{inspired} lovely kitchens

Happy Friday friends! Thank you all for your sweet comments about my little blog redesign. :) I find myself heading over to my site a couple times a day just to admire it.

Today I thought I'd give you a peek into what spaces are inspiring our kitchen remodel. In my head resides a dream kitchen. And it's beautiful and perfect, obviously. In reality though, I have a husband and he also has opinions. Luckily, our opinions aren't that far off from each others, which is making planning fun. We've been spending lots of time on Pinterest and the other internets looking at gorgeous kitchens. Below are ones that have caught our eyes.

This is my dream kitchen. White cabinets. Dark/black counter top. Island. Butcher block counter on the island. Subway tile. Farm sink.

In reality though, we're still discussing somethings. For instance, whether we want white tiles. I'm waffling. Maybe I want something with a little color? I'm loving tiles that incorporate a little grey marbling. Gorgeous.

Kitchen traditional kitchen
We're also still debating counter color. Do we want black? Or maybe a grey to soften things up.

IKEA Kitchen modern kitchen
Or, even more crazy. Maybe we want dark butcher block throughout the kitchen, instead of just on the island.
Or, the craziest: Chris is campaigning for copper counters. I just don't know. They're beautiful, but I'm not sure if they're *us.* In other words, if they're *me* :).

Aside from counters, we're considering ways to add either beadboard or moulding to the kitchen walls or ceiling. Maybe to wrap the island?

My goal is to save the original hardwoods that are under about three layers of linoleum. After all, we know they're beautiful. But, we worried about staining from the heavy linoleum glue. So, I'm considering adding a little paint to liven things up. 

So that's what we're working with right now. As you can see, we want a kitchen that's light, bright and open. But, we're trying to find ways to keep it warm and welcoming at the same time. We don't want to accidentally head into the cold and sterile realm.

What do you think of our inspiration? Any ideas you'd like to share? What are the key elements in YOUR dream kitchen? :)

Have a great weekend friends! 


{renovate} my blog!

So, you guys may have noticed, but I have a new blog layout! Thank you to all of you who've already complimented the layout! I actually learned it was live when a I got a blog comment about it :). Some of you saw it before me! So, if you're reading this post in reader, rss or your email, pop over to the site so you too can see it :).

I worked with Elizabeth at TMC Designs (aka The Mustard Ceiling), and she was wonderful. She worked with all my weird and completely ocd requests and I just love the finished product.

There's just a couple things I want to point out:
  1. New header! I LOVE the new look. You all know I'm a HUGE orange fan and I love how Elizabeth incorporated it here.
  2. The toolbar that was previously at the top is now on the side. All the same buttons are there: our house before and after photos, the diy project gallery and as seen on. There is one addition: recipes! I have quite a few delicious gluten-free recipes on the site and now there's a place for you all to easily access them.
  3. I think the thing I'm most excited about are my new social media buttons! Seriously, I'm been so envious of other sites that have them. You can find me on twitter, pinterest, instagram and google+.
  4. You can follow my blog here. I'm still using blogger friend connect because I'm still one blogger. I've given this alot of thought, but decided not to change for now. We'll see if I regret that in the future :).
  5. Or, you can sign up to have posts emailed to you. Someone asked me a few weeks ago how to get email posts, and here it is. 
The rest of the sidebar stayed the same. Oh, and I realize there are two pics of me ... we're changing that :).

Hope you guys enjoy! Don't you think Elizabeth did an AMAZING job?! 


{renovate} the KITCHEN!

Friends, we made an exciting purchase this weekend:

Yep, a wall mount microwave and oven! OMG. We've been teetering on the edge of starting a kitchen remodel and with this purchase, we're going for it. YAH! :) The best part is that we found it on Craigslist for less than $400. And it is IMMACULATE. Seriously. From a immaculate home, looks like it's never been used, just a few years old. The previous owners just wanted to upgrade to stainless. We'll go ahead and take advantage of that. 

Some of you might be wondering about that actually ... our decision to stick with white a appliances if we're remodeling. There's a couple reasons. The first is that our existing appliances, and most importantly our fridge, is white. Buying all new appliances is out of our budget, but it's also not something we want to do, which leads to the second reason. While I think that stainless is beautiful, I've never really thought it fit the character and age of our home. It's strictly a personal decision. I've seen tons of older homes that pull it off beautifully. But when we originally bought the fridge a few years ago, we put a lot of thought into stainless verses white. I've never regretted the white. This decision actually came in very handy when we decided to look for a used oven. Most of the appliances listed on Craigslist are there because people are upgrading to stainless. So, if you're looking for white or black, there are some incredibly new and inexpensive appliances for sale out there.

We're still in the beginnings of our planning and budgeting phases. So, I'll be back with tons more information about our inspiration, our choices, time frame, goals and budget. I was just busting at the seams to share this with you though :).

One decision that we have made, that I will give you a good idea about the scope of this project, is that we're tearing down the wall between the living room and the kitchen! Yep, that wall above! Will be gone! (I think the post ranks #1 in my entire history for exclamation point use. Can you tell I'm excited? :) Hence the wall mount oven :). I've been trying to figure out a way to open up the space since I moved in. But, that wall has a lot of storage, so to get the storage back, we'll be installing an island. Big changes, my friends, big changes.

Have any of you gone through a kitchen remodel? How long were you without a sink or an oven? I'm a little frightened :). Any big changes in your home this spring??


{inspired} eames' office

I love a good documentary. Chris, eeehhh, maybe not so much. So, a couple weeks ago I netflixed (is that a verb?) a documentary I knew we'd both enjoy: Eames: The Architect and The Painter.

The movie is actually super interesting in it's own right because I didn't realize the Eames Studio did more than just chairs. As a communications professional, it was interesting to learn how they were both apart of and changed the way we communicate. What had me riveted, though, were the scenes that showed the Eames Studio. It struck me how cyclical design really is, and just how many design elements the Eames' incorporated in their office decor, that today we incorporate in our homes. 

Let's take a look:

Letters on the wall anyone? Letters and typography are hugely popular in design right now. You'll see them arranged as actual words to jumbles on top of bookshelves (which looks so cool, no?).

top: yatzer; bottom left: my ideal home; bottom right: desire to inspire.

A gorgeous tapestry hung in Charles' office. Looks today range from free hung tapestries, like his, to a more refined framed tapestry. Which I love.

top: yatzer; bottom left: little green notebook; bottom right: urban outfitters.

And, of course Eames had a gallery wall. Don't all the cool kids :). Gallery walls can still be seen casual, like his, or they can be seen framed and hung in any sort of arrangement - rigid, free-flowing, full wall or just a couple frames.

top: swoond; bottom left: the inspired room; bottom right: hollee anne

I would've LOVED to work at the Eames Studio. It looks so laid back and inspiring. Which is actually how I strive to create my home: laid back and inspiring. What about you?

Have you seen any good documentaries lately? Are you surprised that so many of today's decor trends were around in the 60's and 70's?

Happy friday friends! :)


{create} scrappy garland

In my post Monday, about my updated-for-spring mantle, I showed you guys my new fireplace garland. Today, I'll show you how to make it :).

For the last couple years, this is what the garland on our fireplace looked like. Does anyone else out there get completely lazy when it comes to changing up decor accessories? The flower garland is adorable (and you can learn how to make one of your own here), but it was time for something new. 

And new came in the form of a bright, colorful, ombre-esqu fabric garland.

The trick to creating one of these is the knot. A regular knot will not lie flat. See, I tied one to show you: 

You want all your fabric to lie nice and flat, because then the garland will hang nicer. Below is a tying method that works great.

A few notes: I used fabric that I had on hand (see note above about lazy ;). I cut the scraps into approximately 1" wide by 24" long strips, but you can tell by the photo above that I wasn't terribly precise. I cut six strips of each fabric, so there would be three strips of fabric on each side of the garland. As you can see above, I laid it out before hand to make sure I like the look before proceeding.

I've been wanting to make one of these forever, but was trying to figure what upcoming party or celebration it would work for. Finally I decided the celebration of spring is as good a party as any, so I went ahead and made the garland. My point is that I don't think you need a special celebration or event to liven up your house. I think little touches such as cute garlands add a touch of fun and whimsy and make everyday life feel a little celebratory. And who couldn't use a little more of that in their life? :)

So friends, tell me. How to you inject a little bit of celebration into everyday life?

*Update: I'm linking up to the Spring Craft Link Party at Centsational Girl.


{create} a spring mantle

Based on my twitter feed, it sounds like a lot of the country is already welcoming spring-like weather. Friends, I'm a little jealous. It actually snowed at my house this morning. Brrr. 

Maybe it's my way of pushing spring to hurry up and get here already, but I updated my mantle this weekend.

Here is my *winter* mantle. AKA, I needed to take my Christmas decorations down, but I wasn't quite ready for spring-like decor mantle.

And, here is my spring mantle! I wanted it to be a little woodsy, afterall spring is about new life and blooms and greens. I also wanted to incorporate some fun colors. Hello, orange bird.

I'm trying to teach myself to style better. In order to practice, I've dedicated a couple posts to focusing on how I got to the end point of the styling process. These posts help me think through my process, and I hope they help you learn something and think through your process. I hadn't tackled a mantle in much details, so below are the steps I took to get to this.

Start with a blank slate. I cleared everything off the mantle but the mirror, because I knew that was staying. Add texture. Here I started with moss. So much fuzzy awesome texture to build on. Add color. For this step, I pulled in some mossy logs and green trees. Add objects. The "M" is a sweet gift from my sister-in-law, who cut out the letter and decoupaged one side. But, from the back, which is showing, you can tell it was a reclaimed piece of wood and I LOVE the color and texture. Once you've pulled together texture, color and objects, EDIT. This step is the most important. I knew something wasn't right, so I actually walked away for a few hours. When I came back I realized that I hated the moss ... it was too much. So I pulled that out, added some fresh daisies and LOVED the result. 

Besides a blank slate, I also start with a huge pile of possibilities: I walk around the house and gather things that might work for the mantle. Once I put it all together, I start to see themes emerge. For instance, the fabric became a new garland (more on that Wednesday!), and I ended up using the wooden *M*, the small bowls - as candle holders - and the planters.

I hope this helps as you're thinking about changing up your decor for the upcoming season, whether it be on your mantle, bookshelves or a cute corner of your abode.

I'll leave you with a few close ups of the new mantle-scape:

If you'd like to see more about my learning-to-style journey, you can see my wall shelf tutorial here and my bookcase tutorial here. 

So friends, are you welcoming spring in your neck of the woods? Or, are you still braving winter?

**Update: I'm linking up to the Spring Decorating Link Party at the Lettered Cottage. Come over to check out all the fun and inspiring spring mantles!

Happy Monday! :)


{create} twig pendant

Happy Friday friends!
First, thank you all for the kind words about my twig lamp experiment! Second, I'm back today to give the instructions to create one of your very own :).

I mentioned this Wednesday, but I'd actually been working on this project - off and on - since the beginning of January. It was so slow going, because I was having a hard time figuring out the best way to approach it. I started thinking that I could simply hot glue the sticks to the pendant. But that was a bust. The twigs are much to taut to stay with glue when bent at such an angle. So, then I started playing with wire, but it was taking FOREVER. I finally figured out a way to make the sticks secure and help move the project along at a faster clip and that is the method I'm sharing with you today! 

NOTE: I took amazing photos of my process as I was building the lamp, and then proceeded to accidentally delete them when I was downloading other photos off my camera. SO SAD! I've recreate the process here, using foam core, just to give you an idea of the basic method.

  1. For 90% of the project, I used basic wire from a craft store. It worked fine. But, I ran out and didn't want to go to the store, which is how I ended up with airplane quality unbreakable wire. Thanks husband! My light is extra secure :).
  2. Cut a piece of wire that's about two inches long. You need enough wire to wrap around the twigs and then twist to secure.
  3. Poke two holes in the lamp shade, on either side of where you want to secure your twig. I actually used a thumbtack and it worked so well.
  4. Thread your wire through the two holes, around the twig, and, with your pliers, twist to secure.
  5. With your wire cutter, remove the excess wire, and tuck it neatly around the twig.
  6. Repeat every 6-7 inches, wrapping and securing the twig to the shade.
With those simple instructions, your twig will be securely fastened to the shade. Now, the main trick for making this go faster?! Groups of THREE. Group together three twigs, secure with wire and then proceed with the above instructions. It will go so much faster. Also, when you secure the twigs to the shade, make sure you stagger the starting points. This will help the shade look more organic, and evenly distributed.

Lastly, when I'd finished with the wire, I noticed I had some gaping holes. I wanted a few holes because it would let the light through (see photo above), just not huge obvious ones. This is where hot glue came in handy. I simply took the thinnest twigs I could find and glued them into the biggest holes. They filled up the space nicely, and actually made the shade look a little fuller.

I hope this tutorial helps. Please let me know, in the comments, if you have any questions and I'll clarify or update the post. AND, let me know if you make one -- I'd love to see other people's version.

Have a great weekend friends!


{pinterest party} twig pendant

Today I'm super excited to reveal my latest diy project. I'm linking up to the Pinterest Party, hosted by Young House Love, Bower Power, The Great Indoors and Hi Sugarplum, and this party could not have come at a better time. Mostly because it was the kick in the pants I need to finish the project that's been sitting half-finished in my basement since .... the beginning of January. Wah-wah. BUT, it's done and I could not be happier. 

The Problem.
When I moved into our house, the lighting was horrible: outdated, dingy and in some places simply missing. Slowly we've been replacing each out-dated light with something fancy, bright and fun: a capiz pendant in the nook, a drum shade in the living room, a pendant in the back entry, a new lovely in the hallway and new outdoors lights at both doors. We were down to one awful light left: a builder-basic fan in our bedroom.

Ick. I knew I didn't want a fan in the space ... we've used the existing one all of twice in the last two years. For a while I thought about installing the CB2's Eden Pendant (the same one as our living room). But then inspiration struck.

The Inspiration.
Inspiration is a funny thing, right? I LOVE branches. Besides making an amazing statement in any room, they also bring the outdoors in and give the room an instant laid-back, rustic feel. All things that fit perfectly with our house style.

The first inspiration pin is from Sweet Paul Magazine. Which, actually reminds me that it's time to go cut a few branches off our plum tree and bring them in!

The second inspiration is a hanging twig lamp from The Light Store.

I liked these both, but I wasn't sure what to do with it. But, like I said, inspiration is a funny thing. These two images hung out in brain until a walk through Ikea.

I came across these twigs at IKEA:
While innocent enough, my brain made a huge connection. I have a small collection of pendant shades at home. Why not combine the two? So I snatched up the twigs and set out creating my own twig light. Fast forward three months later, and I have the finished product!

The twigs went from that bundle, to this lovely light!

It all started with a simple, cream pendant.
(10 points to anyone who can name the show I was watching.)

And hanging up? Gorgeousness.
I love that it adds a touch of rustic and texture to the space. I thought about painting it white, but I actually really love the contrast of the natural brown.

Here's the lamp at {sort of} dark. It glows :).

Updated: If you'd like to make your own twig pendant, I've posted a tutorial here.

So tell me friends .... have you ever made anything out of twigs? In what ways to bring the outdoors in? 


{inspired} Moodboard Monday

Happy Monday!

I'm so excited to participate in Mood Board Monday today. As we talked about on Friday, the theme for this month is etsy artwork. And, I made this a true challenge by choosing a piece of art that I wouldn't normally consider for my house - even though it's beautiful. My goal was to incorporate pink (!) into a feminine space, but keep it a little edgy so it doesn't creep into the girly-girl zone. Let's take a look at my board:

  1. The walls of the living room will be a dark, rich gray. Specifically, Nightfall by Benjamin Moore. This is the perfect back drop to allow the pink, orange and white elements of the room to really pop.
  2. Live Colorfully by Him and Her Abstract. 
  3. Caravan-Pacific Lighting. Love. These.
  4. Wall of bookshelves. Technically, not for sale. But there are instructions on this blog for making it and I would in a heartbeat. Perfect for this space.
  5. I tried to resist the fuzzy bench, but resistance was futile. Besides adding so much texture to the space, perched in front of the bookshelves, it adds personality to boot.
  6. The pillows, both from West Elm, I kept neutral. One of sparkly gold, again for a little boost of texture - a bling! - and the other is a subtle pattern.
  7. Bone side table.
  8. Quartz terrarium. Every space needs a little green.
  9. I've had my eye on this tufted chesterfield sofa for awhile. It might have inspired the room more than the art ;)
  10. Again, not technically for sale, but the minute I came across this AMAZING pink chair I knew I had to include it. For inspiration, if nothing else. It's the star of the show. In real life, I'd recommend finding a gorgeous chair and reupholstering with bright pink fabric.
  11. Caster coffee table.
  12. A little bling in the form of gold nesting bowls.
  13. And last, but certainly not least, is this gorgeous antique rug to pull it all together. I love how the muted red/pinks and blues bring together the dark walls and the bright colors.
So what do you guys think? Did I achieve feminine with a little edge? I'm actually really excited about this room. I loved exploring pink and I can actually see myself living and enjoying this room. 

Make sure you head over to Pewter and Sage to check out the rest of the creative and beautiful moodboards!


{inspired} by pink ....?

Here's something I never thought I'd say: I have pink on the brain. For those that know me, I'm not a girly-girl. I'm like a good frill, but it has to be subtle and balanced with something completely unfrilly. I wear pink occasionally, but usually with black, and it's no where in my house. So, when Sarah, from Pewter and Sage, announced her latest Mood Board Monday Challenge I decided to make it a true challenge. 

I chose this artwork to base a room around, and decided that I want to pull in the pink and make the room a little feminine, but with an edge. I went this route for two reasons: as I mentioned above, pink it very out of my comfort zone and this artwork is also a little out of my comfort zone. Such bold colors! So modern! What can I say. I love a good challenge :). 

But now I'm a little stuck. This is hard friends! So, I'm looking for inspirations of rooms that are decidedly feminine, but not girly-girl sugary-sweet Barbie rooms.

I LOVE all these rooms. What all these rooms have in common is that pink is used an accent. A strong accent in some cases, but it's a wall color, or a chair color, or a pillow color. It's not all three. I actually think this is a good rule of thumb for all strong accent colors!

What do you guys think of pink? Do you decorate with it? And, make sure to check back Monday to see how my room turned out. If you'd like to design your own room, check out Sarah's challenge here.