End of Bed Solutions

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With the holidays just around the corner, it is the perfect time to make a few tweaks around the house that don't necessarily take up a whole weekend, but make a big impact. The most recent change in our home has been the modification at the end of the guest bed. Years ago, just after college, I stumbled upon the hot pink velvet bench above and couldn't resist buying it. If I remember correctly, the bench cost $25, which should have been a sign to leave it, but I didn't and I have dragged it all over. At first glance the piece doesn't look too bad, but a piece of fur and basket can cover some serious sad spots. Either way, it was time for it to go. I knew I wanted to replace the bench with something new, but I wasn't quite sure what. So I began my hunt! 

 

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Above shows two different options that I considered - one piece with thin black metal legs or two smaller pieces with a touch of wood and brass. As you can see, the one piece was about $180 while the two smaller pieces from Target added up to be about the same at $160 for both pieces (again the price tags are left on for reference). I really liked the single piece, but the legs seemed a bit sad with the thick brass bed legs. There isn't much blackened metal in the room. The full-length mirror is the only piece, which seems to blend into the navy walls and may be painted a new color in the future. So, although I preferred the single piece, the two pieces together also worked nicely and connected all the finishes together.  

As the photos show above, having something at the end of the bed helps ground the bed a bit more, and can be rather useful too, especially in a guest room. Below are a few guidelines of things to think about when you put something at the end of the bed. 

  • Typically there isn't much room in a bedroom except for items you really need, so make the item at the end of the bed useful! In our master, I have a trunk full of shoes while in the guest bedroom, it is a bench for guests to set luggage or personal items on.  
  • Ideally, the piece/pieces should be 2/3 of the overall length of the bed. In other words, find a piece that sits within the bed frame giving it room to breath. 
  • These pieces are usually pretty versatile, so when buying it keep in mind the piece may be used elsewhere one day, possibly at an entrance, along a hallway, another bedroom or even seating at the dining table. 
  • In this particular instance, I didn't want too much pattern/color as the room is a dark navy and there are plaid drapes (not shown), so I wanted something more on the neutral side. If the rest of the room is neutral, this may be a great place to add color/texture. 
  • Adding a blanket or accessory to the piece is another way to add dimension or interest. It also works well for adding more color in the room occasionally. Just remember to keep it simple. 
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At the end of the day, I went with the two stools and returned the one piece bench. I am happy with the results, and excited to say both the guest and master bedroom are almost complete. Overall, my focus this year has mostly been in the bedrooms, so we are one step closer. We need a headboard for the master, possibly a new nightstand in the guest room, and maybe one day a couple of rugs, but nothing that is immediate. Keep in mind, small changes like this don't take much money or time, but can make a big impact. Just remember choose a space your family will get to see and appreciate! Come back next week for our bench round-up! 

Happy Fall! 

-a. 

Seating Vignette

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Designing a space is all about change and transformation, meaning it may never be finished, which is something I both love and hate about design. Unless designing in the commercial world or you have boocoos of money, it is pretty impossible to have everything finished in one fell swoop. However, sometimes the best results happen when you least expect them. It is all about the process, and though I am incredibly impatient sometimes waiting creates the best results! The leather chair above I found at the Burlington Flea this spring, and fell in love with it for our master bedroom. Originally the chair was in velvet, but I had it reupholstered in a dark "worn" leather. In case you missed it, check out the chair transformation here. When I got the finished product at home and in the room, I knew a little side table would complete the vignette. I couldn't find anything right away, so I stole the white and gold one from our back porch for some photos. In the mean time, I have been keeping my eyes open for some options - then of course I found two! I couldn't pass up either, so I bought both and brought them home to share. One is square and shiny, the second round with an antique brass finish. Check them out below, and let me know what you think!?!

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Typically, I would remove the price tag or photoshop the image, but wanted to share a bit of my shopping/selecting process... I am all for buying multiple pieces and trying them out. I am pretty sure retailers have a love/hate relationship with me and my spending habits. Within the commercial world, it is all about measuring and planning the space, however in my own home I do more trial and error, which means a lot of shopping and return trips! 

Typically, I would remove the price tag or photoshop the image, but wanted to share a bit of my shopping/selecting process... I am all for buying multiple pieces and trying them out. I am pretty sure retailers have a love/hate relationship with me and my spending habits. Within the commercial world, it is all about measuring and planning the space, however in my own home I do more trial and error, which means a lot of shopping and return trips! 

Square vs. Round

Square

  • Shiny/metallic finish, almost a high gloss. Great for an outdoor space, but reflects a bit too much when you have brown "shag" carpet that isn't going anywhere.  

  • Fits nicely in the space, but really only has one direction it can go. Diamond shape just doesn't work. 

  • Heavy and solid for sure, and doesn't move without some effort. 

  • Only $40 from Home Goods, stopped by the other day and this piece is now only $25! 

Round

  •  Finish is a bit more antique brass, and not so shiny. Works better with our full-length mirror and drapery hardware. 

  • In this room, there are a lot of sharp angles, so the softness of the round side table doesn't feel so harsh. It is also a better shape for nestling into a space. 

  • Light weight and feels a bit cheap, but once in place you would never know. Not a great piece for outdoors. 

  • A bit pricier than Home Goods, but still a pretty good deal at $70 from Target. You can find it here

As you can see, both worked well in the space, but at the end of the day I preferred the round one. Although a bit pricier than the square one, the round one was still a good deal in comparison and creates more of an impact in the room than anticipated. I can't say the accent table is super useful as I have styled it out, but I can honestly say that I am happy with the overall vignette. It seems to pull together that little corner of the room and of course is the perfect place to pile a few clothes! 

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What do you think? Do you think round was the right decision or would you have gone a bit more reflective and sharp? These little accent tables are such great filler pieces, I highly recommend making the purchase if you find a good deal. I promise they will come in useful whether it is for a plant stand, a few books or simply a useful side table. Do you have a favorite piece?

-Cheers!

a. 

Trinkets & Baubles

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I have collected a few pieces of jewelry over time to say the least, and many of them have stories and memories attached. However, I also seem to go through phases as to which ones I wear on a regular basis, while others collect a bit of dust until I find myself searching through my jewelry again. Recently, I couldn't find much of anything - the top of my dresser had turned into a total wreck. It was time to re-organize and become inspired. 

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This is the mess that I was dealing with. It is a wonder that my necklaces weren't tangled every morning. Before I tackled the mess, I stopped at Home Goods and Target and purchased a few different types of jewelry displays so that I would have a few options to work with in the space. Whatever didn't work, I simply returned later. I purchased multiple necklace/bracelet holders as well as a beautiful mirrored glass box and a few trinket bowls and ring holders I had picked up at flea markets and cute shops. 

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Sometimes the hardest thing to do is start! Here are the steps I took to go from a hot mess of jewelry to an orderly display. 

  1. Take off all your jewelry and lay it all out on a flat clean surface and begin going through it. I created multiple piles based off of - keep or give away and then I broke it down into type - necklaces, bracelets, rings, pins or earrings. 
  2. Layer the jewelry stands/boxes in various places on the dresser before adding jewelry. Start with taller, thinner items in the back and work your way to the front with lower, smaller items. 
  3. Before adding the jewelry in, add other trinkets or other small items. If you have enough room on your dresser a small vase of flowers or a framed photo are always nice. Sadly, that wasn't an option for me.
  4. Be realistic of what is really going to work. I loved the mirrored box, but looked best with a few dramatic bracelets set inside. If I had less jewelry or a larger dresser, I would have made it work! 
  5. Mix and match finishes, textures and scale. The bracelet holder I used had a touch of patterned fabric which adds a bit of warmth to the metallics scattering the dresser top. 
  6. Once the stands are layered, begin adding jewelry! It makes an immediate difference. Of course, there are a few pieces I still have lying across the top of the dresser - those are ones that I am a fan of at the moment and will eventually rotate out. Everything can't be perfect! 

There were a couple items that just didn't fit and those are the necklaces above hanging on hummingbird hooks. These are in the guest room, which I use for additional clothes and accessories on a regular basis, so I thought I might as well hang some of the larger necklaces in there against the dark navy walls. It may seem a bit disjointed, but I think visually it works great and it isn't much of a problem on a day to day basis. I thought this was going to be a bigger job, but honestly, once I got a variety of options for display the whole process didn't take long. It only took a few hours minus all the photos (which I had more of, but can't seem to find). I still would like to repaint the jewelry box, possibly a soft pink or blood orange/red, but may wait until its chilly outside with little to do. Thoughts? All in all, I am one happy camper that can see all my trinkets quickly and easily now! Do you have a mess, or are you super organized with just a few special pieces? 

Cheers! 

-a. 

Cali Vaca - Wine Country

Lombard Street with some beautiful view & flowers! 

Lombard Street with some beautiful view & flowers! 

This year we decided we wanted to explore a city/state that we hadn't really spent in any time in and California seemed to be the perfect fit. We could have a bit of city, country and wilderness! So we decided to fly to San Francisco, rent a car and drive to Sonoma then road trip up the coast for about 6 hours to the Redwood National Park. The whole trip was amazing and completely different from our past vacations, which only meant that we learned a few things along the way especially about Sonoma. 

I won't go into all the details about San Fran because there are hundreds of to to-do lists on the internet including our special guest Local Loves post here, but I will give you a few of my favorites. My two favorite experiences that we truly fell upon were Hayes Valley and Saru Sushi Bar. We were checking out a few different shops and slowly meandered up and down some serious hills and found the cutest neighborhood - Hayes Valley including a completely relaxed beer garden with beer from Germany, large picnic tables and cozy wool blankets for the night chill. While we were there we learned about Saru Sushi Bar in Noe Valley from some locals. We waited two hours for dinner in this tiny restaurant, but it was probably the best meal we had in San Fran and in our top 3 for the whole trip! I highly recommend the Watermelon roll, but honestly you can't go wrong. It was well worth the wait if you like sushi! 

Pangloss Cellars Tasting - absolutely incredible!

Pangloss Cellars Tasting - absolutely incredible!

Pangloss Cellars - A beautiful interior that I couldn't resist which got us in to begin with! 

Pangloss Cellars - A beautiful interior that I couldn't resist which got us in to begin with! 

When we arrived in Sonoma, we hadn't really done much research except to find an Airbnb that was relatively close to the square, other than that our plans were to casually taste wine, lie by the pool and enjoy the sunshine. Our first stop was the Sonoma square were we enjoyed breakfast, shops and eventually wine tastings. There were two places I highly recommend in the square - Pangloss Cellars and The Girl and the Fig. Pangloss is where we discovered what we liked and didn't like. We spent at least two hours there chatting with Logan about what we did and didn't like while he continued to bring glasses of wine for us to try. Not only was it a beautiful space, but we learned an incredible amount. Logan gave us multiple recommendations in the area based off what we liked. The entire experience was one of my favorites of the entire trip - it was just so personal, yet relaxed that both Tyler and I fully enjoyed ourselves. If the day couldn't get any better, we went to The Girl and the Fig for dinner where we sat at the bar and had more personalized service with both food and drink. The whole day was just perfect, and I would do it all over again! Below are a few of my First-Timer Tips and a list of the places we checked out after our Pangloss experience and what we thought! 

First-Timer Tips 

  • If you don't mind sharing, I highly recommend sharing a tasting. Your money will go farther and you will really enjoy each wine instead of trying to drink every sip. 

  • Take locals recommendations. It is how we found all our favorite spots! 

  • Don't be in a rush, although California lifestyle makes that a bit hard to do. 

  • Pack picnics and snacks and bring them along to wineries to enjoy amongst good wine and scenery. Otherwise it adds up quick! 

  • Find the type of wine you like early on and then go from there. Don't spend time in an area if you aren't a fan of the wine. 

  • Go during the week when things are a bit quieter and you can really chat with the locals.

  • Enjoy Sonoma's Farmer's Market on Tuesday night where you can enjoy a local bottle of wine, try out various food vendors and listen to live music while having a picnic.

The oldest of the wineries in the area, Buena Vista Winery, which was recommended to us for its history and architecture. The original buildings were beautiful and we had a picnic here, which I highly recommend packing yourself. We did do a historical tour here, which honestly was a bit strange and I would not recommend it. This may have been our least favorite of all the places we visited, although we did enjoy the wine and the view! 

The oldest of the wineries in the area, Buena Vista Winery, which was recommended to us for its history and architecture. The original buildings were beautiful and we had a picnic here, which I highly recommend packing yourself. We did do a historical tour here, which honestly was a bit strange and I would not recommend it. This may have been our least favorite of all the places we visited, although we did enjoy the wine and the view! 

Gloria Ferrer - A parkling wine tasting which was perfect for a morning tasting with a gorgeous view of the vineyards and mountains beyond. A great place to go for the first time, but not near as personal as some of the other places we stopped at. I think the tour here would be nice, but wasn't really feeling the tour when we were there. 

Gloria Ferrer - A parkling wine tasting which was perfect for a morning tasting with a gorgeous view of the vineyards and mountains beyond. A great place to go for the first time, but not near as personal as some of the other places we stopped at. I think the tour here would be nice, but wasn't really feeling the tour when we were there. 

Meadowcroft may have been one of my favorite places we visited in Sonoma. It wasn't a very large tasting room, but it was nestled amongst Cornerstone, a small marketplace filled with shops, wineries and restaurants. The wine was amazing, we had a tour with the owner of the local vineyards and I couldn't help but love the branding. Not only did we have a memorable, personalized experience, but we really enjoyed all the wine and at the end of the day we were woo'd to join the wine club! I can't wait for our first shipment! If you are in Sonoma, I would put this place on your list especially if you enjoy a good Pinot Noir. 

Iron Horse Winery - the view & a few of the bottles we tried! 

Iron Horse Winery - the view & a few of the bottles we tried! 

Gloria Ferrer view! AMAZING!!! 

Gloria Ferrer view! AMAZING!!! 

One of our last stops before heading north was Iron Horse Winery where we ended on a high note with some amazing sparkling wine, view and company. The vibe was rustic elegance and they pulled it off beautifully. It was a bit off the beaten path and well worth it. We didn't join the club, but we bought our favorite sparkling and enjoyed it over some delicious pizza in the Redwoods after our 10 mile hike - the perfect ending to a vacation if I do say so myself. So if you like sparkling, I highly recommend it! 

Overall, it was one amazing trip and I highly recommend taking some time to explore the west coast. The people, views and experience are some to remember for sure!

Cheers! 

-a. 

ps. We did stop at a few breweries for Tyler's sake and if you are into beer or tired of wine, I highly recommend Russian River Brewery and Laguantias (great tour!). 

Flea Find to Finished Product

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Hello Again, it has been a while, but that doesn't mean we haven't been keeping busy! Last month, Carly and I decided that we would wake up at the crack of dawn to go visit one of our favorite stomping grounds - The Burlington Flea. Neither one of us had been this season and it was time to go check it out. We both went with a relatively small list this time, and tried to control ourselves as much as possible as we were both running out of room for new pieces especially large pieces. However, that didn't stop us from buying some great pieces including this little chair number. It was the perfect piece to be added to the master bedroom. I wasn't really wanting to spend a ton of money on the chair, but I thought it might be a nice addition for when you really need a place to take your shoes off and drop your clothes somewhere after a long day!

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BEFORE 

BEFORE 

This was the chair, and although it was upholstered in a beautiful blue velvet, it wasn't going to work with the emerald green drapes that will be happening eventually, so new upholstery it was! As a side note, the lady selling the chair apologized for not redoing it herself which seemed to go along with the shabby chic look including distressed wood and painted fabric - which no one should ever do. I was beyond excited that she hadn't found the time and the beautiful wood and caning. As you can see above, I had gathered a few different fabric samples including a navy leather, a few neutrals with pattern and texture, but nothing really felt right. Then I remembered that I had stashed away a beautiful brown leather and I was lucky enough that I had juuust enough to cover the chair! 

AFTER

AFTER

 I did a bit of research online and found Homan Interiors and after reading multiple reviews thought I would give it a try. They were wonderful to work with and weren't too pricey either comparatively speaking. Not only did they upholster, but redid the seat and refinished all the wood. I dropped off the chair and the leather, and talked about options including whether it would work and the addition of decorative/functional nailheads. I left for vaca and came back to a beautiful finished chair. Check out the math below for the whole make-over!

  • Unfinished Chair - $60
  • Leather - Free (got lucky) 
  • Fabric - Did not use, but could run between $20-$30 a yard. This particular style of chair took about 2 yards. Make sure to confirm quantity of fabric before purchasing! 
  •  Labor - $200 
  • Additional Nailheads - $40
  • TOTAL - $300 

I know that sounds a bit pricey for a "used" chair, but buying a chair from Target for $300 isn't going to get you the quality, beauty or story! 

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I am personally in love with the transformation with or without the hubby's shorts tossed on top. It adds just the right amount of masculine touch to the room and is the perfect scale. So would you do it or pass for a buy out? If you find something that you can't decide whether the effort and money is worth it, just do a quick rough calculation of how much you are going to spend at the end of the day. Sometimes it is worth every penny and others it just isn't. Be smart about what gets redone! 

Happy Shopping!  

-a. 

Lake Party

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Now that it is officially summer and temperatures continue to be in the 90's, all I want to do is be surrounded by water and sunshine and there is no better place than a lake in Ohio. A lake "party" is probably the easiest, stress free parties you will ever attend or throw - it simply involves food, a few drinks and a boat with floats. If you have all the typical boat gear, it doesn't take much to pack up for a day at the lake. From a few years of experience, I have pulled together my must have's for a day filled with laughter and fun and it only includes 7 items! Check them out below, you don't want to miss the rainbow unicorn! 

Don't worry, none of the items listed are below will make or break a day at the lake, but I highly recommend them! 

  1. A day full of sunshine begs to have a playful pair of sunnies. I prefer plastic to metal on the boat, they seem to be a bit more resilient and water just rolls right off. These ones from Frameri have the classic look of tortoise mixed with a touch of salmon along those rosy cheeks. 
  2. I love a good Fedora hat in the summer, and after years in the sun and travel it was time for a replacement. I found open-weave fedora at J.Crew Mercantile on a whim and for $18.00 you can't beat it! 
  3. Sunscreen is a must weather you are fair or naturally tan, a day in the sun requires a couple applications of sunscreen. For years, I have used the Neutrogena Light Weight Cream to protect from the sun and reduce acne. I recently tried out the CVS Clear Spray and loved it. I still recommend Neutrogena for your face, but the ease and coverage of the spray was amazing! 
  4. Who can resist this amazing Rainbow Unicorn Float? It just begs to be lounged on with a refreshing drink in hand. These playful floats have become pretty big this year, and it will add just a little bit of quirky fun to any lake party! 
  5. To keep your drink cold while lounging I highly recommend these cute coozies that say exactly what you are feeling - "best day EVER!"  
  6. Some boats come with speakers, but if you typically hang out on a slightly older boat you may not be so lucky. This little mobile speaker lasts up to 10 hours on batteries, connects with bluetooth to multiple devices and is okay if it gets splashed by water a few times. It really is the perfect solution for a day on the lake. 
  7. And for when the day finally comes to an end and you feel like you can't move another muscle, these soft striped 100% Turkish beach towels are perfect to dry off with before heading home to crash.  
This may look a bit fancy, but this sangria is just as tasty in a plastic jug and a red solo cup and perfect for the sunshine and water! 

This may look a bit fancy, but this sangria is just as tasty in a plastic jug and a red solo cup and perfect for the sunshine and water! 

Watermelon is the perfect food for the water - easy to pack, eat and clean-up. If you are planning a 4th of July Celebration be sure to check out our menu from last year here! 

Watermelon is the perfect food for the water - easy to pack, eat and clean-up. If you are planning a 4th of July Celebration be sure to check out our menu from last year here

So here is to the weekend filled with lots of sunshine and hopefully a bit of lake time! Hope everyone has a good time. 

Cheers! 

-a. 

Belated Father's Day Gift

A beautiful wooden box from Artifact Uprising to keep all the special notes and trinkets dad's collect. The perfect gift for a new dad for sure!  

A beautiful wooden box from Artifact Uprising to keep all the special notes and trinkets dad's collect. The perfect gift for a new dad for sure!  

I can't believe we are almost half way through June, and although we may have been a bit MIA these past few months, we haven't forgotten about celebrating all the dads out there! This coming weekend is Father's Day, and just in case you procrastinated a bit, we have the perfect gifts for you. I can't count the times my dad has supported me, saved the day or given a piece of advice, life wouldn't be the same without all those dad's and fatherly figures so it only seems right to give a small token of appreciation. I think shopping for men may be the hardest thing to do, so here is a small collection of items that would probably make any dad happy! 

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  1. The Lo & Sons women's weekender bag is one of my favorite's for long weekend get aways. This men's version would be perfect for a dad who loves to come visit or is all about weekend adventures! It even has a place to keep all those "dirty" shoes. 
  2. The trend of less is more is still the rage, this simple, sleek card case is great for carrying just the essentials. No more complaints about too thick of a wallet with this beauty! 
  3. It is true what they say, Yeti containers really do keep your drink as warm or cold as you want. This stainless steel Yeti Rambler is perfect for the dad who is a bit rough on things and needs a cool drink after some serious hard labor. 
  4. If your dad is always on the water, I highly recommend getting him a rash guard that protects him from the sun, because we all know men are terrible about putting on sunscreen. This one from J.Crew is fashionable, comfortable and has UPF 50!
  5. These Bose headphones are a bit pricier than the ones that come from your iPhone, but are sweat and weather-resistant. For the dad who is all about jamming out while working out, you can't go wrong! 
  6. A heavy-duty canvas travel kit is perfect for a dad who travels for business or pleasure frequently. With the beautiful leather details and canvas, this travel kit takes luggage to the next level. 
  7. For all those dad's that pour their blood, sweat and tears into all that they do, here is the perfect ironman soap from Rainwater Farms. He will be extra fresh and ready for the next challenge that comes his way. 
  8. If you dad loves to cook and is often found with a grill set and beer in his hand, this new book, Food & Beer, recommends various combinations of food and beer together. 
  9. This may be one of the pricier items on the list, but if your dad likes to explore whiskey and scotch, Casker's has a great whiskey club that you can sign him up for. It is similar to the wine clubs, but sends a variety of whiskey to his front porch! 
  10. And sometimes the most meaningful gift is the simplest with a hand-written note. Every dad always loves to hear how important they are to you, so take a few minutes if nothing else and write a thank you note. If you need one, check out Rifle Paper Co. here

Hope these gifts find themselves in well deserving hands! 

Happy Father's Day! 

-a & c