MAKE A TERRARIUM DESK ORGANIZER

Make a terrarium desk organizerIt’s back to school time! And while I’m not in school any more, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy splurging on a few new cute notebooks and desk supplies. When I saw this clear acrylic desk organizer, I just knew I had to have it. Not because I needed another way to organize my ever growing craft supply stash (which I am actually always in need of), but because I knew it could easily be transformed into a cute terrarium for my desk! And look how cute that pop of color and greenery looks in the center of this cute acrylic caddy!

This project is one of those super simple DIYs that really only requires a bit of planting and creative thinking. While I found this acrylic desk organizer at Home Goods, you can easily find something similar on Amazon or in any major retailer.

Make a terrarium desk organizerSupplies:
– acrylic desk organizer
– mini succulent clippings
– succulent/cactus mix potting soil
– colorful aquarium rocks and white stones (optional but adds a fun pop of color)

Step One: Cover all the desk organizer openings (except for the one you are turning into the terrarium) with clear plastic wrap or foil to prevent the dirt from getting in them, then use a spoon to scoop the dirt into the open section.

Make a terrarium desk organizer

Make a terrarium desk organizerStep Two: Use a pen to create little openings in the dirt and add in your succulents. If your office gets no natural sunlight, you can always use faux succulents instead. They have some very realistic looking ones at the craft store.

Step Three: Add in your colored rocks to cover the dirt and surround the succulents and then add in a few gemstones or white rocks as decorative accents.

Make a terrarium desk organizer

Make a terrarium desk organizer

That’s really all there is to it! Be sure to keep the succulents moist but don’t overwater them and they will give your desk the perfect plant lady feel. And that little touch of live greenery will hopefully make those long work days not so bad!

Make a terrarium desk organizer

I know my office now feels so much fresher and full of life with a few plants in it! xoxo.

NEW OUI FRESH NOTEPADS!

I am SO excited to share a few new Oui Fresh products with you today!!! We’ve been working on these for quite some time and I’m thrilled not only to have them to use, but to offer to you all. As you know, we are huge fans of dreaming big and setting goals. I have a feeling many of you are this way too. 🙂 We’ve created two new products designed to help you stay organized and on top of those goals.

*Also we’ve got a pretty rad giveaway, so make sure you scroll to the bottom of this post to check that out.

First, we created a weekly meal planner that is based off of our cookbook, Weekday Weekend. There are areas to plan out all your weekly meals, and some space for weekend plans as well. Then the other side has a shopping list area so you can make your grocery list right along with your meal plans. You can cut the shopping list off and take it with you to the store, while keeping that week’s plan on hand (maybe hang it on the refrigerator?) to keep you on track.

This is a super useful weekly meal planner even if you aren’t currently doing the Weekday Weekend challenge, as it can help you plan better so you reduce food waste or end up in that spot where you order take-out again because you don’t have any groceries. I know, I’ve been there! This notepad comes with 52 sheets, one for each day of the year.

Our productivity notepads are all about helping you get stuff done! These two notepads are sold together. There is a daily to-do list notepad with plenty of space to add all your goals and check boxes for when you complete them. You can also use the left column to plan out your day better or keep track of an important call you may have that day. The second notepad is to help you see your week quickly. You can use this to write down big deadlines or meetings you might have that week. I LOVE both these tools because they help you focus on what you need to be doing NOW but also how it relates to the goals you have that week.

Each productivity notepad is super thick with 75 sheets per notepad.

Today we are celebrating the launch of our new notepads by hosting a really awesome giveaway over on the Oui Fresh Instagram account. So go check that out to enter for your chance to win the above items (!!!!!!).

MACRAME ROOM DIVIDER DIY 

After taking a macrame class at a local interior design shop here in Springfield, I got a little ambitious and decided to put the few things I learned to work on a big scale! Remember that time I learned how to weave and then went crazy and made a 4′ x 6′ rug? Apparently I like a challenge! This project just goes to show that you can make some epic home decor projects with the right instructions and plenty of creative optimism!

This macrame room divider DIY lends itself easily to creating a relaxed bohemian vibe while also working hard to define a space. Not only does it let plenty of light through, it’s another surface to add some plants! Perfect for the studio apartment, shared office space, or gigantic room in need of definition. All it takes is the right kind of rope, a few simple knots, and the kind of patience these big projects sometimes require. Spoiler alert: It’s always worth it.

Supplies
-1″ x 36″ wooden dowel
–700 ft of 1/4″ 3 strand cotton rope
-three 3″ hook screws
-scissors
–air plants (optional)

Preparing Your Rope

For this specific project, you’ll want to measure out 24 strands that measure 28′ long each. This will give you a wall hanging that measures roughly 7′ from the top dowel to the bottom dowel and you can add length to it with fringe on the bottom. If you’re wanting to design a shorter piece, it’s always better to still use more rope than you think you’ll need.

Lark’s Head Knot

Shown are two finished lark’s head knots and then the start of a third. You’ll need two strands of rope per knot for a total of 12 knots. Fold two strands in half and place the center of this pair of rope strands over the top of your first wooden dowel. Then wrap them around your dowel and pull the loose ends down through your loop. You’ve probably done this knot before and not even known it. No pun intended.

Continue adding your pairs of rope strands to the dowel until you are finished. Be mindful that you are wrapping over the top of the dowel consistently. If you forget and wrap one under the dowel instead, it will change the look of your pattern. Make sure all of your finished lark’s head knots are spaced equally apart from each other.

Half Knot

We’ll use a half knot further down in the design to add subtle contrast, but it also makes up the first step of the square knot, so I’m showing it first. A half knot requires four strands of rope. The two center ropes stay where they are and the two outer ropes pull away just a bit. Then create a bend in the outer left rope and move it towards and then under the outer right rope as shown.

Then bend the outer right rope under the place where the outer left rope crossed it, behind the two center ropes, and back up through the bend from the outer left rope as shown.

We’ll use this knot on its own in a bit, but this is also the first half of the knot you’ll use for the first section of the divider.

Square Knot

This is comprised of two half knots. Repeat the same pattern you did in the step above, but then pull the outer two rope strands until that second half knot rests snugly against the first half knot. Now you’ve made a square knot! Repeat this process on each of your pairs of rope strands for your first row of knots.

Alternating Square Knot

You can see how the square knots took shape in this photo. You should have 12 square knots in your first row. To create your second row of square knots, you’ll be using two strands from one square knot and two strands from the square knot next to it to create a new square knot that joins them together. You can start from the center of your piece and work your way out on either side (how I prefer to do it) or you can start from one side and move your way across. As you can see, when you get to the edges of your second row, you’ll have an extra pair of rope strands on each side. That’s next.

When you’re adding in your knots, be mindful of the space between each row. You don’t want to start tying things closer and closer together or you’ll end up with a lopsided wall hanging. Sometimes it’s helpful to step back about six feet to check on your composition before continuing on. Trust me, you won’t want to later realize it’s crooked enough to be annoying.

Knots on the Edge

For this design, I’m allowing about 2.5″ of space between all of my knots because I want the room divider to feel light and airy. When I add in my third row of knots, I’ll be back to my original pattern of using all of the strands. The space that your outer rope creates on the absolute left side of your divider and then the right side of your divider should be a little bit longer than twice as long as that. You want it to have enough slack to create a scallop shape. My scallops held their shape in some parts of my divider but got heavy in other parts. I’m assuming it’s tricky to get that just right, but do your best.

For my pattern, I did four alternating rows of square knots and then switched it up and did six alternating rows of half knots. Then I finished up the rest of the divider with 13 alternating rows of square knots again. This kept things feeling consistent enough to make a statement but also added a bit of a subtle design change to keep it from looking like I’d hung a hammock from the ceiling!

To add the bottom dowel to your room divider, you’re going to create more lark’s head knots. You can’t create them the same way you started, so we’re doing it backwards. I’ve started with a few already attached to show you how it’ll look when it’s done.

A: Separate the four strands underneath one of your square knots and set two aside. B: Wrap the other two strands all the way around the dowel until you wrap inside and over the top of the same two strands. C: Wrap them on the other side of the strands and back behind the dowel. D:Continue around the front of the dowel and tuck under the loop you just made. It will leave a fringe down the back side of the dowel. This is just one of the two lark’s knots you’ll make per square knot.

E: Bring the other two strands from that square knot back over and wrap them around the dowel and to the left side. F: Wrap them over the top of themselves. G: Wrap them behind the dowel and all the way back around and under the loop you just created. H: Scoot that knot in close to the first one you made and make sure things are consistently taut. Repeat with each of the other strands in each square knot.

Trim your fringe to the length you need. We have 10-foot ceilings, so even though this room divider is massive, I had to hang it from the screws in my ceiling with another 18″ of rope.

If you don’t need something practical to help divide a room, this would be equally as stunning against a painted wall for plenty of contrast or even used as a simple party backdrop with a floral swag. Either way, this is a great project for anyone wanting to go big with a simple design and introduce a little hygge just in time for fall.

Wanting to learn macrame for the first time? My friend, Elsie Goodwin, over at Reform Fibers teaches simple techniques through her Instagram feed and sells her unique patterns in her shop. 

EASY DIY BULLETIN BOARD (ANY SHAPE OR SIZE)

Thought I’d share this super easy bulletin board project I made for my office recently. My (home) office is one place I just can’t seem to leave alone. Do you have a space in your house like that? For some reason I’m just never quite happy with the layout or the colors, and then I’ll also cycle through wanting lots of wall art and decor. Then one day I decide it’s too much and I become a minimalist for a couple months until the process starts over again. I think part of it is this is the space in my life that is 100% mine—kind of like your bedroom growing up (or your side of the bedroom during those years I shared a room). Of course, Trey has great taste (he married me after all), so I love decorating our house together. It’s not that I don’t feel free in other spaces, it’s more that I don’t feel as free to change all the time in other spaces.

Or maybe I just haven’t found the perfect setup yet. I don’t know. But at the moment, I’m redoing a few things in my home office again. 🙂

I am an avid list maker. I’m sitting at my desk typing this and I literally have SIX to-do lists around me right now. Some are daily, weekly, or monthly; although one has an action item I need to do throughout the year and the dates are the to-dos on that one. Anyway, you probably get the picture, I am a crazy lady when it comes to lists. I’d like to think it’s because I am that cool go-getter we all want to be, but if I’m being honest part of it is that I will totally forget to do things unless I write them down. So I’m a forgetful go-getter. And I’m OK with that.

The last thing you want to do with a to-do list is lose it! So for me, space to hang lists and reminders is really important in my work space. That’s why I decided I needed a larger bulletin board recently and I just wasn’t loving all the standard sizes, so I decided to make something custom for my office. Here’s how I made my own bulletin board in the exact size and shape I wanted.

Supplies:
-foam board
-tape (something strong like duct tape)
–cork roll
-Elmer’s glue
-X-Acto knife
-Command strips

Step One: Cut the foam board so it’s the exact shape and size you want for your bulletin board, and tape together.

Step Two: Make sure the foam board fits in your space how you like. If needed, adjust at this point (use the X-Acto to cut more or add more foam board as needed).

Step Three: Cover one side of the foam board with the cork roll, use glue to adhere it. If you are creating a large bulletin board like me, you’ll likely have some seams and I recommend overlapping the cork slightly so that no white foam board shows through. Allow to completely dry.

Step Four: Use Command Strips to hang your new bulletin board in place. Command strips should be all you need unless you plan to hang a LOT of weight from your bulletin board, but I only use mine to hang papers and pictures. Pretty easy and you can totally customize this to fit any space, plus this project is super inexpensive and a great way to fill some wall space if you like the look (and usefulness) of a bulletin board. 🙂 Happy list making! xo. 

 

EASY TIPS FOR A LIVING ROOM REFRESH

This year I’ve been very aware of my decor restlessness, but also mindful of our family’s goal to move to a new home in the next couple of years, which has made me reluctant to put any of our precious money into changing anything about our current space. But then I decided. Let’s just make a few changes that would make a big impact in the enjoyment of our home while we’re still here, and maybe we end up a couple of months behind on our goal to move. No biggie, right? Actually it was a big biggie… because we are so happy with how relaxing and cohesive our home feels now, and I’m tickled pink—like, actual pink—that beneath my tootsies is a gorgeous pink shag rug that makes me happy every single day! No regrets.

Revamping the decor in your space can be pretty daunting, especially if it’s something you haven’t worked on in quite some time. So let’s talk a little bit about how I prioritized items in our living room refresh and how you can make big impact changes without spending a lot of money.

Easy Tips for Redecorating a RoomKEEPING DOWN THE COST OF REDECORATING

If you have a lot of things that you want to change about your space, think about breaking it up into two stages—one being the bones of the space and the other being the decorative details. What I’m sharing with you today is actually part two of fixing up our living room. The first part happened two years ago when we bought a sectional and installed the built-in office behind the sofa. At the time, we didn’t think too much about the decorative details because we couldn’t spend the money on it. So, much of what you see in the before pictures above was second-hand items, like thrifted art and hand-me-down furniture. They were placeholders that we liked enough to use before we were able to spend money on the things that we really wanted for the space.

When you’re ready to pay attention to all of the decorative details in your space, the cost can certainly add up. Here are some suggestions that can save you money.

Sell Your Stuff
Clear out everything in your home that you don’t love and don’t need. Determine what you could sell for a good price and list it on Craigslist, eBay, or post it to your social media channels. I often will post something I’d like to sell on Facebook first and usually will get the asking price from a friend, without having to worry about shipping or having a stranger come to my house. In addition to selling your nicer things, have a garage sale (invite friends to contribute and also help with the sale) to get rid of everything else. Anything that doesn’t sell—donate. You don’t want that stuff back into your house cramping your style. Believe me.

Slipcover Your Furniture
I had been engaged in a love/hate relationship with our sofa for quite some time. It was perfect for the space, giving us the most seating for the area and separating the office from the other side of the room. But I’ve never been a fan of how “Ikea” it looked (because, well, it’s from Ikea), and I’ve never loved the medium cool gray color. Obviously we weren’t in the market for a new sofa, but I was able to completely change the look of it with an Ikea replacement slipcover made specifically for the Karlstad sectional, which Ikea no longer makes. I got my slipcover from Comfort Works, which is a company that specializes in Ikea and Pottery Barn slipcovers, but they make custom slipcovers as well. Slipcovers are so much more practical and environmentally responsible than buying new furniture for aesthetic reasons!

Host a Swap Party
My friends have had swap parties to get rid of clothes and accessories they no longer wear, but why not host a swap party for home goods? I know I’d love to shop my friends’ home accessories that they’re either tired of or no longer have room for in their own homes. So invite friends (preferably who share a similar style to you) to your home to bring some of the nicer things they’d like to get rid of, and swap with each other to get some new stuff for free.

Shop Thrift Stores, Flea Markets, Garage Sales, and Craigslist
It’s easy to find a lot of stuff to love at your favorite home decorating stores, but it’s more fun (and thrilling) to find unique treasures secondhand. Plus, it’s usually so much less expensive. Mixing in secondhand or antique pieces is also a great way to build character into a space. If everything is new, it just seems to lack personality. Think of the difference between a room pictured in a catalog versus a room in your favorite home decorating magazine. Most likely the spaces you prefer are filled with things that have been collected over time, which is why redecorating is a process and not usually an event.

Make a Wish List
I always feel so uncomfortable when family members ask me what I’d like for Christmas or my birthday. But some people really stress out about gift giving, and because of their practical personalities would really love to give you something they know you’ll use. The curtains in our home are actually Christmas gifts from family members who knew we wanted nice drapes but didn’t have the money to spend on them.

Easy Tips for Redecorating a RoomSIMPLE DECOR CHANGES THAT MAKE A BIG IMPACT

As you can see, our living room serves so many purposes, and because of that, I wanted to focus the decor direction a bit to make it less eclectic and calmer. This space functions as our office, playroom, and sole living room. The only other rooms in our house are for bathing, sleeping, or eating. We have no den, basement, or “sitting room” to either exile our clutter to or escape from it. We desired organization and a calm style for our living room, which led me towards more subtle and neutral items in this revamp. Everyone’s home is different, as is their personal style, but here are some objectives that I focused on which I knew would make a big impact in our living room.

Easy Tips for Redecorating a RoomEasy Tips for Redecorating a Room1. Consider a Cohesive Theme

In general, I don’t do “themes” in a room (such as a beach theme or even simply a color scheme), but I definitely needed to decide what direction this room was taking, because while having a patterned rug, colorful pillows and furniture, and lots of busy artwork on the walls might work somewhere else, it was making this room feel chaotic. Narrowing down the colors in this space helped it feel calmer and more put-together.

My desire for a calm and bright space, in addition to the small windows and our heavily wooded yard, led me to want mostly light colored objects for the furniture and walls (including curtains). We have a desk that’s very visible, but it being all white helps it fade into the background, and lightening the sofa color made for less contrast, creating a more soothing view. I decided I would use mostly light colors with a base of white, lots of neutrals, and accents of orange and dusty pink, without too much contrast in their varying shades. This decision to focus the colors and reduce contrast made such a huge impact in this space!

Easy Tips for Redecorating a Room2. Reduce Visual Clutter

In addition to incorporating a more cohesive color scheme, I wanted to calm the space a bit more by decreasing some of the visual clutter. I thought the busy wall art, patterned rugs, wire-storage baskets, and gallery wall was all a bit too much for this space. So I sold some things and moved others to different spaces in our home. I swapped out the gallery wall for more wall shelves, which in combination with the TV cabinet, created a media center and a much-needed visual anchor in the room. I kept these shelves looking pretty neutral by choosing to store light-colored books on this side of the room, and darker books on the other side. Rather than selling or donating my old textbooks, I turned their spines to the wall and used them as decorative shelf-filler until my record collection grows vast enough to fill that entire shelf.

I still have a bit of a gallery wall in this room, but it takes up much less space visually, and isn’t so busy with lots of color and pattern. This mini gallery is a great space to display some of our family’s personality and also my kiddo’s art projects. I’m not opposed to gallery walls, but I am more drawn to large, oversized art for this room because it is helpful to anchor zones in the space, while multiple smaller pieces were adding to the disjointed feel that had bothered me about this space before. And much like gallery walls, I love patterned rugs but just not in this room. A light, dusty pink rug still makes a statement, but anchors the seating area rather than adding to the visual clutter.

Easy Tips for Redecorating a RoomEasy Tips for Redecorating a RoomEasy Tips for Redecorating a RoomEasy Tips for Redecorating a Room3. Incorporate Stylish Storage Solutions

Focusing the color scheme and style of your space certainly helps tone down the visual clutter, but we all have actual clutter too, right? Or maybe that’s just me. Nah, it’s totally just my kids. Incorporating lots of nice-looking storage pieces was a high priority for this room. Our wall-mounted desk system is actually just a series of Ikea kitchen cabinets, so there’s plenty of storage on that wall. I also made this long storage cabinet to organize toys behind our sofa, which also acts as a sofa table for drinks and snacks. The vintage sideboard that serves as the base of our media center holds the electronics and movies you might expect, but also extra blankets, extension cords and cables, and other household items in its drawers.

Another opportunity for me to reduce visual clutter was with what toys I allow into our living room. Just using the word “allow” might make you cringe, but if I’m going to put a play kitchen set and doll toys in our living room, I don’t want them to be neon colored plastic monstrosities covered in garish stickers. I was able to find these nice-looking wooden items at garage sales and antique malls and added an on-theme curtain to cover the baskets of food toys that are stored beneath the kitchen “sink”. Of course we also have plastic toys that beep and ding and are covered in stickers, but they don’t sit out all the time, and are kept neatly stored away in the cabinet behind the sofa. I put more of an effort into the style and appearance of the larger toys that have become fixtures in our living room, and I think it makes such a big difference!

Easy Tips for Redecorating a RoomEasy Tips for Redecorating a RoomEasy Tips for Redecorating a Room4. Incorporate Layers and Texture with Decorative Accents

I didn’t want a lot of color and contrast in this space, but I definitely didn’t want the space to feel empty and cold. So I considered elements that would incorporate layers and texture to the room, warming it up and adding interest without adding clutter. For me, that meant choosing decorative items that might be more neutral, but very textural in their material—such as my pink rug, which blends looped jute fibers with shaggy pink fibers, a beige throw blanket with rows of fringe, knit, linen, and furry pillows, and ivory knit poufs that not only add interest, but also additional seating.

Another way to add life and texture to a space is to add houseplants. I’ve always enjoyed taking care of houseplants in other rooms of my home, but because this room also functions as a play room, I had really been hesitant to keep them in here too. I’m so glad I decided to move so much greenery into our living room finally, because wow—what a difference it makes! The girls have learned how to nicely touch the leaves and not dig in the dirt, and these plants really add a missing element of life and texture that this space needed.

Easy Tips for Redecorating a RoomEasy Tips for Redecorating a Room

While keeping in mind all of these goals, I did change very specific elements in the room, and figured it might be useful to list them all below:

  • Add bookshelves (like my DIY corner shelving system)
  • Swap out a gallery wall for bookshelves or oversized art (check out these DIY wall art ideas)
  • Sell old furniture to buy something new (like my DIY live-edge coffee table)
  • Incorporate storage furniture that keeps clutter behind closed doors (like my DIY regency style cabinet)
  • Slipcover furniture
  • Add houseplants (check out these houseplant project ideas)
  • Swap out or add an area rug
  • Add simple wall sconces (like my swing-arm wall sconces)

Easy Tips for Redecorating a RoomThe itch for change and the creeping dissatisfaction with things can certainly be a slippery slope in my life. I do enjoy being in our home more now than I did before the living room revamp, but I really try to focus my brainpower on keeping the main thing the main thing—and that is the life that happens in these walls. (And I’m not just talking about my houseplants.) As cheesy as my words may be to read, it’s so helpful to remember what’s important and what you’re grateful for when feelings of envy and discontentment come into your mind. Every day I remind myself of what I really treasure, and I gotta say, it’s not my coffee table… as rad as it might be.

DESIGN STYLE 101: NEW ENGLAND

Interiors with elements inspired by New England Styleabove: VT Wonen Magazine

Last time we took a look at the earthy style of the Southwest, but this time I’d like to venture into the opposite corner of the U.S. and talk about interiors with New England style. Fresh coastal-inspired colors and nautical influences are the hallmark of New England style, but I wanted to show some interiors that borrow from the traditional flavors of the Northeast and add a quirky, contemporary touch—like something you’d see in a Montauk beach house.

Interiors with elements inspired by New England Styleabove: Apartment Therapy

The houses you find in new New England exhibit lots of different styles, of course, but as an outsider and student of interior design, I always tend to think of the charming and quainter version you’d typically see in rustic cottages, coastal cabins and rural farmhouses. Each part of the Northeast has its own vernacular take on New England style, but most homes in the region share similar influences.

Shaker Influence

‘Tis the gift to be simple, according to the pious lifestyle of the Shakers who settled a large part of New England in the earliest days of American colonization. Ornamentation and decadence were considered to be distractions from the Shakers’ religious and spiritual journeys, so their homes were sparsely decorated with useful and minimalist furnishings. Think: peg rails, handmade baskets, ladder-back chairs, simple wooden cabinetry and neutral colors. Rooms were often white washed, floors made of simple planked wood, and fabrics were woven from undyed, handspun fibers. This look has timeless appeal and fits right in with the Kinfolkaesthetic that has become popular in the past few years.

Interiors with elements inspired by New England Style
above: Nadia Dole home photographed by Tess Fine via Home Adore

This puritanical style of homemaking also crossed over into rural farmsteads in the area, simply because of its usefulness and ease of maintenance for working families who didn’t have time or space for excess decoration. These were people who used their bare hands (or maybe gloved hands!) to chop down the trees and plane the timber for their homes, assembling the simple structures with the help of their neighbors. Fancy decor certainly wasn’t the norm for the hard working settlers of New England, though you could often find a few elegant family heirlooms that were brought with the settlers from their Dutch or English homes.

Interiors with elements inspired by New England Style

above left: Vintage House /above right: Holly Jolliffe below left: New England Home / below right: Brian Paquette via West Elm blog

Interiors with elements inspired by New England StyleColonial Influence

As decades went by, settlers became colonists and bustling cities began to form, mostly around major seaports like New York, Boston and Baltimore. Whereas rural homes were influenced by farmers’ needs, homes in colonial cities were highly influenced by what was fashionable at the time in England and France—mostly Georgian and Neoclassical styles marked by simpler versions of Baroque and Rococo styles alongside elegant Greco Roman influences. So, instead of heavily carved and gilded decorations on every surface, rooms were more simply designed but still with classical decorative silhouettes, like broken pediments over doorways and on cabinets, windsor chairs, ornamental columns and nature-inspired murals.

This colonial style is what Americans now think of as traditional design, a fairly popular design style for New England homes. Tailored sofas, wingback and spindle back chairs and Chippendale style furniture are common examples that we see in contemporary settings.

Interiors with elements inspired by New England Style

above: Coastal Living Magazine

Interiors with elements inspired by New England Style

above: New England Home Magazine

Homelife-au c

above: Jane Frosh home photographed by Sharyn Cairns via Home Life

Interiors with elements inspired by New England Styleabove left: New England Home / above right: House Beautiful 

Nautical Influences 

Much of traditional New England style is very heavily influenced by its coastline. Industry like international trading, fishing, and even the U.S. navy lend nautical touches to the region’s design sense, just as the terrain inspires the color palette. Colors like seafoam greens, sandy beiges, sunny yellows and sky blues are common, as are patriotic color schemes in red, white and blue. Materials like jute, driftwood and shiplap (wall paneling) reflect the materials seen on beaches, lighthouses, ships and fishing wharfs. Even fixtures commonly found in more modern naval ships, like cargo lighting (as seen below) and industrial metal dining chairs, are great examples of nautical influences in modern New England design.

Interiors with elements inspired by New England Style

above: Jane Frosh home photographed by Sharyn Cairns via Home Life 

You can get the nautical look without your home looking like a Florida condo by using more polished, traditional elements like the ones I share below. Don’t be afraid to add pops of fun and modern accessories (like that seagull print), but if you want the traditional New England look, try to go a little fancier with a bit of Georgian flair. Incorporate a few accessories made from elegant materials like bronze, gold or marble that boast tried and true neoclassical style. Or keep things simpler with sleek but rustic Shaker elements, like handmade baskets, flax material and rugged wooden elements. Why not throw in a vintage portrait (of a sea captain perhaps?) and your space will ooze the classiness associated with New England style.

Interiors with elements inspired by New England StyleGet the Look 
1. Spindle back bench
2. Industrial pendant light
3. Pocket watch wall clock
4. Peg rail
5. Seagull print
6. Marble striped bookend
7. Wall anchor
8. Gray and white striped pillow
9. Metal dining chair (pair)
10. Jute rug

Interiors with elements inspired by New England Style

above: photo: Nuevo Estilo, designed by Luzio Barcelona via My Domaine

My favorite New England inspired elements are shiplap paneling (which I have in my kitchen), the pocket watch wall clock and those metal dining chairs. What about you? 

DESIGN STYLE 101: SOUTHWESTERN

Southwestern-modern-living-room

Southwestern style packs a whole lot of history into one single interior design genre. The iconic look of the “Wild West” manages to meld together elements from multiple cultures and periods of history, but it’s translatable to modern homes in our day. Here are a variety of contemporary styled homes that heavily rely on the traditional style of the American Southwest. 

Bright-colors-in-southwestern-styleabove: Ruemag / Anthropologie (old image)

Southwestern-neutralsabove: DigsDigs / Country Living via Cavern

Spanish Influence

The Spanish were the first contemporary Europeans to successfully settle the American Southwest, making Spanish style hugely influential in the region even to this day. Traditional Spanish style adobe homes are still being built in the area, even though every modern American architectural element is available to home builders in the region. The orangey terracotta color exterior with its textural stucco walls marks this look, with the interiors usually done in a white stucco with molded edges and nooks.

Along with white walls, interiors in Spanish-inspired homes will often see practical clay tiles for flooring and trim, and sometimes elegant decorative tiles, particularly in kitchens and baths. Architectural details like railings and grates will usually be in wrought iron or beautifully carved woodwork in more upscale spaces.

Tiled-kitchen-backsplashabove: Mark D. Sikes

Southwestern-fursabove: Apartment Therapy / Design Sponge

Native American Influence

Before the Spanish came along, Native Americans were the only inhabitants of the American Southwest, with the Navajo tribe being the most influential when it comes to style. The Navajo have a long history of textile craft, passing down their iconic weaving tradition through hundreds of years. I’m sure you recognize the graphic style of their blankets, as they’re wildly popular these days.

Along with woven textiles, Native Americans contribute other arts to the southwest style, like basket weaving, pottery, turquoise and leather goods. While a lot of modern retailers sell copies of Native American designs, the most respectful way to purchase a Navajo-style rug is to directly buy from Navajo artisans who make the rugs. A simple Google search will show some authentic Navajo vendors. Here’s a shop I found that offers some really beautiful rugs made and sold directly from Navajo artisans.

Southwestern-interiorsabove: Design Sponge / Design Sponge

Cactus-dining-table

above: Apartment Therapy

American Influence

The first of contemporary Americans to settle west were mostly ranchers and missionaries. Hardworking men and women braved the unplowed, wild landscape to raise cattle and farm the land, living simple lives in rustic homes often built out of mud. Their textiles were crudely handwoven or else fresh off an animal’s back. Furnishings and fixtures were utilitarian wood and fixtures sometimes got about as fancy as hammered metal. The rustic rancher look is translated to modern southwest style with decorative elements like ram’s horns, cowhide rugs and upholstery, and the frequent use of leather in upholstery.

The missionaries who settled the West also understandably had simple structures. The style of furnishing was often what they brought with them in their wagons or what was easily fashioned after arrival in their new homes. Most missionaries had lived simple lives even back in the East, so the furnishings you would often see in missions were simple, Shaker styles like ladder-back chairs and large cupboards and wardrobes with simple decorations, like the heart shape cut-out in the hutch shown below left.

Southwestern-styleabove: Apartment Therapy / unknown

Get the Look

It’s so easy to translate southwestern decor into your own personal style. Stick with white walls and accent with earthy color tones, like terracotta and shades of brown. Maybe add a pop of turquoise to borrow from that azure sky. Medium and dark stained wood with leather and hide elements make great accents alongside more elegant Spanish-inspired fixtures. And let’s not forget about the beautiful Native American textiles, weavings, baskets, and pottery. Select the elements you like, and mix to your heart’s content! Here are some of my favorites below:

 Get-the-look-copy1. Papier-mache ram’s head
2. Hammered metal pendant
3. Orange linen pillow
4. Looped woven pillow
5. Highland cows print
6. Navajo rug
7. Bobbin ladder back chair
8. Pueblo vase
9. Leather and hide footstool

Modern-southwestern

above: The Brick House

Of course, if you’d rather exercise your green thumb, you can always buy an easy-to-care for cactus to infuse your space with some southwestern style! You don’t have to get a giant one, per se, but how awesome is this sculptural cactus in the corner of the room above? It’s got me wondering if I could keep something like that alive in my sometimes-sunny Ohio home. 

BUILT-IN BREAKFAST NOOK

Built In Breakfast NookWhen we purchased this East Nashville project house earlier this spring, one of the things that first drew us to the property was this little room off the kitchen that was just BEGGING to become a built-in breakfast nook!

Here’s the before photo …

Before and After! Learn to build this breakfast nook on ABeautifulMess.com Isn’t the upgrade amazing?!

For this post, we partnered with Walls Need Love. They have beautiful options for removable wallpaper, murals and wall decals. We chose the Ida Removable Wallpaper for our nook.

I don’t normally wallpaper ceilings, but in this tight space it creates a high impact, pulled together look. I am BEYOND pleased with how this turned out. And the best part is you can install this wallpaper yourself in a weekend.

Built In Breakfast Nook The first step for this project was to build three benches, customized for the space. Collin removed the trim in the space, framed out the base of the benches and then added the seat back last.

The next step was to build the table. We’re not going to full DIY instructions (although let us know if you’d like to hear them all in a separate post), but Collin built a farmhouse-style table, perfectly fitted for the benches. The table top is about two inches smaller than the floor space between the benches.

If there are any vents or outlets on the wall, they should be extended to outside of the bench, not covered up.

For paint, Collin used two coats of stain blocking primer and then two coats of glossy untinted acrylic paint.

Built In Breakfast Nook
Built In Breakfast Nook Built In Breakfast Nook The next step was to install the wallpaper.

Our best tip is to be patient. Collin started by installing one strip from the front of the ceiling all the way down the back of the wall, and then worked out from there. For a continuous pattern, you can’t make it match from every angle, so we prioritized the front facing angle. The sides of the wall to ceiling don’t match, but the pattern hides it very well.

Built In Breakfast Nook
Built In Breakfast Nook
Built In Breakfast Nook

Built In Breakfast Nook
Built In Breakfast Nook Last, Collin installed a fresh new light fixture.

When shopping for wallpaper, always order samples. I always order way too many samples, but it’s helpful because some of the time they look different in person. Samples can also help you get an idea of scale.

Wallpaper – Ida Removable Wallpaper by Walls Need Love, Light – Luna Pendant in Black by Schoolhouse Electric.

Built In Breakfast Nook
Built In Breakfast Nook I’m happy we went neutral in this space because I can style it with pillows, flowers and baskets to reflect each season. I am SO EXCITED to have guests stay in our new home and I hope they love it as much as we do!

Built In Breakfast Nook
Built In Breakfast Nook
Built In Breakfast Nook My partner in crime was in town and got to see our new property for the first time. I bribed her with some cinnamon rolls to snap a few photos … always works!

Built In Breakfast Nook I hope this post has inspired you and shown what a HUGE transformation a little wallpaper can make! It made this space so much more thoughtful looking. It would have been nice without it, but with it it’s really special!

If you’re one of those people who has been terrified of wallpaper, this next paragraph is for you. 🙂

Wallpaper in 2017 is a whole new animal. It’s nothing like vintage paper that takes forever to remove (I am still somewhat traumatized from the painted-over wallpaper in our last home). These days it’s easier than ever to install AND remove. So easy that some of the time you can do it yourself (or at least remove it yourself if you don’t want to do the install). And there are countless new options that look super modern. So give wallpaper a chance.

Built In Breakfast Nook Thank you so much for reading! I am beyond grateful to have you here. 

PINK + ORANGE FALL TABLESCAPE

Each year when fall (and then the holidays) roll around, I feel inspired to play with different color schemes. I love finding ways to incorporate traditional autumn vibes, in a unique way. This year, I decided to mix blush pink, mustard and amber to create a colorful tablescape!

This post is a part of our series with Everything But The House, an online estate sale resource. In my last post, I shared my tips for estate sale shopping online. It’s no secret that I love vintage—always have, always will! In today’s post, I wanted to share how incorporating vintage elements with a tight color scheme can be sophisticated and pulled together.

I purchased this wooden and ceramic dip set on EBTH. One of my favorite things to shop vintage for is serverware. As much as I love the new options that are available, there’s something extra special about using pieces at parties from decades past. Maybe it’s my inner Mad Men fan girl shining though, but parties are a time I like to rely heavily on vintage—both in my party prep and with my outfits.

I mixed some new pink and amber glassware from EBTH into my existing collection. These two colors play together so well. I used the glassware for both drinking glasses and vases for a floral centerpiece.

One of my favorite budget-friendly (and just plain fun) tricks is to make all my own floral arrangements. I almost never spend the extra money on pre-made bouquets. Instead, I go to a flower store where you can find a variety of individual blooms and I make my own. It’s so much fun. When I have time to do it, I love to spend the night before a party prepping arrangements and sipping a glass of wine with a good record playing. It’s pretty magical!

I added a handful of mini pumpkins to add to the festive feel of the table. Little touches add to the theme!

An all orange, red and brown color scheme can be lovely, but it can also be cheesy or maybe a little overdone (all a matter of personal taste, of course). Incorporating another color you love into a traditional color scheme is a great way to mix it up and personalize your table to match your home!

I’d love to hear about any fun ideas you have for either Thanksgiving, friendsgiving or autumn parties you are hosting this year! I LOVE this topic and I could seriously sketch out 100 table ideas … it’s so fun for me. Good thing the seasons keep changing and there are always more parties to host!

Thank you so much for reading! If you love this post—please pin some images! 

MANDI’S LIVING ROOM REVEAL

joybird taylor golden sectionalIt was only a few short months ago that I posted a tour of this home and announced we were placing an offer. I had a couple of friends say they were surprised. It didn’t seem like a good fit. Not much character. Kind of weird in ways. But here we are, and I’m excited to finally share the outcome of my vision for this living room space! And I feel like it might make a lot more sense now.

We had missed out on a home with a sunken conversation pit in front of a lava rock fireplace, so every home I viewed after that one could never measure up. I realized I needed to get really creative about what could be done to a space, instead of trying to find another house with something as awesome as a conversation pit. (That one was probably a once-in-a-lifetime find for my budget!) Though our current home was built in the ’80s, I wanted to bring some mid-century flair to the living room (which is technically sunken, since you take a step down into the space), but not so much that it felt at odds with the rest of the home, or the home’s character. I was able to achieve the loungey vibe that I love about a conversation pit by transforming the brick fireplace into a tall stone feature element, and building out the hearth to extend the entire length of the wall.

MandiMakes living room makeover beforeBoral Old Country Fieldstone FireplaceYou can read all about the process of making over the fireplace wall on my post from earlier this week, but I’ll sum it up for you here too. I actually didn’t do any demo on the fireplace wall (besides removing the mantle and carpet). Instead, I chose to cover up the brick with an affordable manufactured stone veneer product called Cultured Stone by Boral. I wanted a warm neutral stone with some variety in its mix, adding textural interest and even pattern to such a starkly bright white room. So I selected the Old Country Fieldstone in the Summit Peak colorway and hired my friend, mason Jeremy Miller, to install it for me. He installed a moisture barrier over the drywall above the fireplace, mounted metal lath to that, and then covered the whole area with mortar to make an even surface for mounting the cultured stone veneer. I think out of all the changes we’ve made to our home so far, this has been the best decision! Such a big bang for the buck.

On the newly extended hearth, I chose to use Ardex Feather Finish in white, which is a concrete material meant to be applied as a skim coat or floor underlayment. I chose not to use the manufactured stone material on the face of the hearth because it would stick out beyond the upper lip of the hearth, which I would then have to build out to maintain any kind of dimensional overhang, and that just seemed like too much work for something I wasn’t even sure was the best choice. So I decided on the white Ardex because it has a natural material vibe, but it wouldn’t add any visual or physical bulk like stone would. I’m glad I chose to make the hearth bright and white, as it looks streamlined and fades nicely into the floor and walls, allowing the stone wall to be the focal point of the room.

MandiMakes living room makeover beforeOf course another huge change for this space was the new wall color and flooring materials. Paint is the least expensive way to change a space, and while I do love a cozy darker color in the right application, I just wasn’t feeling it for in here. Because of the angles of the ceiling and soffits in here, choosing a color that contrasted with the ceiling was making the space feel angular and tense. Painting the walls with Benjamin Moore’s Super White now makes the ceiling feel like its soaring, and blurs the line between where the wall ends and the ceiling begins.

I do plan on using some moodier colors in other rooms of our house, like our entryway and study, but I definitely feel like our living room was made for white walls.

Mandi's Living Room Before and AfterVintage photobooth panel with Eileen Gray side tablejoybird taylor golden sectionalThe bright space of the living room is enhanced by natural light coming from two skylights and a window I’ve visually enlarged with four stack-back curtain panels, but it also benefits from a lot of light pouring in from the adjacent sunroom. The sunroom is one of two ways we can access our back deck, but that door hasn’t gotten any play since we’ve moved into the house. Maybe one day it’ll see more action when we add a dog to our family, in which case I’ll probably add a large rug to the sunroom as well.

channel tufted banquetteYou can check out more of the sunroom details over at my blog, and see how I built the channel-tufted storage banquette on this post here at A Beautiful Mess. It’s a bright little space where my houseplants are really happy, and I love that the view into the sunroom contributes a touch of greenery to our living room. I’m considering moving my big ficus into the living room this spring, but we’ll see what my heart tells me!

Mandi's Living Room Before and AfterMandi's Living Room Before and AfterMandi's Living Room Before and AfterIt’s difficult for me to nail down a description of the decor style for our home, but if I could sum it up, I’d probably say our home is a mix of mid-century modern, ’70s boho, and ’80s transitional—with a touch of Bauhaus and Scandinavian influences. I steer towards earthy neutrals with lots of texture and bold style, but I like to add a pop of color where it counts— like with our gorgeous yellow Welles sectional from Joybird.

I’m actually in the process of swapping out this sofa for a larger L-shaped sectional from Joybird, but I’m either sticking with yellow or choosing an adobe orange velvet. We decided on the swap because we wanted more seating in here since we host a lot of parties, book groups, and movie nights in this space.

Mandi's Living Room Before and AfterMandi's Living Room Before and AfterMandi's Living Room Before and AfterI love the mix of old/new and high/low that fills this space. I wanted our new home to feel sophisticated, but also cozy and inviting. Of course, as with any home, this space will always be a work in progress. But it feels good to finally be finished with the big projects in here and to be able to call this space “done” (for now)!

If you have any questions about my design process or about the materials or products, I’ll be checking into the comments below to reply to everyone. I did add a link list at the end of this post to help you track down any products, or to disappoint you in the event the piece you love is vintage! Ah, vintage. Such a heartbreaker, eh?

Thanks for taking a peek into my home! It’s a joy to finally be able to share it with you. – Mandi

joybird taylor golden sectionalLiving Room Materials and Product Sources:

Wall paint: Benjamin Moore’s Super White
Fireplace stone: Boral Cultured Stone Old Country Fieldstone in Summit Peak
Flooring: Lumber Liquidators engineered bamboo
White Ardex: eBay
Large area rug: Lulu & Georgia
Sofa: Welles sectional from Joybird
Glass side table: All Modern
Coffee Table: Chairish
White chairs: 1st Dibs
White side table between chairs: LexMod
Credenza: vintage Broyhill Brasilia from Main St. Modern in Canton, Ohio
Black swing-arm wall sconce: Hayneedle
Curtain rods: IKEA
Curtains: HomeGoods
Hearth cushions: Deal Genius
Sunroom wicker chair: vintage from Main St. Modern in Canton, Ohio
Sunroom table: Lexmod
Sunroom rug: Amazon
Sunroom wall planters: West Elm
Watercolor Louise Brooks portrait on credenza: original from German artist Galerie Minimal on Etsy
Large neutral art created by my girls
Decorative trays: Home Goods
Vases, floor lamps, bar cart, photobooth panel, yellow op art, and little girl portrait are vintage.