{inspired} Stylist Emily Henson

A couple weeks ago Oh Joy did a quick feature about Emily Henson. I was immediately intrigued (I mean, come on, she styled for Anthro. Dream. Job.), so I clicked over to check out her portfolio. Her style is amazing friends. Colorful, playful and upbeat, it's great inspiration during the gloomy days of winter. And great inspiration for this girl who tends to shy away from too much color.

I love the all white interior with generous bursts of color. I want to have a tea party here. And wear a cute dress. Obviously.

Love, love, love this combo of pink and turquoise. Super girly, yet super chic.

I would sleep here. In a second! Can you imagine falling asleep looking at those branches? I'm sure it sparks some amazing dreams.

Her style, and generous use of color, reminds me of some other interiors I've eyed recently on Pinterest (by the way, where have I been? I've had an account for ages, but just recently clued in to this ah-maz-ing resource!).

Oh Dee Doh

Although I always find myself craving color this time of year, this year I want to act on the impulse. I find myself scanning my house thinking: what can I paint red?! What colors do you lean toward in the winter? How do you deal with the winter dreariness?

You can check out Emily Henson's portfolio here.
She also has a fun blog! Here.


{create} home mood boards

Very few things make me more crazy than when I fall in love with a piece of furniture, but can't buy it because I'm not sure if we have room for it. Or, when I'm paralyzed by the fear of poorly coordinated fabric at the fabric store. Does this happen to anyone else? For the last couple years I've been wanting to create a comprehensive resource of our home decorating/renovating. I know notebooks are popular when you're renovating a room, but those projects are usually on time lines. We're not on a time line, and I don't want to lug around a notebook. 

My solution? I created a mood board booklet.

It's a collection of paint and fabric samples that fits into any of my bags.  I wish I'd done this a long, long time ago friends. And, it was actually really fun to put together. Let me show you how.

I think most people wouldn't even need to go to the store for this project. I'm not even sure why we don't have index cards or glue in the house. But we do now! (Anyone need index cards?!) So, I started with 4" x 6" index cards. The 3" x 5" are just too small to fit a good color and fabric sample.

Then I gathered up all our paint samples, fabric samples, and measurements for spaces we need to fill.

After that it was just gluing and labeling.

Now, I did run into a couple of issues during the process. The first is we have a living room rug that I can't carry around. (The sample alone is 2' x 2'!) So instead, I added a fabric sample that features the rug colors (above). It's not perfect, but it's a lot closer than me trying to guess.

The kitchen. Lots of room for new fabrics!

The second issue I ran into is that our duvet has a crazy (awesome) orange color. I don't have a fabric sample, but it's one of *those* colors that paralyzes me at fabric stores. So, I took a pillow case to the paint store and picked out a color swatch that matches the color perfectly. Problem solved!

I also added extra pages to the back so as we decorate/renovate the booklet can grow. This project was so easy (and so fun!) and I know will save me so many hours of indecision and so much money from buying fabric/furniture that won't work. In fact, this little booklet has already been to a fabric store with me, and it was a huge help. The great part is that it works for both renters and home owners. We all have spaces we need to fill and decorate, and we're all busy. I love how little projects like this can save so much time.

January has been a great month!* Thanks so much for reading along! I am excited to share with you the other projects we've been tackling in the last couple weeks though. Hint: there a room remodel involved!

So, tell me, what's your fabric/furniture shopping style? Do you carry *the notebook*, or just wing it when you get to the store? 

Happy friday friends! Hope you have a great weekend!

*In case you missed it, I spent the month of January taking control of my *style*. First I organized our basement and kitchen. Next, I read a book that really inspired me, I took a look through my inspiration files, and I defined a house color palette. Lastly, I took a hard look at what needed to change in our house to create a cohesive style.


{inspire} House Improvements

I'm back with the final installment of my month-long taking control of my *style* series. In case you've missed the previous installments, I read a book that really inspired me, I took a look through my inspiration files, and I defined a house color palette. Today, we're taking a look at what improvements I can make transform my house into a house consistent with my style, that I love.

Living room now: For the most part I love this room. The blue is soothing and light, the sprinkling of yellow makes me incredibly happy and the art wall is full of great memories.
Changes: At some point I would like new chairs: smaller scale, a little more modern. Also colorful lamps are in order and an art wall expansion. To really make an impact.

Kitchen now: Booooorrrrr - innnnnnggggggg.
Changes: Besides the obvious new floor, new counters, new sink and a back splash, this room needs color and accessories. Some sort of curtain/shade above the sink that will create a focal point, and fun art on the (minimal) walls. I'm also not so sure anymore about the color. I'm sort of over the yellow. But we'll see.

Kitchen nook now: I really like where this room is at (you know, aside from the floor). I love the furniture, the cafe curtains and the accessories (cake plate display, not pictured).
Changes: Add some fun, quirky art to the right wall, and (if I decide to paint the kitchen) paint.

Bedroom now: This is the room I am happiest with. The other rooms (above) I rushed to get painted and decorated when I moved in, and didn't take the time to live in them first. And of course, now I'm unhappy with the kitchen color. But this room I lived in for awhile, took the time to figure out what I loved and then pulled it all together.
Changes: The one tiny improvement I'd like to make is installing curtains. I just have yet to find curtains/fabric that I love for this space.

There are a few rooms I'm not mentioning here. Namely, the bathroom, craft room and extra bedroom. These are the rooms I've never touched and need such a huge overhaul that *improvements* wouldn't begin to cover it :). I get excited, though, when I think about how this exercise will help when I do get to these rooms.

I'll be back on Friday with a fun DIY project that will help anyone: owners or renters, alike. But other than that, this post wraps up my month of organizing my life and taking control of my style. Thank you for following along! This has been an insanely productive month for me, and I hope what I've done has inspired some of you to get organized and take a good look at what you love.

The Marion House Book, Home work series
Holley Gill, Commitment issues
Zen Habits, Love your stuff
Creature Comforts, Thoughts on a New Year


{create} black bean brownies

This weekend we left town. And it was way over due. We are lucky to have a beach house in the family, so we try to get away for a weekend every month to six weeks --- you know, to relax and recharge --- but it's been months since our last little getaway. So we packed up our stuff and a couple friends and headed over to the beach! In January! This is reason # 2,347 why I love Oregon. In Oregon you go to the beach even if it's 40 degrees and raining sideways. And then you call it storm watching. Lucky for us though, it was about 55 and sunny. Down right spring-like, really.

The weekend was amazing. There was a tiny bit of this. But just a tiny bit though. Because out the window was THIS:

I mentioned in my blogger award post, that my favorite spot in the world is the cape in Pacific City. And this, my friends, is Cape Kiwanda. You can cross a fence walk out to the very end and feel very small in comparison to the ocean's vastness. And see the water pouring over the side? I'm glad I didn't climb up there Saturday. Waves were crashing over the cape, and I would've been soooo wet. Brrr! But, it was so cool to watch from the shore.

Blue sky ... blue ocean ... is it spring yet already? Sadly, I know the 55 degree and sunny weekend we had was just a tease.

This photo isn't color corrected. Chris and I scrambled out of bed early Sunday to hit the beach before we headed home and the rocks were glowing

Just to the right of these rocks, the cape turns into a huge sand dune. In college, my friends and I used to climb to the top of the dune and then jump off. And then do it again and again until we were tired. Then we'd make a big bonfire and maybe consume a few beverages. Sometimes I miss the crazy weird things I did in college :). And no, there was no dune-jumping this weekend.

This made me stop in my tracks. You guys, a person didn't bury these logs in the sand. A person probably couldn't even move these logs. The ocean is a powerful force and I don't think people take that serious enough sometimes!

With all the adventuring and relaxing (many naps were taken by all this weekend), we needed something awesome to refuel with. And that's where today's recipe comes in: Black Bean Brownies.

If you've been around for awhile, you know that we're gluten free. I've found beans to be an awesome flour substitute in certain recipes. This was actually the first recipe I ever tried with beans, and I can't believe I haven't shared it with you! We're in camp fudg-y brownies, and these are the perfect dense, chocolate-y, fudg-y brownie. I swear, you'll NEVER know there are beans involved.

Black Bean Brownies
adapted from 101 Cookbooks

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups black beans
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup water or milk
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups honey (or agave)
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prep a 9" x 9" baking pan with canola oil spray.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter. We use the stove, but microwaves work great if you have one!
  3. Place the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a couple of spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the remaining melted chocolate mixture, water/milk, and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl (yep, this recipe creates a lot of dishes. totally worth the effort.), with an electric mixer beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add honey and beat well. Set aside.
  6. Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the milk/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well.
  7. Add the egg mixture. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about an hour, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. (They will be soft until refrigerated.)
  8. Once cool, pop into the refrigerator. They'll be easier to cut, and a little firmer.
  9. Serve and enjoy. Once all are licking their fingers, divulge the ingredients and watch your friends be astounded that these brownies might actually be ... healthy. Who knew? :) 

Updated: I'm linking this recipe up to Sweet As Sugars Sweets for a Saturday link party. Come over and take a look at all the amazing sweets! 


    {inspire} House Color Palette

    Happy Friday friends!

    After looking through my clipping files this week, I pulled together a palette of colors I'd like to see consistently through our house. Our house, really, is pretty tiny. I'm becoming increasingly aware of how straying from a palette can really break rooms up and make them feel disjointed. 

    So, I've pulled together a solid range of neutrals, with some fun pops of color to add a little dimension to each space.

    Honestly, I get a little freaked at the thought of bright colors.  But I love how other houses look when they're used - correctly - and want to take some risks moving forward. I'll keep a neutral base of blues (yep, that's working out to be a great neutral for me), browns and greys. And as pops of color, I'd like to add in some yellows, red-oranges and oranges. I love these three colors. They just make me smile. I would also like to play around with a darker blue/turquoise color. I think it'll add a little depth to the light blue neutral.

    A couple recent additions to our home that both highlight and confirm my palette are this adorable tea towel ...

    ... And this new letterpress.

    Both have the bright pops of color I'm looking for ... and are just so cute! I like having a color palette nailed down. We have a couple rooms we're looking at sprucing up this year and this will make my life so much easier. 

    What are your favorite colors lately? Do you lean toward the amazing jewel tones out this season? Do you prefer to stay in neutral territory?

    Have a great weekend!

    Update: I'm linking up to Samantha's Fab Friend Friday. It's a clever way to meet new bloggers. Hop on over and say hi! :)


    {inspired} a peek into the inspiration folder

    First, thanks for all your feedback about my tables ... the discussion didn't go in the direction I thought it would (I'm looking at you Jennifer!), but I like it! You'll definitely see the *afters*. Hopefully soon!

    Now, back to taking control of my *style*. It boils down to one simple principle, in my mind: what do I love? I feel like this should be an easy question to answer. But, it's easy to get distracted by crazy things my lovely husband loves (ahem), and all the beautiful inspiration on the good ole Internet. I feel like my style changes daily. This needs to stop. I've cleared my house of every thing I don't love. And now I'm excited to bring in what I do love.

    Side note: I like to joke about it, but I don't dictate design purchases in our house. My husband has an opinion. A strong opinion. In fact, one of the first huge fights we had, when we were still dating (!), was which kitchen table we'd have in the house. We ended up buying a new one. My point: when I say *I* in this post, it really is *we*. I put the most thought into this, but if Chris doesn't love something, I find a way to incorporate his views into the plans so that we create a home we're both happy with.

    This is my goal: I want to commit to what I love. Even if that takes years. I'm proclaiming this to all of you, because hopefully I'll be reminded, when I go to buy something, to really think through whether or not I LOVE it. Because in the end, I want to craft a home that is comfortable for me, Chris and our future family. I want it to be unique, stylish and personal. And, this think this can be accomplished with a little fore thought.

    There have been a lot of discussions about this topic. The one that really jumped out at me though, was a series of *assignments* that Emma, from the Marion House Book, took herself through last fall. She defined her style and then took a hard look at her home to identify places where her style was showing through. I'm going to take my cue from Emma. Her approach was very succinct and something I think everyone should really do.

    I'm starting with my inspiration files. I've been collecting images I love from magazines for YEARS. I have a huge folder, that I actually pared down last year, filled with all the rooms that have caught my eye over the years. I pulled it out this weekend and took a good look at the rooms I really love and could see myself living in. Here's what I found:
    Living Room. The first thing I noticed about these is they're all fairly neutral, but with nice injections of color. An elements that rings true for each of these is that they're filled with unique and personal elements. The owners personality seems to speak through objects they've collected. Lastly, they're all structured with clean lines and then livened-up with fun, quirky objects.

    Kitchens: With the exception of the top left blue cabinets, each of these kitchens is very neutral, open and bright. As with the living rooms above, they all have a spot of color.

    Dining room: I see a trend here: clean lines, injections of color and collections of personal items.

    Bedroom: Color! As much as I love the IDEA of a clean, white bedroom, all my files point me to bedrooms with color.

    I was surprised, after pulling all these images together, how much the rooms ... from different years and different magazines ... reflect and compliment each other. I even see the same colors flow throughout. I have a very difficult time verbalizing my *style*, but I will say that based on these images, it's clean lines, neutral base with fun colors, traditional with a modern twist.

    Thanks for reading along! Next up, we'll take a good look at my house's current *style*.

    Now, spill it ... what words sum up your style?

    If you'd like to read more on the topic, visit:
    The Marion Book House assignments, part one, part two and part three.

    {Top photo via Pure Style Home, all the rest pulled from magazines over the years.}


    {renovate} side tables -- help!

    Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I have a design dilemma for you guys today.

    This is what our living room looks like as of five minutes ago. Yep, it's a mess. I like to mix things up after Christmas, and I'm still trying to figure out what should go where. Disregard all the clutter. I have a color problem. Besides the obvious: my side tables are two different colors :).

    See, I have the white coffee table, and the black bookshelf. Then I have the blue side table on the right. It's been blue since my last apartment, where the walls were white. I've been meaning to paint it since I moved in, I just have no idea what color. Then we bought the white one for the left side, and now I have two tables and no. paint. ideas. 

    This is where you come in! I'm going to let YOU choose which color to paint my side tables. I have new lamps and I want to get this project rolling. 

     First choice: grey.

     Next choice: black.
    Last choice: white. 

    Alternately, I could strip all the paint off both and stain them a natural color.

    What do you think? I'm worried about there being: too much white. Too much black. Too many different *wood* colors. See why I'm seeking your help?! 

    Let me know which color you prefer OR suggest a different color. Should I go wild and crazy?!


    {inspired} Etcetera Etc.

    I started off the year with a bold statement. This month (January), I'm taking a journey to get my life and style back in order (read here). So far we're off to a good start here at A Home in the Making. My life feels better when I'm organized, which led to cleaning and organizing the basement, better kitchen labeling and cleaning and organizing the kitchen. Phew!

    So now I'm thinking about how to take control of *my style*. Sibella Court's book, Etcetera: Creating Beautiful Interiors with the Things You Love, prompted a lot of this thinking. I devoured the book in the couple days after Christmas.

    Have you guys seen and/or read this book? It's the only design book I've picked up that struck a chord of complete authenticity. In most design books I *ooh* and *ahh* over the  pretty pictures,  and while that's fun, I don't look to them for realistic examples of decorating. But this book not only aligned with my personal style outlook, but also had me underlining, circling sections and thoughts, and taking notes about how I can apply this to our home. I know it's a book I will reference for a long time.

    The book is organized by color pallettes: Foundations, Indigo Blues, Travellers and Magicians, Paper Whites and Tradewinds. Within each section Sibella offers suggestions about how to use these colors, tips for simply and easy decorating with, .... the best part, in my opinion, ... things you love.

    This paragraph, from the books introduction, sums up decorating, for me, in a way that nothing else has:

    "Think of all the stuff you own that has emotional or historical significance or comes with a memory or tale of where, when and who. It's just a matter of finding ways to incorporate these things into your surroundings as three-dimensional reminders of your life for you and other to experience. This means you'll end up with a home that's distinctly and beautifully yours and not just a replica of homewares catalogues or generic furniture stores."


     The book is filled with gorgeous examples of Sibella's own styling work.

    Beautiful rooms.

    Gorgeous still lifes.

    And interesting thoughts on highlighting collections.
    This is a book I cannot recommend enough. And, I'm excited to start implementing some of the principles into our home.  
    So, my question for you all on this lovely friday is: what's something (book or not) that has really inspired you lately? Let us know, and include a link if you have one!

    And, thanks friends for stopping by this week and for all the lovely comments about this organization project! I love hearing all your thoughts and comments ... you guys are the BEST! :)


    {create} an organized kitchen

    The number one thing I've learned from this huge cleaning and organizing task is: figure out what works best for your household. There are so many amazing and inspiring organizing ideas out there. But when it come right down to it, I needed to look into our cupboards and ask myself two things. 1. How do we use this space?  2. What can I change to make that use more efficient? Once you wrap your head around HOW you use the space, organizing it for efficiency seems to fall right into place.

    Without further ado, here are the results of my kitchen purging/cleaning/organizing efforts.
    Left is the before. Right is the after. So cluttered. I didn't get rid of a lot from this cupboard, I simply moved things around. Some items went to different cupboards where they make more sense. Others were simply combined and/or grouped with like objects. The first words out of Chris' mouth when he opened this cabinet? Um, where's the alcohol? (See top of left photo). I think I scared him! :) I just moved it all to the left side of the cabinet and created more of an actual *alcohol cabinet*.

    Left is before. Right is after. Not a huge change here, but it's noticeable in our every day use. We had so many drinking vessels! First, we pared them WAY down. Then we rearranged. For example, Chris is incredibly tall and is the only one who uses the juice glasses, so I moved them to the third shelf and made room on the second shelf. See? It's all about what works best for your household.

    And speaking of what works best for our household. Chris' absolute favorite *wine* glasses. He rarely touches the *fancy* ones with stems. These make an appearance at every party and are actually requested by guests. There's only three ... so the first to arrive get the glasses :).
    Left is before. Right is after. This was so jam packed that I actually found things I forget we had! I found an incredibly cute bowl we received as a wedding gift. It's going into the decor rotation stat.

    I also found this crock pot! Isn't is amazing?! We have a new/bigger crock that I use weekly, so I completely forgot about this gem. It was one of my parent's wedding gifts back in 1976 (!). They received three crocks, so this one went into storage in our garage. They unearthed it when I first moved out on my own. It had never been opened. Isn't that amazing? Still works like a charm! And has way more personality that modern crocks.
    This last spot is a biggie (and really hard to take pics of!). The two above pictures and the below are the before of our one full closet outside of a bedroom. It sits right next to the kitchen, so it stores everything from small appliances, to cleaning supplies to toilet paper. We  really need to make better use of this closet in general (ie. install shelves!), but as it were, it's a disaster.

    So I rearranged. And threw away (or recycled). Moved somethings that we never use (but actually need to keep!), downstairs to our lovely new shelves, and cleared out a huge amount of room.
    The best of all the best? With all the floor space I created, our vacuum now fits! This is seriously exciting, folks, as it's been an eyesore in my craft room for the last two years.

    And so I'm done. So. Done. And very excited to move on Friday! 

    So, we have our Wyooter Hooter glasses. I'm curious, what's one thing that makes your home distinctly YOU?? 

    Thanks for visiting friends :).