I remember helping my grandother clean up after Thanksgiving on eyear, and she instsisted on putting everything away herself. At first I thought she was being stubborn, but one year she admitted, "if I don't stack everything just so, it doesn't fit." At the time I didn't understand, but I now have a kitchen built at roughly the same time as my grandmother's. If I don't stack everything "just so" it doesn't fit.
Prior to starting this kitchen remodel, I made a list of all the "problem" areas in my kitchen and vowed to come up with solutions to fix them. One such area was the fact that our pots and pans were stacked and you had to move them all to get at the one you wanted. As I began building the cabinets, I knew their had to be a better way. I turned to an Ana White plan, and I'm thrilled with the results.
I think a perfectly brewed cup of coffee is one of life's great luxuries. Close your eyes, inhale, let the warm steam wash over you. Sip. Taste. Be in the moment, completely relaxed. The world moves a little slower, and nothing seems so bad as it did a minute ago. My favorite Sunday morning ritual is to make myself a fresh cup of coffee and just sit in my dining room soaking in the morning sun. I put some jazz on, and just relax and simply be. No work, no thinking about the "to do" list. Just myself and a beverage as old as time. It's heavenly.
Since this little ritual is something I look forward to each week, I thought I would start a new series on the blog called "Sunday Coffee." Each week I'll cover some kind of coffee related topic. If you've been around here for a while you know that I am obsessed with my Nespresso, but on Sundays or when I'm at my beach "house" I use my french press. I love the coffee it makes, and I don't even mind that it takes just a little bit more time and effort. However, I learned recently that I was doing quite a few things wrong. I (like many), added my coffee, water, brewed, and plunged. There's more to it than that. I fixed these 5 mistakes that I was making with my french press and it dramatically changed the coffee. I thought if I was making these mistakes, you might be too. They are super easy fixes and really take no additional time. Happy Sunday my friends, may your coffee be strong and your work load be light! Read on for the five mistakes you're making with your french press.
I recently undertook a "room of doom" challenge on Instagram. It involved tackling that room (we all have one) that is out of control. I decided to tackle my "office." At least that's what we'd always intended it to be, an office/guest room. It has ended up being a storage shed for our camper equipment, an extra closet, a craft room, a recycling bin, and many other things, but it has not been an office or a guest room. I've long said that the trick to getting stuff done around the house is to throw a party or invite a guest. We have a guest coming in February, so the need for an actual guest room become unavoidable. As part of the makeover I swapped out the curtains. I am trying to do this makeover for as little money as possible. Drop cloth curtains are all over the decor community, so these are not new, but if you don't know how to do them..here ya go! They are super easy, super cheap, and very versatile. Here's what you need....
Barn doors are everywhere, I'd say they're having a moment, but let's be honest, they're having a whole hour! I knew I wanted to add them somewhere in our house, but I also knew that I wasn't going to pay the hefty price tag that they came with. The closet that is sort of part of my dining room and sort of part of my kitchen and sort of it's own area finally bothered me enough to update it, and it was the perfect space to add this element! It only cost me $20 to update them. I think it's definitely a good bang for your buck.
You know when people say they're going to "their happy place?" Like when its a stressful situation and they close their eyes breath in and imagine themselves on some tropical island, by the beach, or maybe on a mountaintop? Yeah, I do that too. I close my eyes and go to "my happy place" frequently when I need a break from the real world. Only my happy place isn't a mountain top, it's William Sonoma. Or Pottery Barn. In a 1998ish. In NYC With Harry Connick Jr. or Ella Fitzgerald playing in the background. Okay, basically its a Romcom.
You know why I love Romcoms? Not for the romance...or the comedy...or any of that. I love them for the real estate. People always have really great apartments and homes, and really great cocktail parties and tablescapes.
So while I can't live in an NYC romcom circa 1998, I can make my dining room feel like William Sonoma at Thanksgiving...and that's almost the same thing! So here it is, my Fall Dining Room Tour with sources!
If you talk to anyone that lives in New England, they will tell you that Spring just forgot to show up this year. Winter overstayed (as it always does) and Summer has been desperately trying to push through, but for every 80 degree day we get, its followed by a 50 degree day. Oh yeah, and its raining all the time. The only thing I can do is look at pretty flowers and hope that they will stick around once Mother Nature stops having mood swings. While I always prefer fresh flowers when possible, the reality is that depending on where you live and your budget, it may not always be an option! So I'm going to say something that interior decorators and home stagers alike would strongly disagree with- it's okay to buy fake flowers!
When I first moved into my house, the floors were orange. Yep, you read that right, orange. Don’t worry they were tempered by the red countertops. What can I say, the 70’s were a weird time for decor. I knew I couldn’t live with them for long. I’m kind of a hot mess the majority of the time, so I need my house (at least in terms of decor) to be calming. Orange floors don’t do that for me. I quickly painted the cabinets white and did a faux marble top counter. Next up were the floors. After a lot of research, I decided to use a peel and stick vinyl. Some people were horrified when I mentioned this, as they were picturing the vinyl tiles of old. I ended up doing my dining room, kitchen, and bathroom in peel and stick vinyl, you could say I’ve become a bit of an expert. I assumed when I did the camper floors I would use them again, but the previous owner had partially installed a floating laminate wood floor. BF loved the particular look, so rather than cover over it, I found matching flooring and one Sunday my dad and I did the camper floors.
I will say that both types of flooring are easy enough for a beginner and both give you a great finish, depending on what you are looking for. There are some differences, which I’ll get into, and I would use them depending on the situations. I am in no way a professional, and the opinions that follow are just based on my own experience. I just know that I hemmed and hawed about what to use in my own home, and this information would have been helpful to me.
This is the easiest DIY and it makes a big impact. Blanket ladders have been all the rage lately. They’re rustic and cozy. They add height and texture to a room. They are also ridiculously overpriced for what they are; pieces of wood screwed together.
Like most DIY’s this started with me seeing what I wanted in Pottery Barn and deciding that I could make it for (much) cheaper. If you have 20 minutes to spare you can make this too!
In perfect kitchens in perfect homes, dishtowels (or tea towels) are not actually used for drying the dishes or for...well for whatever tea towels were meant to be used for. However I do not have a perfect kitchen, and my home is far from it as well. I mean cute Instagram photos aside...we live here and we have dishes that need drying and spills that need cleaning up. Despite laundering them, I go through towels quite frequently.
In addition to needing them for practical uses, I think dishtowels can be a fun way to decorate for the seasons and all kinds of events. I love funny quirky sayings and pretty patterns alike. I always see ones I like, but I can't justify spending money on them when they get pretty beat up. Sometimes, I have an idea in my head of one that I want, but can't find it in the store. You know where this is going, it only made sense to find an affordable way to make them myself. So here it is, for around a $1.15 you can make endless possibilities of towels!
I'm fireplace obsessed. I've been known to have them (real of not) in every room of my house. I've gotten pretty good at the fake fireplace game over the years. In fact, my #1 "wishlist" item when purchasing a home wasn't hardwood floors, or granite counters. It was a working fireplace. When bf brought the idea of purchasing his grandfather's home to me, I loved the idea. Having a home that while a fixer-upper, had family history intrigued me. Bonus: It has not one, but two fireplaces! I've been known to have a fire anytime the temperature drops below 50 degrees (which is most of the time here in New England). Despite the two working fireplaces, I wanted one in the dining room as well. We already had this electric fireplace and used a $20 fix to make it look like a real wood stove. Seriously, we fool people all the time.