Refresh Your Bedroom

Screenshot-2017-12-2 How to Refresh Your Bedroom on Any Budget

As the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting cooler, a cozy bedroom is something many of us can really appreciate. If you have extra money to put towards updating a bedroom in your home, you may wonder where to start. I really enjoyed this article from Houzz: “How to refresh your bedroom on any budget.” From a budget of $100 to $10,000, there are great tips on where to prioritize spending your money. I love the focus on a new set of bedding in the article – I cannot agree more because if anything, it’ll help you sleep better. My go-to for bedding is The Company Store – I have never been disappointed in one of their products. Check out their Cloud Blanket & Throw – that was our most recent purchase and I cannot begin to tell you how soft it is.

If you make any of these updates, please leave a comment and let me know how it went!


What Guests Really Notice in Your Home

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While reading up about home decor & inspiration, I stumbled upon an interesting article from Popsugar: “What Guests Really Notice in Your Home.”  This is a timely article given many of us are expecting guests this coming holiday season.  The list isn’t overwhelmingly long – just 6 key things to think about:

  • Scent of the Home
  • Well-stocked bar
  • Fresh Flowers
  • Lack of Clutter
  • A tidy bathroom
  • An organized entry way

The only addition I would add is …”A tidy and clean bathroom!”  You can’t fool your guests into a fresh, organized, home if your bathrooms are way overdue for a cleaning.

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Real Estate Tip: Potential buyers will notice these things too when looking at your home for sale… except for the well-stocked bar, unless it comes with the house 😉

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4586 Zenobia St., Denver

4586 Listing announcement
You will fall in love with this adorable bungalow in the hot Berkeley neighborhood!  Walking distance to the Tennyson Strip and steps away from Berkeley Park which features a dog park, playground, library, walking & biking path around the lake, recreation center, and more.  This fully remodeled home has a gorgeous kitchen with granite countertops, gas range, eye-catching lighting, and stainless steel appliances.  Lots of light throughout the house coupled with a sense of privacy with a new wood fence around the entire property. You’ll see charming elements inside and out, including a built in dresser in one of the bedrooms and a cozy front porch.  Detached 2 car garage offers the parking spaces you need and/or extra storage. Architectural drawings available for ideas on possible future expansion.  Beautiful house in a desirable area – make this your home before its gone!
$422,500 
See full listing details and pictures here

11 Steps to an Organized Kitchen

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I don’t know about you, but I have a tough time enjoying our kitchen when its messy and cluttered.  However, staying on top of the mess is time-consuming and sometimes feels overwhelming.  The kitchen is often the catch-all for lunch boxes, mail, laptop bags, groceries, and of course the never-ending supply of dirty dishes.  This article has some great tips to get your kitchen under control and keep it that way.

What better time to get inspired to organize your kitchen than a weekend?  Happy organizing!


Learning to Love Gardening

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When we bought our home a few years ago, we moved from a condo to a house with gardens completely surrounding the whole house.  Plus, three additional free-standing gardens around the property.  When I lived in the condo, I could barely keep a plant alive for a month, let alone a massive garden framing the whole house. Here I was with zero gardening experience, poor luck keeping plants alive, and a lot of worries with what the future would bring.

I made it my mission to get our gardens into tip-top shape.  The second that things were starting to warm up that first year, I jumped right in and started to attack the overgrowth & get to planting.  I ripped out anything that was ugly, ignoring my mom’s advice of: “Don’t pull out something that you think is a weed too early – it could be a plant!”  And planted some nice herbs, ignoring my neighbors advice of:  “You have to wait until Mother’s Day to plant anything.”  Well, guess what – they were right and I made my first of many mistakes in my attempt to learn to garden.

And you know what, I discovered that mistakes were okay because that was how I was going to learn.  I was going to plant things that didn’t survive and then I will try to figure out what went wrong – maybe it was too much or too little sun, too much clay in the soil, or even being too tempting for the bunnies to eat.   I learned to listen to other’s people’s advice because I didn’t know what I was doing and they probably learned from their own mistakes.  And I learned to not give up and to keep at it.  Gardens aren’t permanent and you can keep playing & modifying as you learn what works, what doesn’t, and what you like.

I’ve now have had my gardens for three summer seasons and if a new homeowner was to ask me my advice for handling a garden you inherit, here would be my top tips:

  • If you can restrain yourself, I’d suggest waiting a full year before ripping things out. You may prematurely pull out a plant that may not look pretty in spring but have a glorious late summer or fall bloom.  Also my mom was right, some things that look like weeds really are just plantings starting to sprout up.  Some general clean-up once things have sprouted is fine, but I’d wait before removing any plants completely.
  • If you do not know the names or caring tips for the plants & flowers in your garden, I’d suggest you go to a nursery and walk around.  Try to find & identify the plants in your garden and then read the care instructions they have inserted in the plant to learn what to expect for that plant & how to care for it.  I went to the Flower Bin earlier this summer and did just that for a few plants I couldn’t figure out.
  • If your budget allows, hire a professional gardener the second summer to help clean-up & care for the garden.  I am suggesting the second summer because by they you have had time to see your garden in full bloom and what the problem areas may be.  Once you have the professional gardener at your house – ask questions!  Find out why a certain plant isn’t looking so good or how to trim back a plant that is past prime with the blooms.  Learning from an expert will help you know what to do moving forward.
  • If you do plant something yourself, first of all, wait until Mother’s Day to plant. Secondly, make sure you buy the right plant for the space.  Does it have enough room to grow to its full size?  Does it have the right amount of light or shade?  If its edible, will it be protected from critters?  Do you want an annual or a perennial? Planting the right plant in the right spot will give you a huge leg up for success.

Lastly – enjoy!  Give your garden some love but don’t beat yourself up over the mistakes. The mistakes will just make you a better gardener in the end.


Old Home Ideas That Deserve a Comeback

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I recently read an article titled: “15 Old House Features We Were Wrong to Abandon.” The point of the article being there are many home features that we were probably right to leave behind (at least as of today), but there are some really cool features that deserve a comeback.  Clicking through the list, I was surprised and excited to see that our home already has four of the fifteen and two more that I have planned to add to our home.   Funny thing is, those four features are some of my favorite features of our house.  They include:

  1. Transom windows.  We have them over interior and exterior facing windows and doors in our house and it makes the house seem so much more open, airy, and bright. Plus, its such an unexpected feature – we get positive comments on them all the time.
  2. Laundry Chute.  I cannot begin to tell you how helpful it is to push a load of dirty laundry down our chute, straight into our laundry room vs. carrying it down the stairs, through the family room, then kitchen, and into the laundry room.  You know you’re guaranteed to lose at least one sock on a trip like that!  It has been such a great element to our home that when my parents were doing a full remodel on their home in CT, I suggested they add in a laundry chute to the plans and they did!
  3. Intercoms.  I’ll be honest, ours is pretty outdated and a bit of an eye-sore in our house (we’ll get to replacing it eventually) but trying to get someone’s attention upstairs or in the garage without yelling does come in handy.
  4. Ceiling Medallions.  We have a ceiling medallion in our kitchen and I thought it was such an interesting feature.  We replaced the original light fixture that was hanging there and kept the medallion.  I never would have thought to add it, but I am happy it’s there and adds a little personality to our kitchen.

And the two I hope to add to our home:

  1. Dutch Doors. It will be so wonderful to be able to open the top door to talk to the delivery man without our huge dog running out to bark at them.
  2. Clawfoot Tub. This is my dream tub for our master bathroom remodel if it fits within the space & budget.  Stay tuned on that one – work to start in Fall 2017.

So, there are six of the fifteen that I clearly agree society was wrong to abandon.  Below is the remainder of the list from the article I read.  I don’t see an immediate need for them at our house, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fit for another family.  Hope this starts to get you thinking during your next home remodel or search.

  1. Sleeping porches
  2. Boot scrapers for your front stoop
  3. Pocket shutters
  4. Phone nook
  5. Dumbwaiter
  6. Mail slot on your front door
  7. Root cellar
  8. Rumford fireplaces
  9. Picture Rail Moulding

 


Decor Decision Making

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This January, I finally pulled the trigger on a purchase that I had been researching for months.  I was scouring my go-to sites daily for affordable decor (Joss & Main, Wayfair, & Zulily) and after weeks of no luck, I expanded my search to my more expensive favorite retailers (Pottery Barn, Serena & Lily, and Crate & Barrel).  I found TONS of options, but I just could not for the life of me make a decision.  Believe it or not, my big decision was 2 decorative pillows for our family room couch. Crazy – I know.  Why are the small purchases sometimes the hardest!?  It took me months to decide on 2 pillows and literally 2 days to decide on a 12′ x 15′ rug for our family room.  Believe me, the rug was a lot more expensive than the 2 pillows 🙂

I think my hang-up was that the colors of our family room are so comfortable to me.  A lot of grays, blue, and white and that is something I have always decorated with.  However, I wanted to take a little chance with the pillows and put a splash of unexpected color in the room.  Our beautiful rug has a touch of mustard yellow, salmon pink, and mint green – all colors I like but wasn’t sure I wanted to highlight.  I finally decided to pull out that salmon pink and purchased 2 really cozy, cotton cable knit sweater pillows in a Paprika color.  I had gone back and forth on whether to purchase a pillow with a design or keep it simple.  In the end, I decided that the rug had such a strong pattern that simple, classic pillows would look best.  The faded “pink” turned out to fit in perfectly and I’m really pleased that the pillows made the room even a touch more comfortable. Yellow lab approved.


2016 Reflection

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I’ve seen so many comments from a variety of sources about how terrible 2016 was and 2017 needs “to get here already.” I agree that we have lost some really talented individuals in 2016 (including my sweet Grandpa, Ed), but for us we were blessed with our son and for that reason alone, 2016 was a remarkable year for us. I will look back at 2016 with a lot of happy memories – it was a year for me where I really focused on myself and my family and tried to get the whole “Mom” thing down. It’s still a work in progress, but our little family is doing great and we will close out the year with a smile.

I also think 2016 was a fun year for us in that it was the year where we really started to tweak our home to be even more in line with our style. We purchased the home in 2015 so our first year was really spent moving in and getting settled in the space: new furniture, some area rugs, and cleaning up the yard. We made the house comfortable in 2015 and started fresh in 2016 with a laundry list of design elements to tackle; high up on the priority list was lighting.

My husband joked mid-year that he didn’t realize he married a “lighting expert.”  I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I did research lights a bit obsessively this year, trying to find the best lights for our home from chandeliers to wall sconces, ceiling mounts to pendant lights, exterior house lights to landscape lights.  We pretty much swapped out every light on the property and we have A LOT of lights.   I did so much research because as it turns out, there are a lot of things to take into consideration with lights.  First off, I wanted to keep in mind the traditional style of the house to make sure the new lights fit perfectly within the home architecture, including ensuring the lights flow smoothly from room to room.  Secondly, I wanted to move away from the shiny gold lights that were in place in the home, but since we weren’t changing the gold hardware on the windows & doors,  I had to find styles that complemented the existing hardware without pinning myself into a box of only shiny gold.  Finally, there are so many interesting lights out there that it took me awhile to commit to the purchases.  My hardest decision was probably the 2 hanging pendant lights over our kitchen island – for some reason, I couldn’t for the life of me make a commitment!

Once the lights were purchased, there were even more decisions to make including the length to hang specific lights, whether to put them on a dimmer or not, and the wattage of the bulb to put in (under the max wattage of course).  It took the full year to do all the lights as I broke the project up into about three different sessions of purchasing, installing, and then reflecting.  I found my lights from a variety of sources, all online: Pottery Barn, Serena & Lily, Ballard Designs, Lamps Plus, Shades of Light, Lumens, & Restoration Hardware.  I purchased a lot of lights in the black family (which complimented the gold hardware) and played around with some wood accents, as well as a handful of lights with some muted, brushed gold which turns out to really warm up a space.   I’m a huge advocate for putting lights on dimmers when you can — turn the lights up bright during the day and down to a soft glow at night.  My three favorite lights all turned out to be the big statement lights: Our Serena & Lily Chandelier for the front entryway, the Ballard Designs Weathered Oak pendant light for the bonus room, and the Pottery Barn Bellora Chandelier for over the kitchen table.  I think these lights really define my decorating style – they are beautiful but casual which helps create a comfortable and inviting space.  Now that the lights are all replaced and 2016 is in the books, I look forward to the exciting projects we will tackle in 2017.

Happy New Year!

 


Rest & Recharge in the Rocky Mountains

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It has been a few weeks since a post, primarily because we headed up to our home away from home for some rest & family time.  We are lucky enough to have a family home in Breckenridge and we love getting out of town whenever we can to head up to the beautiful town high up in the Rocky Mountains.  We spend our days enjoying winter activities ~ skiing, snowshoeing, and throwing snowballs for our dog.  I also enjoy my walks, albeit a little chilly with less oxygen, but lots of gorgeous homes to look at which makes me happy.  Mountain homes have such a unique look with their creative use of wood beams & siding, gorgeous stone walls & fireplaces, large windows, and properties littered with aspen trees & mountain views if you’re lucky.  On my walk today, I couldn’t help but pause for a short break to take in the sweeping views of Breckenridge Ski Resort.  It was high 30s and bright sun and even though the town is bustling with visitors for the holidays, up here east of mountain, I can walk a little slower and enjoy the peace & quiet.