{Me Time} House Beautiful ~ A Favorite For Sure!

I love House Beautiful. (and I love that you can also look at it online)

I do a little happy jig when I see it in my mailbox.

Being that I don’t really have tons of time for magazines these days (months? years?) I really only get a couple, and I LOVE the mini vaca when I read them over a cup of coffee (while also checking emails, locked in my bathroom ~ the only free 5 minutes in a day…) Ok, maybe not exactly like that, but you get my drift.

So when the June House Beautiful issue arrived last week, it made my day. I thought I would share a few favorite finds I saw….

Great find at West Elm.  It’s tough to find cute drink containers. We have a stainless steel one I found at Costco years ago that doesn’t “sweat”, which is the only thing I wish the West Elm option had. But as far as looks, I’m sold!

{And unfortunately, it looks sold out…oh well, it sure is cute though!}

And of course you know I have a not so secret love affair with Juliska.  Have you seen their new flatware??  So fun!

This looked interesting. iPhone Apps that let you control things in your home…such as A/C, and alarm systems…I have friends that control their TVs and stereos too.  We have not tried any yet. But when I showed to Hubs he said he was already checking into it. Guess we need to stay tuned…

Do you use any home Apps? Would love to know what works and doesn’t for you!

Great little spot in the House Beautiful reader photos.

The reader “took a set of sepai Grand Tour postcards from 1896, framed them in a modern way with wide white mats and skinny white frames…” This is TOTALLY doable!  Pottery Barn sells great modern wood gallery frames that you can often catch on sale.

And how easy is using a postcard set??!? (Or you could use your kids artwork cut to a postcard size…ORRR what about all of your children’s hand prints, one in each frame??  I might need to work on that little project!)

Fabulous idea that gives the kitchen nook SO MUCH character and really defines that space! A great weekend project.

Fun party idea. I love the use of paper lanterns since they add such an easy punch of color to a party…how fun to see them on the end of bamboo stick!

And what about Tyler Florence’s salad below??  It looks so interesting.  I’m not sure how my kids would do with the calamari, but they might just think it was a mini onion ring and go for it!  It’s worth a shot I think…and if not, well then I think onion rings would work perfectly.

Not gonna lie ~ I’m kinda in love with his kitchen too

The article on decorating with color just sucked me in, thank goodness it’s online too. I’m a very visual person and am drawn mostly to using “lights and darks”. Our house is basically all white with dark ebony hardwood flooring. So pops of color really take center stage and define a room. I loved this  home!

Wonderful mix of colors.

Each room really stood out with it’s own personality. Very warm, friendly and inviting.

You can easily see a family living here.

So inspired by the blue painted ceiling! Though I think painted ceilings look best when there is a texture of some form, like the tongue & groove wood pattern (or wainscoting) in the photo. But that’s just personal preference.

And this reading nook is awesome!  It doubles as a sleeping space for guests, but can’t you just imagine curling up in their with your kids??  I would be just as happy to take my mini-vaca here too!  The article says it’s a space in a hallway that they carved out to be a special reading spot. Love it!

I also really like when people use their everyday life in unique ways to decorate their homes. In this case, the books on the wall. No need for a major bookshelf, a ledge will do just fine for displaying (and storing) favorite books. Ikea often has simple book ledges.

(Image: Source)

I forgot to add this when I was reading the article, but I REALLY loved the wallpaper in the office shelves. GREAT way to add more personality to your office space!  And not that tough to change out. You could do these as cork board to.  Definitely read the article and look through the rest of the house images. I’d move in tomorrow (or today if they would take me ~ and my small circus!)

Then this little idea about chicken wire in the cabinets looks cool too.

Love open cabinets since they really seem to “open up” a kitchen visually. I know that all sounded redundant, but you know what I mean, right? It makes the space FEEL bigger.

I’m really into character in spaces, so I think the chicken wire is a fun idea. It wont help with keeping the dust build up inside the cabinets to a minimum, but your cabinets will look cute and your kitchen will look bigger! Sacrifices in the name of design, right!?

OK, so this next space is where my heart has been leading me lately.  We have an all white kitchen, somewhat similar to the photo above, but for some reason I’m leaning towards gray these days.

This is the second kitchen I’ve seen recently with a lighter wood floor and wonderful gray cabinets. It may be our next kitchen.  Now I just need another house to put it in….

What do you think of color in the kitchen?  I’m of the opinion that if it looks classic and is well done in neutral colors, that almost anything works.

Doesn’t it look inviting??  It just makes me want to cook in it all day.

The hallway below?? I always love this look!  It is similar to what our hallway looks like ~ sans light wood floor, sans light fixtures, sans one side of the hall.

OK, so this is SORTA what my hallway looks like. We have wainscoting on the bottom half, but the top half is filled with frames in the same kind of random pattern. I love it, I love how it makes the hall feel, and I love that our kids constantly name the people in the photos. Catch the Arron Brothers 1 cent sale and you’re in business.

The last photo looked so fun to me.  While a green bathroom would not be my first pick, I love the pattern they created from the tiles.  Really, basic & simple tiles are just a giant puzzle. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and create something fun from them!

If you’ve never checked out House Beautiful online, you definitely should. I love “walking” through their site and getting inspired to try new things!

What are your favorite design inspiring magazines??

{Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. HB doesn’t know me, I just love their magazine}

Want to know about that hole in the wall?

So I kinda hinted to that hole in my wall a few posts ago.  It’s been fun.

Yep, fun.

Poor hubs, he really has tried to get this project completed and tied up in a neat little bow, but there’s this thing called life, and well, he has just not been able to give it all the time he had hoped he could. Bizarre to think this all started last Fall.

But now.

Now there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Could we really be within weeks of completion???

Because we are nearing the end, I thought I would give you a little teaser and show you a few favorite things we like to do.

This by the way has NOT been one of my favorite things. The floor is my worst enemy

But this is.

I like to put loads of electrical anywhere I think I may need it. In this case I DESPISE cords.  DESPISE is a kind word for what I actually feel.  LOATHE may be closer to the truth.  In our family room you only see a TV.  Hubs has all the equipment hidden in a hall closet and we connect to it with an RF remote control (Radio Frequency).  It’s a GREAT remote (it’s in the fave gallery), hubs installed it himself.  If you or your other half, brother, 10 year old child, or dad have any gadget love, you will be able to get this installed.  All this to mean no wires or cable for me.  In the new room, we are planning on hiding everything on the top shelf of the closet. So those 2 black holes? They are for 2 quad outlets for the equipment.

That black hole on the bottom right?  That’s a duplex outlet.  That is because hubs let Addie sing on a Karaoke machine at Costco, that she fell IN LOVE with.  So we thought it might make a fun Christmas present for the girls and a good addition to the room.  But the room is not large and the machine, well it’s not my favorite looking “toy”.  After we saw it, I immediately made a request to add an outlet in the closet thinking it was a PERFECT place to hide it, even in use. (Besides, the bathroom door will also have a mirror facing into the room, so what better place to perform???)

There are 2 more black holes on the left hand side of the closet. Thought behind this is games and batteries will most likely sit on a shelf in the closet to be charged, and/or a dust buster might be a helpful friend to have close by…you will NEVER regret having a plug nearby.  You will only regret not adding enough.

This was a LOW budget project.  Trust me, no major cash flow going on here. Thank the world for a handy hubs!  But even on a tight budget simple things can make a huge difference. We used Home Depot/DalTile ordinary white subway tile (About $2/sq ft).  But I chose to have it installed vertically.  The floor is from Home Depot/DalTile as well (About $3/sq ft) black and white (my whole life is black and white, which I supposed means I’m an easy book to read, but it also means my home has a neutral background that I can put ANYTHING with – any color, any pattern, I can change my mind at a moments notice.  And I do.)

Addie has been our little helper with this project.  I think she can name ever tool in the tool box….

With this room came a much need hallway addition that actually connects our house to the garage.  For the first time in my life, I have a sorta mudroom!!  WhooHoo!!  We added cubbies here for each person along with a couple drawers for Mom & Dad.

But my favorite part about this??

The shoe drawers!

I asked for something at the bottem of the cubbies because I didn’t want everyone tripping all over shoes all of the time.  By using “tray like drawers” we are able to see all the shoes (nothing lost in back) and it’s open and ventilated.  Who wants to get hit with stinky shoe smell??? I love these drawers!

My other most favorite part of the cubbies is having an electrical outlet in each one.  Told ya I love adding electricty! We considered doing a charging station within the cubbies, but in the end, we liked the simplicity of giving each person their own outlet to charge what each person needs – for me camera battery, phone.  For the kids, their games, etc.

Down the same hall/mudroom area is where the washer and dryer are moving.  (So sad about this, I’ve really enjoyed sharing the office/current laundry room with them – note sarcasm…). BUT I will give my mom and mother-in-law credit, as they were right.

When we first moved in and decided to make the then current laundry room into a home office, we had planned on moving the washer and dryer to the garage.  I think both women nearly “chained themselves to the tree”.  With an “absolutely NOT!”  As both very wise women said, “You’ve got young kids and lots of laundry.  You do not want to be trekking out to the garage all day long.  Keep the washer and dryer close by.”

I have to agree, it has been nice not having my shirts mixed up with hubs tool room!!  And it’s much easier to get it all done having it near by.  Thanks ladies!!

But now it’s time for them to have their own space.  This is also the entry from the garage, and even though the hallway is very wide.  I wanted to have the laundry baskets up and out of the way.  Luckily, once we measured for the machines themselves, and then measured our leftover space, there was just enough for shelving to accomodate a 19″ square laundry basket.  Therefore each shelf holds a laundry basket (3 total), with one pull out drawer for detergent and laundry supplies.  Addie has LOVED playing hide and seek in here…..she is on a constant search for monsters in the cabinets!

The laundry area is just inside from the garage.  Hubs has a utility sink (that is OBVIOUSLY getting LOTS of use at the moment). Thought behind this is it gives us a sink close by for the laundry /mudroom, as well as for kids projects, washing paint brushes, etc.

Do you have any favorite tips or things you wish you had done during a remodel or new build project??  I learn something on every job. I never stop learning.  Even on this one.  I should write a post about all the things I WISH I had done when we built our house…hmmmm.

Stay tuned, I can see the light!!!

incorporating good design into family living

Let’s go with a little design today.  I meant to share this article AGES ago.  The back log of posts I need to write is overwhelming to say the least, but I’m trucking through one day at a time.  Today I thought I would share a space I saw in House Beautiful in their August issue I believe (And BTW, I love when the article is also online!  So easy to refer back to).  While the home isn’t my exact style, it is still impressively decorated.

I really love 2 things about it…

  1. They have made a small space EXTREMELY FUNCTIONAL for a family of 3.
  2. They have kept their style while incorporating a place for their child to feel at home too.

I’ve said it before, and I will stand by this until the day I roll over and stop breathing, it IS possible to have a comfortable home, that is family friendly, without losing your sense style and design.  I’m not saying it’s easy to do, just that with a little thought, it is more than possible.

The use of the Stokke Tripp Trapp® Highchair in their dining area is brilliant.  While not an inexpensive chair, it’s many lives make the investment worth it.  It can go from high chair, to child’s chair / booster chair, even an adult chair.  I personally LOVE the red color.  And though I love our Phil and Ted’s MeToo Chair to keep a modern look around the table, had I seen the Stokke Chair when my 2 yo was a babe, I would have purchased for sure.  The chair can work in a traditional or modern home.  Great design, great function.  Perfect choice for this home!

Coat racks are always helpful and great use of space.  Love the little coat hanging there as well as the little chair.  My daughters LOVE to hang their coats up.  I think it gives them a feeling of belonging to this house too.  The yellow chair is darling, and again my 2 yo and 1 yo LOVE having their own little chairs.  Ikea has a lot of great options for kids chairs, here (could be painted too), and here (could add small throw pillow).  Also, the critter chair very similar to the chair in this home (we have them in black in ours).  Can’t beat $12.99

But this.

This is just awesome!

I’ve lived in some small spaces.  I’ve prided myself on the ability of being able to make almost anything fit and still remain functional.

But this tops anything I’ve ever tried to do.  For the record this bedroom is 8′ x 8′

Where oh where do you think their daughter sleeps???

But in a darling little trundle bed of course! Awesome!

Be sure to check out the article online for more fabulous photos from this fantastic LITTLE home!

(Disclosure: House Beautiful doesn’t know me, nor does this designer, nor does Stokke.  Just a cool Favorite space that I wanted to share.)

picture hall of fame

I was asked about good tips for hanging pictures.

I wish I was the perfect one to ask.

This is one of those times that I knew would happen when you would see that I’m not really perfect and that I truly just wing it in a lucky way 90% of the time!

Here goes anyway.

I love photos.

Always have, always will.

If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know I’m addicted to photos that Sandy Heit has taken of our Littles, and also that I’m in love with the camera Sandy recommended for our family.  But pre knowing Sandy and pre having this fancier-than-me-camera, I was a point and shoot-a-holic.

About 8 years ago (Side note – I just did the math with my husband on that and CAN’T BELIEVE I’ve had these frames that long!!!!)


8 years ago I think I was looking at a design magazine and saw a photo wall that totally inspired me.  It happened to also be Arron Brothers 1 cent sale (where you buy a frame and get another of equal or lesser value for 1 cent) – WHOOHOO, just checked the site and the sale is going on right now! Great time to be writing this post!

After purchasing the frames, I went home to be VERY SCIENTIFIC.  HAAAAA – sorry to disappoint, but my entire life is visual, math is not my strong suit (See, I can admit it Honey!).  Instead I spread all of the frames on the floor in front of the wall I wanted to hang them, until I had a pattern I liked.  I drew it on a piece of paper to remember it all, and then I did what any smart 28 year old girl not dating someone would do….called Dad.  I handed him the paper,  showed him the layout on the floor, and he got busy with a stud finder, tape measure, hooks and level.  (Pretty smart of me, huh?!?!)

That was the first picture wall.  I wish I had a photo to show you.  It spanned the length of my sofa and had 2 sconces mounted within it.  It covered the entire wall.  One very large rectangle of photos.  It was like a giant bulletin board!  People would come over and check out the wall to see if they had “made it”! When I met my future mother-in-law, she was SURE that I changed the photos with each guest that was coming over…..truly I’m not that good!  Though the possibilities are endless…

You could hang a series of frames for a childrens art wall.

Hang photos of relatives that live further away for kids to learn their names.

I’ve even been known to take Christmas card photos of friends,
scan and enlarge so I can add to frames…

From there it moved to my husband’s and my second house, down the hall to the guest/Addie’s room.  This time I was on my own.  I hung the frames in 2 rows.  Keeping the tops of each row perfectly even, and the bottoms of each row was staggered. (Truly if you start with the right group of frames, there are endless ways to hang them…)

This is where I should give the tip on the best way to hang everything…

IF. And that is a big “IF” you live in a house with perfectly plum walls you can use these tricks with ease. I have lived in small beach homes that are a little “off”, and now in a home built in the 50s, so I can’t rely on those ceilings and walls 100% of the time!  So these are tricks that can help you, but they don’t always work in every situation.  You may have to use them with a little street smarts.  I rely heavily on my brilliant mom’s interior design trick – eye ball it and trust yourself.

1. Choose similar frames. I think I was in Arron Brothers for 3 hours the first time…took awhile to match everything up.  I chose about 3 styles of black frames, all a little different in size, and then chose 2 styles of white mats in 2 sizes (4×6 and 5×7), nothing custom, everything was a do-it-yourself.  The beauty of the frames is that they have unique characteristics, but they were also all black, clean lined frames with wide white mats so it kept it all consistent. And I can easily change out the photos.

2.  The one thing I always do is layout the frames on the floor, next to where I plan to hang everything, just helps to understand the space you are working with.

3.  If you are trying to hang frames at the same height around a room, the easiest tool you can use is the Strait-Line Interior Line Laser. It mounts with 3M adhesive strips so no damage to your walls and it “draws” a line around the room, down the hall, etc. so you can’t mess up hanging everything on the same “plane”.

4.  Another way to try and get things even is to measure the distance from your floor to the spot you want to hang, or measure from the ceiling to where you want to hang.  Best to start by measuring the overall height of the wall to see if it is the same in each of the location, then when you get a measurement of 80″ off the floor to hang something, you’ll know you’re talking about the same 80″ around the room.

5.   The best hooks to use look like this….

I think there are a few different brands, but I know you can get them at almost any hardware store. I use them to hang all of our frames, very easy, very secure, not too much damage to your walls.

6.   Another tip my mom, the brilliant Interior Designer, likes to use is putting small pieces of Velcro on one back corner of each frame and then on the wall.  This way you can Velcro your frames to the wall and be sure they are always level, but they are still easy to remove and change out the pictures.  Only downfall she has found to this is that the Velcro adhesive sometimes discolors the paint in that spot. I’ve tried a similar tactic using the 3M adhesive strips.  I really like this option as it does not damage the walls at all, however not as easy to switch out pictures, and you need to keep a stash of 3M adhesive in the house.

7. OHHHH one more thing, one little tip that you may have noticed in the current hall photo wall pictures above.  When I’m deciding on what photos to put where, I often tape the photo to the outside glass on the frame and then change out the frames once I decide what I want to switch out where…it’s the designer in me making sure the images are balanced before I go to the effort of changing out the pictures….

But back to my original statement at the start of this post.  I wing it. I’m not scientific, I trust my eye.  If anyone has any fabulous tips to share, PLEASE comment below as I know it’s not always easy to wing it when hanging pictures!  But I do HIGHLY recommend investing in a group of professional looking frames.  Like I said earlier, I’ve had mine for 8 or so years and have used in MANY locations.  I always feel good when I see them.

How could I not??  They hold me dear friends and family!!!

Happy Thursday everyone!