I was excited to see my amazing little brother run his 2nd marathon at the OKC Memorial Marathon this weekend. What I did not anticipate was the emotion I experienced while watching all the runners at the end. I saw two ladies help their friend hobble across the finish line with tears streaming down their faces. There’s just something about watching people accomplish their goal!
This was no beautiful, sunny day marathon either. They had to delay the start time due to lightning and it rained like cats and dogs almost the entire race. Regardless, I never once heard anyone complain. My brother ended up running a 3:39:36 and shaved an hour off his time from last year, even though initially he said that he wouldn’t run another one.
So what caused him to get back on the marathon horse? Apparently, that feeling of accomplishing a seemingly impossible goal is addicting. This got me to thinking about the goal many of us have of turning our house into an inspired home. If you’re anything like me, it can almost seem like an unattainable goal and too large to even take on. Where do you begin?
Since starting this blog nearly 4 months ago, I have done more home improvement projects than I’ve done in 7 yrs. That was my starting gun. I had to get over my fear of making bad design choices. I had to ignore the voice in my head saying that I’ve never had an artsy bone in my body. I had to start holding myself accountable (via this blog) to keep moving forward. I had to embrace the longing I’ve had while sitting in cubicles much of my post-college life to create something and to share it with the world.
Much like running marathons, creating is addicting. Take that leap, utilize the internet and research a project you’ve been thinking about, go and create something today!
Marathon image found here.
I couldn’t travel to The Sooner State without sharing pics of my bro-in-law and sis-in-law’s house where we always stay. It started out as a bachelor pad and (due to my sis-in-law’s amazing sense of design) has evolved into a beautiful home.
We’ll start with the master bedroom. I am loving that chunky, rustic bed with the art piece that just seems to flow perfectly. The paisley bedding is also fun and I see that I’m not the only one in the family with a pillow addiction.
Not only were the curtains made from fabric and hung with clips, but check out that DIY bamboo curtain rod and hardware – love it!
Here we have the guest bathroom. The warm paint color, white cabinets and granite counter top make you feel like you’re at a spa. My favorite part is the paisley fabric shower curtain with the chocolate brown and teal border at the bottom that my sis-in-law and her mom made together.
What do you do with extra bedrooms when you are DINKS (double income no kids)? Create a media room, of course! I love how this big sectional makes you just want to curl up and watch a movie.
What’s a media room without the media (i.e. big screen TV)? They opened up the closet doors and repurposed a dresser as a media cabinet. A+ for creativity!
Next we’ll head downstairs to the powder room. Just look at those amazing wide plank hardwood floors that they recently had installed throughout the downstairs. It’s a little hard to see in the pic, but the vanity is a repurposed dresser and I can’t get over that marble bowl sink!
They recently knocked out two unnecessary wall dividers and opened up the living room and kitchen which looks amazing – I can’t believe what a difference it makes. The brick on the fireplace used to go all the way up to the ceiling, but they took that out and added a chunky mantle and cubbyhole for behind the TV.
My sis-in-law is a curtain genius I tell ya. I am loving these rich fabric curtains paired with oil-rubbed bronze rods and curtain clips.
Turn around and you are faced with their beautifully remodeled kitchen. They added granite, stainless steal appliances, new flooring, modern pendant lights mixed with recess lighting and a tile backsplash.
They also had the cabinets painted an antique white finish, added crown molding, and replaced the hardware which adds to that custom made look.
The warm tones mixed with dark wood and rich fabrics is simply stunning! Turning this house into an inspired home has taken several years, even though my sis-in-law will always say it’s a work in progress. I think it’s absolutely beautiful and we love having it be our home away from home. What do you all think about this jewel in the Great Plains?
What the heck is a vignette some of you may be asking yourselves? It’s just a fancy smancy name designers use to refer to displays on console tables, end tables, shelves, or even your kitchen counter. I took a mini field trip around my house to snap a few pics of vignettes for examples.This phone nook is one of my favorite features of our 1950′s home. It adds a little character and will be helpful someday when explaining to our kids that phones used to actually plug into walls. Currently I have my favorite fake grass and a few candles displayed here, but I’ve always thought it would be fun to have an old school phone like this one sitting there.This is a shelf in our bathroom. As I confessed in my previous post, I cannot keep house plants alive for the life of me. Instead I opt to get the most real looking fake plants possible like these little guys. Vignettes don’t have to be complicated – my philosophy is to keep it simple. Are you noticing the theme of 3 yet?This vignette in our master bedroom is constantly changing. During our recent living room make-over this wedding pic came off the wall and I haven’t found it a new permanent home yet. On a whim I decided to lean it against the wall and it’s been fun for a change.Here we have Mr. Rooster that my hubby picked out himself at Pier 1 – I know, I’m still in shock. I added some elbow macaroni to the container and grabbed a bottle of rum for the height and color. You can get super creative with kitchen vignettes because it’s never weird to decorate with food (fruit, coffee beans and pasta are some of my faves).
When creating your own vignettes, try to stick with odd numbers of items (3-5-7) because it’s more visually appealing. Try using items of different colors and heights, or different shapes. Keep the materials similar, but not necessarily the same. Above all, keep it simple so it doesn’t look like clutter.
You can check out some other vignettes around my home here and here. What are some of your favorite items to use in vignettes around your home? Anyone else have a spouse who purchased a decorative item… willingly? How many times do you think I can type the word vignette in one blog?
How many of you were on a spring scavenger hunt around your home and picking branches from your backyard this morning? I was yet again inspired by my beautiful friend Mandy who challenged fellow bloggers to change the decor on their fireplace mantel using only things around their house. Since we have no mantel, I decided to stage my next favorite thing – our tabletop.This is a nice before shot showing the void of happiness that is our dining room table. Here’s a funny side note story about those white chair pads… a few years ago, I was scavenging the after Christmas clearance isles at Target and saw these fluffy chair pads for $5 each. I was doing my typical “stand in the aisle and weigh the pros and cons” when another
vulture lady came out of nowhere and started filling her cart with every one she could get her hands on. It was ON like Donkey Kong and I barely escaped alive with four chair pads in hand!Back to the matter at hand. The first thing I did was go into every room of my house in search of spring decor. I really tried to think outside the box and honed in on spring colors and glassware. I also ventured into the backyard to gather some branches. I knew I wanted those because I was inspired by my friend Jessica who used branches draped with pearls to decorate for her daughter’s first birthday party – so cute! Most of this stuff didn’t make the cut, but it gave me lots to choose from.Here’s the final result! I can’t tell you how it made that room go from blah to ahhhh in such a short amount of time AND it cost me nothing. I debated whether to use a tablecloth or table runner, but in the end I wanted the centerpiece to stand out instead of looking too busy. I did pick up those beautiful orange tulips at the grocery store last night, but it was before I read Mandy’s post so I didn’t break the rules, and it was only $3.99.Here’s a close-up of the place setting. I wanted the iris flowers on the plates to show, so I simply turned the napkins horizontal. Anyone who’s ever been to our house for dinner has eaten off of these bamboo placemats. What can I say, I love how they add texture and a natural element to the table (one of our better wedding gifts). I also like to break out the wine glasses whenever we have company. It doesn’t matter whether we’re drinking wine, lemonade or just plain ole’ aqua – I like how it adds a bit of class.This is a close-up of the centerpiece. I’m not sure exactly where the food would fit on the table, but it sure is cute! One of my favorite elements are the brightly colored books I stacked which added dimension and allowed me to set a couple of the Love letters on. I really like how the branches turned out too adding height and nature all in one. I thought about draping ribbon on the branches, but it was too much. I went for simple and used three clear vases I had on hand. Oh, and what would a spring tabletop be without Tweet?!
This may be a little overboard than what I would normally do when having people over for pizza, but it makes me so happy that I’ve decided to leave it there for awhile. What areas of your home do you like to change up with the seasons or holidays? Anyone else have any near-death shopping experiences? I am extending the challenge to any of my readers who would like to change up a mantel, tabletop or heck, even the top of your toliet for all I care using only items you already have in your home – let the games begin!
No live branches were harmed in the making of this post (they were already laying on the ground when I found them).
A question I often get asked as a stager is, “Where do you shop for the best deals?” There is definitely not one place. In fact, a key in the process is to diversify your shopping and to be open-minded to stores you wouldn’t necessarily think of first. One of the first staging jobs I did was for a couple that was on a limited budget. After repurposing everything I could that they already had, I purchased 90% of the accessories from (wait for it)… Wal-Mart!
Who knew, right? In recent years, Wal-Mart (probably trying to compete with Target in all its design glory) has brought brands such as Better Homes and Gardens into its home department. I decided to do a little window shopping there to show you some diamonds in the ruff.I’ve had my eye on this super cute 5×8 rug for months now. I love how it has an intrinsic design, yet with neutral colors which would make it work in almost any space. The best part is its mere $69.96 price tag!I know it’s a little difficult to focus on the black and white framed art with all that annoying particle board in the background, but stay with me. You know how you have those small, odd wall spaces in your home that you aren’t quite sure what to do with? A couple of these framed prints would add some style for only $10 each.Pillows, pillows, pillows! I’ve been known to make the Marge Simpson groan whenever I find adorable pillows in stores and the price tag says it costs more than a tank of gas (which is a lot these days!). At Wally World, you can find a variety of colors and shapes that average around $10-13.How fun are these brushed nickel finish table lamps? These would be perfect for a nightstand in a guest bedroom, child’s room or an accent table that you need to add some height to. I really like the different colors they come in and think it would be fun to find bedding that would match either the orange or green one. The black could add some drama and of course there’s always the standby cream if you’ve got bold patterns in the rest of the room – and they’re only $13.97.I ventured over to the tabletop section and saw these dishtowels that would be perfect for adding a pop of color to a neutral kitchen. I actually got a couple of the yellow and green print ones on the right to stage a client’s kitchen. I hung one on the stove handle and draped another one over the edge of the sink. That, coupled with a small ivy plant in a red pot, added just the right amount of color I was going for and broke up all the beige.This last weekend I was on babysitting duty while some of our friends loaded their moving truck to move to Florida. I told Ben afterwards that when we have kids, we’re going to need baskets… lots and lots of baskets (to organize all the toys that would otherwise be scattered on every square foot of our home)! These beauties would organize in style at only $10 a pop.Do you all remember this post about our guest bedroom make-over? I talked about buying some pillowcases that were a different design than our sheets to add a fresh pattern to the mix. I actually got those brown paisley ones on clearance, but even regularly they are only $10 for queen and $14 for king pillowcases in the BH&G brand. A simple upgrade on the cheap.I decided to save the best for last – this was my favorite find of the trip! I’ve been looking for a leaning floor mirror to use in our master bedroom to make it appear bigger, but they are always SO expensive (like this one). I took one look at this beautiful oil-rubbed bronze one and wanted to jump up and down in the aisle. Not only was it exactly what I’ve been looking for, but it was only $44! That, my friends, is a steal.
I don’t mean to sound like an episode of Growing Pains by wrapping up with the lesson we can all learn in this, but my advice is to not write Wal-Mart off when it comes to home decor. Sure, their displays and store staging leave a lot to be desired, but if you find that item you’ve been looking for then it can be totally worth your while. Has anyone else ventured out of the groceries over to the home section at Wal-Mart? What unexpected places have you found great decor? Any requests on other stores you’d like me to window shop at?
My friend Mandy (also our favorite photographer) challenged us to blog about five of our favorite things. If you’ve ever watched designers in the creative process, they often will decorate a room around a fabric, pillow or piece of art. If you are one of those people (like myself) who struggle with where to begin in decorating a room, then I suggest finding some pieces that inspire you. Here are a few of mine…I received this yellow rosette pillow from Target as a Christmas gift and it was love at first sight! I am beginning to really like using yellow as an accent color and this was the cherry on top for my guest bedroom mini-makeover (which I will be blogging about soon).Oh Pottery Barn wool rug how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. We have all hardwood floors in our house and this beautiful addition not only keeps our tootsies warm in the winter, but brought the whole room together.
We Ben recently painted our living room from a deep mustard yellow to a light airy gray. I was concerned at first that it looked a little too industrial, but after adding this baby to the mix it’s perfect! When staging, sometimes you don’t want to cover up hardwood floors because they are a great selling feature. However, in many cases it adds warmth and helps complete the room.What is the easiest way to redefine and add a fresh look to a bedroom? Get new bed linens! Please ignore the sailor blue walls, they are on death row and will be painted a much more appropriate neutral color soon. I also plan on buying or DIYing some additional throw pillows, but I love the airy feel of the light gray and yellow comforter against the dark gray (organic cotton) sheets.If I were Rachel, I would tell Phoebe that this amazing blue vase was handcrafted in South America in the days of yore, but alas it was just an incredible find from <gasp> Pottery Barn Outlet (originally $59.99 marked down to $5). Over the years, this has continued to be one of my favorite pieces because it has a unique shape, height and color. The perfect accessory in my book!With this pic, you’re getting a sneak peek of a future blog about the evolution of our living room. The giant frame on the wall is the focus, but it looked lonely in a picture by itself. Again, this was a steal from Pottery Barn Outlet (after writing this blog, I’m beginning to think I’m addicted). I simply found a pic on the internet of bamboo, got an 8×10 printed and ta-da, we have art! Lush, green bamboo is one of my favorite things to use in decorating.
Well folks, there you have it – 5 of my favorite things. I feel like I’ve helped define my own decorating sense just in writing about these items. I suggest picking out 5 of your favorite items in your home to do the same – decorating therapy if you will.