Creating an Outdoor Oasis

Creating an Outdoor Oasis

I’m sorry I have been a little quiet on here lately! I’ve been keeping very busy with a number of projects—finishing the prep work for a new painting, advising my parents on furnishings for their Maine home, ordering a new sectional for our basement (more on that soon!), and getting our little patio ready for the season! I thought I would share some photos of that last project today, along with links to all my sources. Our patio is one of the many things that I really love about our townhome—it is right off the back of the kitchen and it’s cleverly designed with a brick wall on one side and our living room on the other, so that we have total privacy from our neighbors…

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My Parents' Summer Home: Dining Room Progress

My Parents' Summer Home: Dining Room Progress

This past week my husband and I got to take a little time off from work to spend a few days up in New England, visiting my in-laws and attending my sister’s baby shower. We also managed to sneak up to Maine for just a bit, which meant that I got to see the progress on my parents’ summer home there! A few months ago, I shared in this post that I have been helping them to decorate the house, beginning with the dining room, and today I am excited to share a brief update on that space! I am thrilled with how the room is starting to come together! They did choose to purchase the dining table that I had helped them pick out from Ballard Designs, and it looks gorgeous in their dining room…

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5 Low-Maintenance, Pet-Friendly Houseplants

5 Low-Maintenance, Pet-Friendly Houseplants

I don’t know about you, but I do not have a naturally green thumb (although my dad and mother-in-law are both avid gardeners, so I really have no excuse). My dad gave me a fern about five years ago, which I hung from the ceiling in my old apartment, and while I loved the life and color that it added to the space, I didn’t love watering it, and it died within a few months (or weeks). But after reading enough decorating books and home bloggers, I have finally jumped on the bandwagon of keeping indoor houseplants, because it’s literally one of the most inexpensive ways to make a huge impact in your home!

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Basement Renovation: Next Steps

Basement Renovation: Next Steps

Now that the work on our basement is officially done, it’s time to start painting and furnishing it! Obviously, the painting has to come first, so the next step is figuring out what color to paint the walls. There are an infinite number of directions that we could go in for the wall color, but I always knew I wanted to keep it very light (since it’s a windowless basement), and once we picked the built-ins from Pottery Barn, it just made sense to me to paint the walls the same color, so that they would blend seamlessly in (and hopefully look more like real built-ins that way!). I wasn’t sure if I should go with a slightly different white, or try to match the cabinets as close as possible, but I read this helpful post by Kyle M. Interiors, who is a paint color expert, and she advised NOT mixing and matching whites too much, since one white can easily make another look dirty/warm/cool, etc.

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Dining Room Series: Artwork as Inspiration

Dining Room Series: Artwork as Inspiration

Now that I’ve finished my series on the living room, I’m excited to share about our dining room, which was the next space I chose to focus on (and it’s now one of my favorite rooms in the house!). Since I had already developed my concept for the living room, I liked the idea of having a slightly contrasting theme for the dining room, so that they felt like two distinct spaces. Since the living room palette was dark, warm, and rich, I thought it might be nice to keep the dining room light, cool, and airy. However, I also wanted to find an “inspiration piece,” which would help dictate the concept for the room and add some personality. One of the challenges of living in a 1980s townhome is that it tends to be pretty bland and lacking in character, so I’ve been trying to add more personality through furnishings and décor wherever possible…

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Basement Renovation Reveal!

Basement Renovation Reveal!

I am so excited to finally be able to share the photos of our finished basement! First off, a disclaimer—you will probably notice that it obviously isn’t actually finished yet, since it still needs to be painted! We opted not to pay for them to paint it; instead, we used that money towards having the crew assemble and install the media center into the wall, so that it looks more like a custom built-in. We knew we could do the painting ourselves (even if it may take us a while), so I think this was a much better use of our money. It does make the “reveal” a little less exciting at the moment, but I promise I will post more photos as soon as it’s 100% finished.

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Living Room Series: Future Plans

Living Room Series: Future Plans

Since I showed some images of my “finished” living room in my last post, I thought I would follow up with sharing the plans I have for continuing to work on the space in the next few months/years. These are slightly more long-term plans, but I think it’s always good to be thinking ahead to the next steps, even while we are very much enjoying our living room in it’s current state. So, here are some of my future projects for this room…

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Living Room Series: Final Reveal

Living Room Series: Final Reveal

Over the past few months, I have been sharing a series of posts about my decorating process for our living room, and today I am very pleased to finally be able to show you the finished product!!! Having said that, I have to add the caveat that I believe a house evolves organically over time, so I’m not sure a room is ever really “finished”. There are already so many more things that I want to do to our living room (and I will share more about that in a future post), however, it is at least “finished” enough at this stage, that I am finally ready to share it with you!

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Basement Renovation Progress Update!

Basement Renovation Progress Update!

The long-awaited day has finally arrived!!! After waiting about two months for the media center to be delivered, we were finally able to get started on our basement renovation project this week! This is the first major home project that my husband and I have undertaken together, so it’s both very exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. In case this might be helpful to any other first-time-house-renovators, I thought I would share a little bit more about our experience so far…

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Living Room Series: Accessories

Living Room Series: Accessories

Once a room is furnished and all of the major elements are in place, it’s time to focus on wall décor and decorative accessories—the proverbial icing on the cake. However, while this last stage may seem somewhat trivial, it’s actually crucially important. Many people stop decorating once all their furniture is in place, but without these final accents, a room will feel incomplete. No matter how well your couch coordinates with your rug, if you have bare walls and empty shelves, the space is going to look like its missing something… 

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Living Room Series: Framing William Morris Prints

Living Room Series: Framing William Morris Prints

Once a room is “decorated” with the bare essentials, rugs, furniture, window treatments, and lamps, the next major step is to address what’s going on the wall. Blank bare walls automatically make a room feel unfinished, and conversely, wall decor is one of the best ways to make a major statement in a room—in fact, I would argue that artwork is the single most powerful tool to completely transform a space. As an artist (and a gallerist!), this is a topic that I feel very strongly about, and it’s definitely something that I will continue addressing in future posts. Unfortunately, this topic also poses a bit of a quandary for many people; after all, most of us cannot necessarily afford to decorate our walls with real original works of art, and personally, I’m really not a fan of the recent trend for “word art” or any other types of mass-produced “decorator” art.

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The Saga of My Entryway Runner

The Saga of My Entryway Runner

A few weeks ago, I shared photos of my updated entryway, and I mentioned that I had encountered some difficulty finding an entryway runner that coordinated with my existing rug. Today, I’d like to take a little time to go into more detail about this process. While finding a runner turned into a month long saga which resulted in a LOT of frustration, it also ended up being a really good learning experience for me in several ways. To refresh your memory, I already had a beautiful 2 x 4 foot Magnolia Home rug in my entryway, which I absolutely loved, but I wanted to add a coordinating runner, which would extend in front of the door to our garage. I knew it might be a bit of a challenge trying to find something which worked with the rug I already had, and my maximum budget for the runner was $100.

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Living Room Series: Natural Lighting

Living Room Series: Natural Lighting

In one of my previous posts, I covered some aspects of artificial lighting in the home, so now it’s time to talk about natural lighting, i.e. windows! This may not seem like the most exciting element of decorating, but lately I have been realizing just how important windows are to the overall look and feel of a room. Once again, I’m going to focus on my living room as an example, but first of all, let’s consider the issue of windows a little more generally. Here are some important points to keep in mind…

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There's No Place Like Home: Our Home Story Part 2

There's No Place Like Home: Our Home Story Part 2

In my last post, I shared the story of how when my husband and I began our married life in 2016, we were renting our current home from my parents, who had purchased it as an investment property. We were incredibly grateful for the opportunity to live in really nice home, which normally we could have barely been able to afford (my parents were generously renting it to us at a discount). Nevertheless, it definitely was not our “dream home.” As we worked hard to increase our income, we started dreaming more about the kind of house we might actually buy one day. I figured that buying and selling a house is expensive (not to mention moving costs!), so at the time, I assumed our first home would be our forever home…

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There's No Place Like Home: Our Home Story Part 1

There's No Place Like Home: Our Home Story Part 1

This week is the one year anniversary of buying our home (although it’s actually been just over three years since I moved in), so I thought this would be an appropriate time to share our home story as well as some of the things that I learned through the home-buying process. When my husband and I first got engaged just over three years ago, I was living in a small apartment, he was still sleeping on a friend’s couch, and we were trying to figure out where the heck we could afford to live once we got married, considering our very modest income. Simultaneously, my parents had been toying with the idea of buying an investment property for years, and they decided that now was the perfect time to buy a place, which they could then rent out to us after we got married.

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Living Room Series: Artificial Lighting

Living Room Series: Artificial Lighting

I’ve been making lots of progress on the living room, and I’m getting close to calling the space done (at least, for now—is a room ever really finished??). I can’t wait to share it with you! However, today I’d like to take a quick detour from showing the progress on the living room to discuss a very important topic, which I think often gets short shrift, and that is: lighting—both artificial and natural. In this post, I’ll cover artificial lighting—i.e. ceiling or task lighting—and in the next post, I’ll discuss the importance of maximizing a room’s natural light source (focusing on our window renovation project). Since I’ve been primarily discussing the living room so far, I’ll use it as my example in both cases.

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My Parents' Summer Home: The Dining Room

My Parents' Summer Home: The Dining Room

I’m really excited to share the progress I’ve been making on our home, however first, I wanted to give a little sneak peak of another project that I’m currently working on: helping my parents decorate their summer home in Maine! My parents have enjoyed vacationing in Maine for the past 10 years or so, and a little over a year ago, they decided to take the plunge and buy a property there, close by the coast. It’s a beautiful, large Victorian home, built in 1889 with a ton of charm and character. However, it also needed a fair amount of restoration, and so my parents have spent quite a bit of time fixing it up—adding/renovating bathrooms, putting on a new roof, re-finishing the floors, and having the whole interior re-painted. They made a ton of progress last year, and it’s finally at the point where they can really begin decorating it. It’s a huge house however, and they were feeling a bit overwhelmed, so they decided to “hire” me to help them with the process! I am incredibly excited for the chance to work on another house besides my own—particularly a space which has so much history and character already.

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Living Room Series: Coffee Table and Side Tables

Living Room Series: Coffee Table and Side Tables

In the last few weeks, I have finally made some major progress on finishing my living room, and I’m hoping to share the final reveal very soon! In my previous post in this series, I discussed my living room seating, so today I am focusing on the accent pieces—the coffee table and some side tables. In selecting these pieces for the room, I felt that it was important to keep the wood tones more or less the same, and since I wanted to create a rich, warm atmosphere, I decided to focus on wood furniture with a dark espresso finish. 

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Faux Floral Arrangement

Faux Floral Arrangement

Sorry for the brief hiatus—I came down with the flu two weeks ago and am only just starting to feel back to normal again. I have made some progress on the home, however, and I will have lots of exciting things to share soon! For today, I just wanted to share this faux floral arrangement that I made to try and brighten the house up a bit, since February is such a dull month.

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