Patterned Bench DIY Project


Oh blog  friends… I just spent close to an hour learning how to make a banner in Inkscape (open source Illustrator). It was a 10 minute video that I had to keep pausing and backing up because he would refer to things I’d never heard of, not to mention looking up solutions for all the weird problems I kept encountering. What I can tell you is that I know that program much better now, and I am grateful for that. What I can also tell you is that, all said and done, I didn’t care for the banner. Live and learn, right? On to the post!

When we started looking for houses, one of our hopes was to be able to have a living room large enough to have the furniture off the walls. Our sectional couch was exploding out of the living room in our townhouse (literally, part of it was in the guest bedroom), and we wanted to have a living space where we could move freely around our furniture, a space that would feel open and airy. The living room in this house was a huge selling point for us; instead of the living space split between a living room and dining room (very common in 1950’s ramblers), we have a little eat in kitchen and a big living space. Love. it.

After we really started to solidify our furniture in this space, we did notice a bit of a void. The couch has to be far enough away from the wall to accommodate a walkway from the front door, and while we like the open space, it always felt like a bench belonged there.


For months I had a note on my phone with the max height the bench could be; we were vigilant for the right bench. We ended up finding it at HomeGoods (because, lets be honest, pretty much everything is at HomeGoods) for a crazy steal of a deal with an extra 10% off because I whined about mentioned the chipped corner.  While the bench was the perfect size, its just a slightly different blue than the curtains. Not close enough to look like they matched, too close to contrast. Is anything worse than something looking like you tried to match and failed? Gross.

Instead of painting the entire bench, I decided to do a pattern on the top and bring pattern mixing into the living room. After a hunt for super thin painters tape (if you’re in the upper Midwest, Menards is the place to go!), I got to work.


1 inch painters tape for the edges | .23 inch painters tape for the pattern | Tape measure, scissors, and cardboard to make a guide


Check out that corner. Yikes!


I tediously measured out a chevron stencil, although I ended up altering it a little bit once I got the initial chevron lines down.


I like that the extra lines make it a little bit more unique than traditional chevron, which is classic and lovely but oh man is it everywhere right now!

I used a sample can of white paint I had around, and brushed it on. The end result isn’t perfect, and I choose to keep it that way intentionally. I like that it looks loved.







(Handmade) Curtain Tiebacks


I love the details that make a room unique. The way things combine together to make space into your space. For me the curtain tiebacks in our bedroom are one of those things (along with the paint chip art over the bed, the handmade N pillow, and those killer vintage lamps from Grant’s grandma).



I started off with a tutorial, but you really don’t need one (also, I can’t find the link now). The hardware can be found near the keys in any hardware store, and than you just need some rope! The tutorial I initially read used a metal O ring instead of the keychain that comes with the hardware, but I have yet to find a metal O ring (I’ve actually look multiple times for different projects!). We also installed a little white hook on the window frame so keep them in place, although you certainly don’t need to. Our sheer curtains are very feminine, and I love the way they combine with the more masculine components of metal hardware and rope. Balance, baby.



Love | Chartreuse Accents

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Chartreuse is a bold color. A wonderful color, but bold. I’m not sure I would commit to a chartreuse couch for my living room (although it can obviously be fabulous), but I love chartreuse accents around my home. This simple little handmade pillow is my newest and favorite pop of chartreuse in the park house.!



Do you love | chartreuse?

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Office Redesign

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Of all the projects we have done since moving into the park house. just over a year ago, I think I can say this is my favorite one. The story of this office redesign is one of seizing the moment and not letting beautiful chairs opportunities pass you by. We had talked about what we wanted to do with our office space, but decided it was a project that would have to wait until after year end bonus time.

However, because we had those conversations, and had an idea of what we wanted out of the office space, we were able to strike when opportunities presented themselves. Like when we were wandering through World Market and saw two beautiful chairs on sale for around $200 for the pair after a 10% off coupon! I knew I would regret it if I walked away from such beautiful chairs at such a great price. Those chairs set our office redesign in motion. (Soon after we found the desk chair on clearance for $30. Crazy, right!?)

This is what we were working with pre-redesign. We hadn’t done anything more to the office than plopping down our existing office furniture and throwing in a few vintage pieces we collected over the last year.



Our ideas definitely evolved as we found pieces. The original plan involved warmer tones, but after looking at a paint sample against the chairs, they seemed to blend in too much. I’m so happy we went with the grey; our entire main floor in blues, greys and white and I love the way the rooms fit together.


It was important for us to have extra seating in here, we love to hang out together when one of us is working on the computer.

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I love the swanky lines on the vintage bronze desk lamp. I also adore our new iMac! For a great resource on desk styling, check out this post from Kristin Jackson. It came out right as we were finishing up this project, and I felt super cool because the pieces I’d selected for our desk were so in line. (Between you and me, I have a slight designer-blogger-crush on Kristin Jackson. Don’t tell anyone.)


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I really let our geek flag fly while staging this shelf. Can you tell we are Doctor Who fans?


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The globe is vintage from a local store we love (Hunt and Gather), the deer antler came out of the woods on my parent’s farm, and we picked up the painting on our honeymoon in Jamaica!


I really enjoy the sentimentality of this wall. The map is an aerial shot of my parent’s farm from 1950, the pictures are of the places Grant and I have travelled (left to right: Jamaica, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland), and the clock is from Grant’s grandma.

There  you have it, our office redesigned!

Sources: Desk | Desk chair | Mulberry Chair | Printed Chair



|Chalkboard| Chargers

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A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to buy a new set of dishes (thanks to our families and their generosity with our wedding!). Going from a mix of round and square brightly colored dishes to these simple, rectangular white dishes definitely prompted a change in place settings as a whole. Instead of placemats, the fun new shape of our dishes inspired me to make some chargers.

This was another simple and inexpensive project! After taking the measurements for the dishes so the charger would evenly frame our dinner size plates, I went to Home Depot and found the thinnest board that would work within our size requirements for both length and width, and had it cut into 8 equal pieces. Next was some light sanding to smooth out the edges, and wood glue and clamps (As you can sort of tell from that picture, I did this project while sitting in an adirondack chair outside. Plus I had strep throat. Its that easy.) to attach two pieces together. After letting it dry I threw on two coats of chalkboard paint, and voila! Chargers.









I love that they can be personalized for any occasion! I even used one for our wedding reception.


Love | Caribbean Inspired Details

The thing I found most striking when we were in Jamaica (other than the pure bliss of spending a week totally relaxed on the beach my husband), was the perfection of the Caribbean color palette. While blue and cream are pretty common colors to put together, the pop of emerald from the trees is the perfect compliment to the blues and creams.

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I’m loving these rooms with their Caribbean inspired colors.

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|via House of Turquoise|

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|via House of Turquoise|

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|via 6th Street Design School|

Maybe a whole Caribbean inspired room is too much for you, so here are some Caribbean inspired accessories I would love to bring home!

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emerald lamps | striped rug | wall color | garden stool | printed chair | gold turtle shell

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|Twenty six| before 26

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Wandering around blogland a few nights ago I ran across the “30 before 30” project. Love it. However, waiting 4 years to do my own sounded less cool. (I’m terrible at waiting. Last week I bought Mumford & Sons tickets for G’s birthday in August, and managed to wait a full hour before telling him.)

So, I decided to make a 26 before 26 list.

I do recognize is a total digression from home design. I really gave that a lot of thought before deciding to post this. My favorite blogs are ones where I feel like I can relate to the writer personally. Maybe this will facilitate that around here.

Here is my |twenty six| before 26 list. I’m adding a new page at the top to keep track of my progress over the next 10 months!

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Handmade (Paint Chip) Art


Today I want to share a really simple (and very affordable!) diy project I did in our bedroom: the paint chip “art” above the bed! I love that it looks almost pixelated.

The original tutorial I found online was very colorful, which I loved, but was not right for this space. I decided to go with various shades of white, and used Valspar paint chips because of the shape. They were slightly rectangular, but turned out to be perfect squares (or close enough to perfect for me) once you covered up the text on the bottom.


I used a frame we already had in our house (sorry for killing your beers of the world montage, G!), so the total cost of this project was one can of white spray paint for the frame, and some double sided tape!




After painting the frame, I used double sided tape to adhere the paint chips to the back of the old picture. I overlapped them so the text doesn’t show, and then trimmed off the bottom and edge where there was overhang. It took awhile to find the right placement so there weren’t too many like whites grouped together, but even with that the project came together in less than an hour!

An hour of time and $5 in supplies? That is my kind of DIY!





Bathroom Update.2

When we went on our honeymoon in March Grant’s parents stayed at our house, and were nice enough to paint our downstairs bathroom! Like I mentioned when I wrote about our main bathroom update, it was high on our priority list  to get our bathrooms painted with better quality, mildew and mold resistant paint.

The downstairs bathroom is pretty basic and definitely one of our least ‘designed’ spaces. However, some paint  and a little shelving update still made a big difference. (Plus it was really awesome to come home from Jamaica to a newly painted room!)

DSC_1102I made the curtain out of a pillowcase. Lazy lady’s solution, yo! I just sewed a seam through the top to make a pocket for the curtain rod, and clipped open the end of the pocket on the side that wasn’t already open. It took me all of 3 minutes and was one of those projects that seemed way too easy to be true.DSC_1107I picked the color based on the grays in these towels.DSC_1109