Monday, January 31, 2011

Why It Works: A Blue and White Guest Room

We just got back from a little family vacation and I'm pooped.  So here's a quick one for this Monday.


(via House Beautiful)

  • Color.  Black and white or navy and white never go out of style.  It's clean, simple, and it's easy to put together. 
  • Beds in front of windows CAN work.  Bed placement in a bedroom is key because everything else revolves around the bed.  Every room is different, but don't rule out putting a bed in front of a window.  Try it.  :)
  • Vignettes.  I love how they styled the nightstand and the wall behind it.  Clean and beautiful.  Consider doing the same thing with a round mirror, small lamp and a couple of books and accessories.  A framed photo of your guest is always a nice touch.


  • Color.  Pick 2 colors and go with it!  Pick basics and you can easily pull the look together with pieces from different stores.   A lot of times you can find great single pieces at TJ Maxx or Target.  With basic colors, you can easily mix and match.
  • Duvets/Pillows.  This is usually a great starting point if you're not sure where to start.  There are tons of beautiful stuff out there at all price points.  Start with your bedding and get inspired by the colors and prints.  You can EASILY get paint, rugs and accessories to match.

Friday, January 28, 2011


The HEMNES series is probably my favorite line from IKEA.  This is a gorgeous piece!  It is solid wood and I love the soft gray stain.  Perfection.  This a versatile piece that could work in a living room, family room and dining room.  I think this would be $365 well spent!

Doesn't it have the same great look that the French Casement Hutch and Sideboard from Restoration Hardware has?  This beauty is a splurge at $1795.

(via restorationhardware.com)

Have a great weekend!  See you Monday!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stripes and More Stripes

Well, I loved how the stripes turned out in our back entry so much that I decided to try the same effect in our front entry.  We have a built in bench/window seat right by our entry and this turned out to be the perfect spot to put in stripes.  I didn't have to worry about having to extend the stripes throughout our whole front hall.

The prints are by Rachel Austin.  You can find her on etsy

By now, you've noticed that I LOVE stripes.  They are cheery, classic and graphic.  Here are a couple of other striped objects I've been eyeing.

Striped sheets from West Elm.  I'm partial to the gray.
Flannel ticking stripe sheets from Garnet Hill.  This would be great in the boys' room.

Monday, January 24, 2011

WHY IT WORKS - A PB Inspired Bathroom

Happy Monday!  This is a stunning bathroom.  What I love best about it is the use of real stand alone furniture pieces that really help to warm up the whole space.  Let's face it, we all spend a lot of time in here, it should be just as beautiful as all the other areas of our home.


  • Single wall mounted mirrors.  I really think these mirrors are such a nice upgrade from the one mirror panel found in most homes.  If you're remodeling or building a home, this is a great place to upgrade.  It's high impact.
  • Vanity.  I love that this vanity looks like a real piece of furniture, but it isn't.  It adds character and warmth and the exposed legs really help to lift it up off the ground. 
  • Baskets.  Texture is a key design principle that makes a subtle, but big difference in the feel of a room.  The wire baskets in this room are really beautiful.

  • Decorative containers.  I spend a lot of time trying to find really beautiful ways to store and display everyday objects.  It makes such a big visual impact.  Glass canisters, jars, woven baskets and trays are everywhere and at every price point.  Take the extra effort, you'll really enjoy the difference.
  • Lighting.  A good rule of thumb is to mount vanity lighting on the side of the mirrors rather than on top.  The lighting is just much more flattering.
  • Bath mats and rugs.  Consider using regular rugs instead of bathmats.  I really like the look of this natural woven rug in this room.  You'll want to stay away from wool and stick to natural woven rugs, indoor/outdoor rugs or cotton rugs. 

Friday, January 21, 2011


This week's IKEA FRIDAY picks come from our inspiring craft room photo from Monday.

This room is jam packed with IKEA goodies!  The lower cabinets are the EXPEDIT shelving unit that I've talked about before and here are some of my other favorites.

First meet EFFEKTIV, this office series is incredibly versatile.  I really like the idea of mounting cabinets onto the wall.  It clears up valuable floor and wall space and keeps those office supplies handy, but not something you want visible.  $60 for the doors and $35 for the frame.

Second, more wall storage, meet the ASKER storage system.  This is a great way to get stuff off of your work surfaces.  Works just as well in the office as it does in the kitchen.

The mounting rail is $9.99 and the containers are $5.99 and 6.99

Lastly, meet the LERAN pendant.  What I love most about this piece is the scale.  This pendant will definitely add  interest and texture to any space.  $89.99

This room and these items are certainly going into my inspiration folder for my own craft/work area! 

Have a great weekend!  See you Monday!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Valentine's Day Treats

I know, we're just getting started with January, but hey, February is right around the corner.  Starting early, always makes any holiday more fun!

I'm not one to go all out for Valentine's Day.  I've evolved.  There was a time when if roses were not on the agenda, it made for a bad day.  How silly!  Now, I just feel like it's a fun day to show friends and family a little extra TLC.  Who couldn't use that right?

Here's what I have in mind.  I LOVE this template from Twig and Thistle.  You can download it for FREE!

(images via twigandthistle.com)

I've already purchased bags from their etsy site.  25 for $5.00.  Not bad at all!  :)

So then... what to fill them with?  I LOVE these Almond Chocolate Toffee Crunchies from Savory Sweet Life.  They are fool-proof and work everytime!  They are truly the best mix of salty, sweet, and crunchy. 

(via savorysweetlife.com)


Monday, January 17, 2011

Why It Works - A Craft Room

Happy Monday!  We're in the midst of shuffling some furniture around at our house.  We're going to try to create a home office for my husband and a separate work space for me (we currently share an office).  I'll try to document the process as we go.  I love this photo!  Sooo many good ideas and I'll be featuring several items from this room on IKEA FRIDAY this week. 


(via houseandhome.com)

  • Wallpaper.  I love that a craft room or a work room doesn't have to mean all utilitarian.  It still can have style, polish and personality.  With the furniture and accesories being so simple in this room, the graphic wallpaper really pops.  What a nice touch.
  • Lighting.  Again, working in a space that is both functional and inpsiring is very important.  This overhead pendant is great!  It is both functional and beautiful.  What a bold piece and I love that it also brings in some natural texture.
  • Closed storage.  The boxes and mounted cabinets really help keep this room clean and organized.  I really like how they tried to keep the visual clutter to a minimum.

  • Wall color.  Remember, you'll probably be spending a lot of time in this space and you want it to be inspiring and beautiful.  What colors make you happy?  Have you considered wall decals?  I know wallpaper can be daunting because it's both a time and money commitment, but paint and wall decals are simple, economical and easily changed.   
  • Work space.  When thinking about my own work space, I try to have an open work table or a long desk so that I can spread out.  Try not to clutter every flat surface with storage, accessories or equipment.  I love the open spaces in this photo and how they stored supplies on the wall, rather than on the work surfaces.
  • Wall cabinets.  In trying to create more work space, work vertically and use the walls!  This frees up an incredible amount of space.  You can use cabinets like in this photo or even floating shelves with bins and baskets. 

Friday, January 14, 2011


I found BEKVAM from a post over at ohdeedoh.  At $3.99, this is a great spice rack!

At $3.99, it makes an even more incredible bookshelf!  Check this out! 

I've always been a big fan of forward facing books.  They really help kids choose books because there are less to choose from and they can SEE the covers.  Don't we all like to look at books like this?  I still haven't put in forward facing bookshelves at my house because I couldn't find any at the right price.  I was looking at shelves from Pottery Barn Kids for almost $100.  Thank goodness I held off.  I like these way better!  Because these are solid wood, you can paint them any color to complement your room.

There's a perfect spot in my loft for these.  I might even get 3, one for each child for them to put their own special books.  These have now been added on to my "project list".  :)

See you Monday!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pottery Barn Card Holder

Remember this Christmas card holder?  Did you pick one up?  It's only a seasonal item at Pottery Barn.  But if you still want it, but didn't get around to it... you're in luck!

Over at Copy Cat Chic, someone found a similiar version that's cheaper and looks just as good.  I really do love these.  What a great place to display notes, cards, and photos throughout the year.  Head over to Pier 1 to get one.

$10 from pier one

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why It Works - A Nursery

2 things.  First, I love looking at kids rooms and nurseries for design ideas.  There is so much freedom, imagination and creativity that can go into a child's room that may not work anywhere else in the house.  Second, I love seeing rooms that use the same pieces that I have seen and have taken note of.  It's confirmation that yes, I CAN trust my eye!  Let's take a look at Eloise's Nursery this week. 


(via colleenkemp.blogspot.com)

  • Pattern.  Mixing patterns can and does work!  I wrote about the Zinnia crib bedding from Dwell Studio and I also wrote about the Stockholm Rand rug from IKEA.  Honestly, I would not have thought to put them together.  But it works!
  • Pink doesn't have to mean princess.  Just because the walls are pink, there's plenty of ways to inject personality into the space without going with a traditional princess theme. Nothing wrong with princess, but it's nice to have options.  :)  This room is feminine, but still is bold and has character and tons of charm.
  • High and Low.  This room is a great example of mixing pieces of all price points.  Clearly the bedding was a splurge, but it's a key piece in the room and its balanced out with all sorts of really affordable pieces.

  • Mix patterns.  This can be a great exercise in recycling and repurposing.  Look around your home.  What do you already have that you could mix with something in another room.  Try it!  You never know!
  • Pink.  I've always been hesitant to paint a room pink, but after seeing this room, it gives me hope that pink can have longevity and I can incorporate other styles as my little girl grows up.
  • Invest/Splurge.  Take time to shop and decorate.  Don't rush into things and if you really fall in love with a piece, give yourself plenty of time to sit with it.  In the end, if finances allow, give yourself the freedom to invest in quality pieces that you will bring you joy for a long time. 
Click here for more photos of Eloise's Nursery.  Well done Colleen!

Friday, January 7, 2011


This week's IKEA was inspired by a post from Little Green Notebook.  First of all, I think the BESTA system from IKEA is great!  The possibilites are endless as far as how you can customize the system.  It can go from living room, family room, basement, to office.  We have a BESTA unit in our loft for our tv, toys, and books.

Here's just one unit from the collection.  It's the BESTA bench for $125.

Now here it is all jazzed up!

(images from ikeahackers.net)

Pretty fabulous huh?  So inspiring!
See you Monday!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Family Summits and Goal Setting

With the closing of another year, we realize that life can go so fast that everything just seems like a blur.  Before we know it, we feel like life sweeps us up, and we don't even know where we're going or where we've been.  So it's become more important for me and my husband to set goals, think through our priorities and be intentional with our time.  I thought I'd share this with you, because it's really helped us to feel connected and ready to take on the year with a game plan!

Last week, we took the kids on a quick get away to one of our favorite cities, Vancouver BC.  We had a great time with the kids, went swimming, went to the moutains, etc...   but one of the best things my husband and I got a chance to do was goal setting for 2011.  We like to call it our "state of the union" meetings or "family summits".  It finally dawned on us, we've both done these for work, why not for our family?  :)

So, the first thing we do is a yearly review.  Our major categories are finances, family/kids, and spiritual life.  Next we go through those same categories and create goals for the new year.  We try to keep them realistic and short.  No more than 2 or 3 for each category.  Before we finish, we schedule times through out the year for "check-ins" or "reviews".  We schedule ours once a quarter.  Here are some other important tips:

  • Put it on your calendar!  Plan out the rest of the year.  Give yourselves the freedom to reschedule again if necessary, but get it on your calendars while you're in the moment. Otherwise, it's too easy to overlook.  So even if you can't get through all the goals in one sitting, like us, schedule a time to come back to it.  
  •  Put it in writing!  For me, this has been huge.  It really helps to make sure we're on the same page when I write things down.  How often have arguments about one thing turn into "I said/you said"?  That doesn't get us anywhere!  By writing things down, it's given us both accountability and reminders as to what we discussed and what we've committed to.
  • Put it up!  I like to post our goals on my big bulletin board right in front of my desk so that I can see it all the time!
  • Get away!  If you can, it's best to get away to do this.  Even if it's just a couple hours at Starbucks.  We've found it's way more productive to do this without the distractions of our home.

Hope this helps.  Let me know if you try this.  Here's to elevating each day in 2011!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Why It Works and Happy New Year

HELLO!  Hope you all had a Happy New Year!  We ended the year on a somewhat odd note... My husband and I both caught the stomach flu on New Years Eve so we skipped out on a get together with friends.  Then after dinner, our power went out so we packed up the whole family and spent the night at my in-laws.  Everyone was in bed by 10.  :P  Thank God for family and thankfully we're slowly recovering!

My Why It Works for this week comes from House and Home's 2010 Show Home.  House and Home has become one of my favorite decorating magazines and this home is gorgeous.  Check it out.

  • This one of my favorite rooms of the house.  What caught my eye immediately was the color palette.  I love that fresh chartreuse color and what a great contrast with the light walls and dark floors, and dark couch.
  • Fire place.  What drama!  I really love the idea of extending the stone/tile work around the fireplace all the way up to the ceiling.  It creates drama, a focal point and really sets the scene for a gathering place.
  • Simplicity.  I love how the accesories in the room are kept simple.  The mantel is accesoried simply as is the coffee table.  I know editing is hard, but it makes such a difference.


  • Color.  If you're debating on wall color or flooring.  My go-to is dark floors and light walls.  I just think the contrast is stunning and timeless.
  • Furniture placement.  This room is a great one to use as a model for furniture placement.  If you're can accomodate all this furniture, this is a great arrangement.  If not, a couch facing 2 chairs would also work too.  It really makes for an inviting conversation area, rather than all attention focused on a tv.
  • Pillows.  I love how simple and coordinated the pillows are, they really help to bind all the colors together and finish off the room.  I really like using 2 pillows on each end of a couch and maybe a lumbar in the middle too.  Designers can often get carried away in using too many pillows.

Here's some more photos and click here to see the whole gallery.


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