News from The Park House

solemnly_dark circle

I’ve spent a lot of time lately working through what I want this blog to be and, as a component of my larger plan, I am going to start offering a small collection of prints designed right here at the park house. I am so excited about this as a way to share something I love! One of the things I am particularly excited about sharing how I merge my geeky interests with beautiful designs. A more complete collection will be available in the coming weeks, but today I am releasing two versions of a print that just demanded to be shared in time for Halloween. Plus, it is priced at a great discounted rate through the weekend. Enjoy!

the park house on etsy



my list: 26 before 26

It’s been almost 2 months since the “deadline” for my 26 before 26 list. The one thing I can definitely say is that a lot has changed since I wrote this list eleven months ago. It all kind of started with this video.  (I know its kind of long but I would recommend watching it, because, well, it sort of changed my life.) That video inspired me to start thinking about how I want to FEEL in life. It also inspired me to buy The Desire Map book, which is fucking brilliant and you should get it now. And as I dived into The Desire Map, as I clarified the way I want to feel in this world, my perspective on this list changed. There are things on here that don’t feel important anymore, things that sounded like something I should do, something someone I perceived to be cooler than me might do.

But you know what? Screw that. The single biggest thing I have learned this year, bigger than anything on this list, is that doing what makes you feel good is the best damn thing you can do.


1 | edit my closet to only items i love – I am incredibly inspired by this perfect wardrobe series. It has allowed me to really begin to claim my personal sense of fashion.

2 | give handmade gifts for this year – I love giving handmade gifts, but sometimes a handmade gift isn’t the right gift. And sometimes that just isn’t how I want to allocate my time.

3 | start an eclectic etsy shop – This is a big one in the area of “things I thought I should do”, but at this point in my life, I think it would cause me more stress than happiness. Off this list.

4 | learn how to use our dslr camera properly – I’m learning as I go, but also trying to shake off the pressure of feeling like I need to be able to take professional grade pictures for my blog.

5 | learn some new, amazing recipes

6 | create a budget and stick to it – This one is in process, I want to feel abundance in my life, and really knowing my finances is part of that journey.

7 | redesign the park house. blog – Maybe someday! Who knows?

8 | take a blogging class from a beautiful mess

9 | develop a cleaning routine that works – This is something we continue to explore. I love our home, and I love it extra when its clean.

10| try rock climbing at least once

11 | get a tattoo

12 | go for a ten mile bike ride

13 | plan and book a trip to new york city – Someday, but not this one. When the time is right.

14 | paint our kitchen cabinets – Done and done! Its actually been done for a looong time and I am so excited to share it!

15 | spend three weekends unplugged with g – Also done. Love that man.

16 | create a “giving tree” via today’s letters – Hasn’t happened, but I am still on the lookout for a vintage wooden camera tripod. The perfect vintage piece cannot be rused.

17 | celebrate our first wedding anniversary! – A wonderful weekend at the B&B where we were married? Check.

18 | paint the living room – Parchment White. My favorite.

19 | make a great natural household cleaner – Check.

20 | perfect our “shabbat” inspired tradition – I like eating in front of the TV. So there.

21 | send out christmas cards on time

22 | actually send out birthday cards

23 | learn to make legit, amazing paella – Other people already know how!

24 | save enough to do danielle laporte’s desire map – Its a BOOK NOW! And have I mentioned its amazing?

25 | use homemade compost on my garden – That stuff takes time!

26 | go camping with g for the first time – Done. We camped in our Outback at a music festival! So much fun.

A Hint of Spring


I’m guessing at this point that everyone in the country has heard (or experienced) that this has been an exceptionally brutal winter. So far, the only silver lining I have found in the this way-too-far-below-zero-snow-dumping-black-hole-of-nonsense is that every hint of spring is extra sweet this year.


Recently we decided to check out the new Ten Thousand Villages store in south Minneapolis (I adore the St Paul location, and am so excited to have one closer to home!). I couldn’t pass up these lovely handmade flowers. They are so wonderfully spring-y, and I love that everything Ten Thousand Villages sells in handmade and fair trade. Every piece feels special.


C3PO approves. (This is what happens when you marry a geek.)

Corner Shelves + Vintage Pieces


I am so excited to share this project!

I recently came across this post about corner shelves on A Beautiful Mess and was immediately inspired.

I have always adored our main living space. It was one of the first spaces that we really made our own in the park house. Plus, it has lots of great details. However, along one wall we had these two IKEA bookcases.


They had been perfect in the dining room of our townhouse, and they were fine in our living room. They were fine. But “fine” is not how I want to describe the space I live in. Our homes should be inspiring, calming, and make us feel good. (I was so uninspired by these I don’t even have a picture of the other one. #badblogger)

So, I started dreaming of corner shelves. I imagined how we could redesign this space sans IKEA products (sorry, IKEA. I swear, I really do like you). My original plan was corner shelves on one side of the pocket door, with a console table and a couple ottomans on the other side.  I didn’t plan on doing anything for quite some time, I was just dreaming.

A few weeks later, we were wandering through a little antique shop in Wisconsin, and came across this beautiful wooden trunk with ivory inlay. For an insanely good price. We didn’t know where we would put it, but we knew it belonged in our home. So we started rethinking the console table idea… and much like the time we found our office chairs at World Market, everything snowballed from there.  Six days later, we had corner shelves and a home for that inlay trunk!



I just adore this change.



We picked up the vintage school chair at FindFurnish (which I’m going to go ahead and say is the best spot for vintage furniture in Minneapolis) and my grandpa made the candlesticks.



These great anchor bookends are from Fried Bologna, a fabulous vendor that sells at FindFurnish.

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All of the building supplies for this project are from Home Depot. It only took a few hours to build the bookshelves! Check out the original tutorial for more building specs. The only thing we did differently was using a bracket to attach the shelves in the corner instead of using pegs. Enjoy!

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Amazing Throws. Amazing Price.

I am a big fan of just about everything West Elm does. They make good quality products with impeccable design. But lets get real, as much as I love to invest in good quality pieces, that is not always in the budget.

So what I really love is  a good West Elm sale! And oh boy is one happening. Right now you can pick up West Elm’s wonderful throws at a wonderful price: favorite throws (regularly $30) for $10 and softest throws (regularly $50) for as low as $15. Obviously, we got one of each!



Run to West Elm now! You want these babies in your life.

(Also, this is a little preview of some big changes we made in our main living space. Can’t wait to share more!)

Aaaaand We Are Back…

Oh man friends, it has been a long time. I have missed this, and because I truly have missed this, I think it’s time for some honesty.

I have spent the last year seriously entangled in an internal debate. Almost exactly a year ago, I was sitting on a beach with the man I had been married to for, at that point, about four days, when I suddenly announced, “I think I want to quit my job and go to school for interior design!”

Now it may be good information for you that my husband is very rational, while I am very impulsive. He’s so left brained, I’m so right brained. (Although to be fair, he would read this and say that there is no scientific proof of the whole right brain/left brain thing. See? So left brained.)

I’m sure in his head he was thinking “what the hell did I get myself in to!?”, but he just looked at me and said “I think that’s brilliant.” I love him an extra lot because of that moment.

So I looked at interior design programs. I searched for jobs could get me in the field. But nothing ever felt quite right. And so began this year long internal debate: do I stay in education or move into the world of design?

Enter Marie Forleo.

Well, her YouTube channel. I’m not that cool.

Marie promotes a multipassionate approach to life. It’s how she approaches her own (wildly successful) business, and it’s the concept that ended my year long internal debate.

I don’t have to choose. And that, my friends, is freaking awesome.

The world of education does not allow me to fulfill my desire to create. I tried to convince myself it could, but for me that’s just not the case. But it does give me something. I don’t quite know how to put it into words, but I love that world. And Marie’s wisdom gave me the courage to allow myself to pursue both of my loves.

So here’s the plan: I’m starting my masters degree at the University of Minnesota in Learning Technologies, while simultaneously building my portfolio for Park House Design.

And I’m back to the blog. Because this is where I need to be.

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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