I think it will be officially finished! A mere two and a half years after we started... : )

Paint Color: Coventry Gray by Benjamin Moore
Fireplace Paint Color: Simply White by Benjamin Moore
Arched Window: Vintage
Frames on Mantel: Ikea Ribba
Blue Art Print: Minted
Magnolia Print: Magnolia Market
Sconces: World Market
Glass Bottle: Joss and Main | similar
Magnolia Branches: Tuesday Morning | similar
Gold Boxes: Home Goods | similar
Ruffled Bowl: Pier 1
Upholstered Bench: TJ Maxx | similar

Zinc Wall Clock: Hobby Lobby | similar
Candlesticks on Mantel: Hobby Lobby | similar | similar

Monday, April 25, 2016

How to Decorate a Long Mantel: A Before and After

If you guys have followed the blog for very long, you know that our "hearth room" as I like to call it, has been a bit of a thorn in my side. I love this room for its giant picture window, that it's open to the kitchen, is very spacious and has a beautiful fireplace and built-ins at one end. But I've always felt like it was the "ugly step sister" to our other living room, which seemed to get all my best decor while the hearth room was a bit of a hodge podge. Plus, probably the most difficult area to decorate in our home has been the mantel. Most mantel decor doesn't seem too hard to me - it's a great focal point that is fun to accessorize. But our mantel runs the length of the room, and also has lots of vertical space, and I've always been at a bit of a loss as to how to fill it. Through the years I've tried many looks (which you can see here) but nothing ever felt quite right to me. I always thought I needed to "fill" the visual space, both vertically and horizontally, but doing that left things feeling busy. I finally decided to go for a much simpler, cleaner look and I think I have finally achieved the right balance!

I also decided to take the plunge on painting the fireplace white. I held off because I really do like limestone, but I was craving a fresher, cleaner palette and knew that would help. The limestone read very yellow, and it doesn't help that our floors are a yellowy-taupe tile (which I'd love to change but can't right now), so it was time to break out the paint brush.

It has made such a huge difference! In fact, I'm a little sad I lived without it painted for 2.5 years! I think this new look represents the shift I've been feeling over the last year in my design aesthetic. I've always loved white, but I think I was more on the "cottage" end of things and I'm finding the rooms and pieces I'm drawn to lately are more on the modern end. I still love classic furnishings and charming details, but with a bright-white palette, clean lines and simplicity.

I think the change has come as a result of Instagram, if not a larger shift in the design world recently. Instagram is probably my biggest source of inspiration and, as you can see from my 16 favorite accounts to follow, the white/modern/clean/pops of color look is definitely trending right now.

I think Joanna Gaines handles the balance between farmhouse/cottage and modern/simple so well. Her designs are always fresh, light, charming and on-point. Even in her designs though, I've seen a shift between the classic farmhouse look of season one and a little edgier designs mixed in the last season. And I have to say I'm loving it!

So, if you have a very long mantel you're trying to accessorize, here are my best tips:

1. Keep it Simple

You don't have to fill the whole thing (lesson learned!), just enough to provide a focal point and some interest. Leave some white space and let it breathe a bit.

2. Use Symmetry

Symmetry is always so pleasing to the eye, so you can't go wrong when using it across a whole wall.

3. But Not Too Much Symmetry...

My mantel uses symmetry loosely. The middle window and frames create a central focal point and act as one grouping, without being too literally symmetrical. Same with the candlesticks.

4. Use What You Love

This is my number one decorating rule, and I really should listen to myself more often. I was trying to just fill space, and even though the accessories I had here were cute, I didn't just LOVE all of them. I finally put only the things I truly loved on our mantel, and it works beautifully.

I can't wait til this room is complete! Our sofa from Joss and Main arrived last week, but unfortunately it had a big black mark on it, so they are sending a replacement. I'm still in the process of gathering pillows, and am considering a new rug though I'm not sure I want to spend anymore right now, so I may just make the current one work.

You might noticed I simplified the built ins also. I am happy with them for now, although they may not be completely perfect just yet. I'm still trying to find the right balance between vintage and modern so may keep playing with the accessories here.

Does anyone else have an extra-long mantel? How did you handle filling your space? Hopefully it didn't take you 2.5 years to figure it out like it did me! ; )

Paint Color: Coventry Gray by Benjamin Moore
Fireplace Paint Color: Simply White by Benjamin Moore
Arched Window: Vintage
Frames on Mantel: Ikea Ribba
Blue Art Print: Minted
Magnolia Print: Magnolia Market
Sconces: World Market
Glass Bottle: Joss and Main | similar
Magnolia Branches: Tuesday Morning | similar
Gold Boxes: Home Goods | similar
Ruffled Bowl: Pier 1
Upholstered Bench: TJ Maxx | similar
Zinc Wall Clock: Hobby Lobby | similar
Candlesticks on Mantel: Hobby Lobby | similar | similar
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