Home Decor That Doesn’t Break the Bank 

Design

I’m gonna keep this short and sweet, you don’t have to break the bank on home decor. Sometimes I see something beautiful and then immediately fall over from price shock. The reality is home decor is about you, if it stresses you out trying to afford something find a similar alternative that will create a similar vibe without killing yours. 

One of my favorite decor tips is to hit up clearance aisles and thrift stores for “good bones” on the low. What I mean by this is it may be the wrong color or have a minor defect but spray paint and super glue fix mostly everything. 

This mirror was only $25 and it’s hard to tell but it’s huge and well made. It’ll be painted but could be an easily missed decor essential in the rough. 

I’ll find a spray paint color I like and paint many items for the room decor the same so it looks like it matches. It can really be described as a hodgepodge approach but really works since the color will pull it together. 

It’s surprising how much good stuff is thrown out or put into the clearance area when it’s still very salvageable. 

Check out grocery store’s and drugstore’s decor areas it’s usually affordable and they buy to sell quickly so it’s typically pretty stylish and priced well in an effort to move it! 

I got these really beautiful dishes a few years ago at Kroger! 

Kitchen Style & Color Choices 

Design

From the moment I found our house plans I  began thinking about the kitchen. I have an affinity for country French styling but don’t always love intense distressing and it can also can be too fancy, smancy looking for my taste as well. Our house is a craftsman by definition, but has some softer features and more neutral colors than many I have seen. I love mixing in industrial metal features so all in all I would call my style industrial farmhouse. 


I love white cabinets and they photogrpah just beautifully but sometimes white on white feels somewhat clinical in real life. When I picked our cabinet color I actually thought it would be even more gray!


See how it looks different?! 
 I was considering painting them darker when I first saw the true color but then decided it may be a good inbetween- not too white – not too gray. I absolutely love how it all turned out together so I’m glad I took the chance on something a little different. It’s always a good choice to see paint colors in your natural light before making a final decision. 


The backsplash was hard I knew I wanted white and there would have been many options that would all look good in here but this tile adds elegance a simple white subway tile can’t. We considered doing a Carrerra marble subway tile but then found this arabesque tile that was just beautiful with the cabinet color and granite. 


I fell absolutely in love with the granite when I saw it. My husband teases me I always pick the most expensive thing out and it held true here because I literally picked out their most expensive stone. 


In my defense- 1. It’s perfect. It has whole gemstone looking pieces throughout 😍and 2. I was willing to pick a lower priced stone for the bathrooms to balance it out. Guess which granite we have? 👐🏼My negotiations made sense I guess! 


These pictures are of our counter top templates laid out on the slabs the way we want. (We asked to come back in after the template was done to do this.) Granite has natural variation so selecting your actual cuts is a way to help ensure you get the beauty of the stone you picked! A 3″ square sample doesn’t do justice or show the true granite patterns of an 8′ slab. 

We used table legs on our island and on our cooktop to add some more detail. 


I went ahead and linked everything in the kitchen but I’ll go into more detail about the appliances and hardware on my next post! 

Thanks for reading friends! 

  1. Cabinet pulls- Top Knobs- Somerset Collection 3.75 Inch Weston Appliance Pull – Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish 
  2. Cabinet Knobs- Dynasty Hardware Finish: Oil Rubbed Bronze
  3. Appliance Pulls- Top Knobs- Somerset Collection 7 Inch Weston Appliance Pull – Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish 
  4. Countertops- Bianca Bono Granite 
  5. Pot filler- Kingston Brass- Restoration Pot Filler, Oil Rubbed Bronze (currently unavailable) 
  6. Faucet- American Classic Gourmetier Single Handle Kitchen Faucet- Oil Rubbed Bronze 
  7. Backsplash- Villa Heirloom Linen Arabesque Porcelain Mosaic- I don’t think they carry our exact tile anymore but Floor & Decor has similar options- linked here. 
  8. Cabinet paint color- Sherwin Williams- Worldly Gray 7043
  9. Stain color- Gemini NGR Dye Stain- Van Dyke Brown 
  10. Ceiling stain- V-groove -Minwax Provencial & the beams are Minwax Dark Walnut 
  11. Table legs- Square Islander Island Post in Soft Maple- Osbourne Wood Products

Bright & Cheery Girls Playroom

Design

Staying home with my girls means tons of time in our play room. 

Once a day at least my oldest packs her things up, puts her shoes on, and waves goodbye to Mama on her way out to the store so I wanted her to give her the full experience. 👇🏼





I crave organization and the playroom is no exception. Toy sets that have pieces all over the place insue minor anxiety attacks. A place for everything and everything in its place, please and thank you! At our old house we had one cabinet with all the toys shoved in, very avalanche prone; I knew I needed a better solution!

You can never have enough tissues!! 

I had these simple white shelves left over from another project but I knew it would be so boring. I considered putting wood on the backs but decided this large room needed some more color than wood could offer. 


When I found this fabulous fabric I knew it was perfect, and it was on sale at Hobby Lobby. I laid the backs that came with the shelves and the fabric down on the floor and hot glued it together, so easy and gorgeous!


The rug is always a hard thing to buy for me. I had some specific colors in mind and my animals destroy nice things so it couldn’t be too expensive and had to be durable! I wasn’t sure about using two side by side but I’m glad I took the chance. I love this rug. It’s got a rubber backing so it’s skid resistant, and if there is an unreported spill the floors underneath are protected. It’s made of wear- dated nylon fabric so it’s stain resistant too. I spilled my entire iced coffee on it the other day, go figure the Mom makes the mess, but it came up easily!



It’s soft, plush, comfortable to lay on and vibrant!



Artwork Display  


Artwork Station



  1.  Dreamy Dragonfly Area Rug-Mohawk Home, ordered through Walmart
  2. Rachel reversible pink Swiss cross rug- Joss and Main
  3.  White Shelves from Target–  10% off right now!
  4.  Shelf backing fabric- Hobby Lobby
  5.  Cube Organizer- Walmart
  6. Foldable baskets- Amazon
  7. Play kitchen- Best Choice Products
  8. Seaside Kids’ 5 Piece Table and Chair Set- Wayfair
  9. Writing utensils organizer bar- Martha Stewart
  10. Writing utensils organizer buckets- Target Dollar Spot
  11. Coloring book holder- Hobby Lobby
  12. Artwork Wall Clipboards- Hobby Lobby
  13. Wall Paint Color- Sherwin Williams,  Sea Salt 6204
  14. Trim Paint Color- Sherwin Williams, Alabaster 7008

The Boo-Boo-Less Bandaid

Mommy

Few let downs compare to the feeling of a child coming out of their room when you’ve already declared victory on bedtime. 

Our toddler has become the consistently  good sleeper in our family, but it hasn’t always been that way. She grew from a troubled, easy waker as a baby to a heavy weight champ, sleeper as a toddler. As long, as she actually goes to sleep. Our second baby has graciously accepted the title of terrible sleeper, and is making sure we get just enough to not go bat shit crazy.  “Don’t wake the baby,” is a way of life these days. 

Both kids sleeping, or so I let myself believe, I’m sitting on the couch enjoying some post bed time relaxation when I hear the familiar creak of my toddlers door. 

Our new house has a cat walk type situation upstairs where you can look down into the living room. And to my horror, there she stood. Definitely not asleep. Looking at me.

“Mommy!” she called out to make sure I was really looking. 

“Go back to bed.” I demanded. 

“Moooommmmmy!!” she continued, louder this time. 

“Yes,” trying to keep calm and in charge. 

“I can’t find my pink band aid!” she informed me. 

“It’s ok we’ll find you one tomorrow, go back to bed,” I replied. 

“No my pink band aiiiiiiid,” said in a tone that would make the cries of an injured antelope sound pleasant. 

She’s become obsessed with anything pink, and, sadly hit her forehead the day before her second birthday resulting in stitches. She rocked a bandaid for a week or so, and I honestly don’t think she even remembers it. However, sure enough, every time she comes in contact with a bandaid it goes straight onto her forehead. Whether the behavior is habit or memory is still up for debate; regardless, she rocked a pink, Hello Kitty bandaid that had been found somewhere in our house for most of the day yesterday. With no boo-boo!  

At this point, I’m terrified she is going to wake up the baby. I had thrown that nasty, tattered, pink band aid away when I was cleaning up earlier so I knew I had nothing to offer.  I sprang up from the couch and was about to run upstairs when I realized my husband was already up there and going to her. 

I hear them going back and forth about the flippin’ pink band aid and then I hear two sets of footsteps coming down the stairs. 

You know that look your kid gives when they just got what they wanted after you said no? Like a satisfied eat poo look? At only two years old, she was sporting this look, trying to look unsatisfied but obviously very pleased with herself arriving at the bottom of the stairs. 

“I’m hungry,” she claimed. 

“You ate plenty of dinner you don’t need to eat anything,” I responded. 

“I’m thirsty,” she continued. 

“Ok, here’s some water.” I offered. 

“No, juice!” she demanded. 

“No, you already brushed your teeth,” I reminded her. 

“Juiiiiceeeeee….!!” again with the dying antelope shriek. 

“Ok,” screw it, I think, and give her a little juice. 

She happily chugged some watered, down juice and now surely she’s going back to bed.

“Pink bandaid,” she persisted. 

Dang! She remembers! “We don’t have anymore,” I muttered, fearing the wrath I would receive with this news. 

At this point, my intuition proved spot on, and all hell broke loose. She’s falling and flailing all over the ground. She started on the octave of a single, injured, dying antelope and now stepped it up to sound like an entire herd of dying antelope. I decided it’s better to think of a solution than to try to explain the rationale that she does not have a boo-boo and so therefore did not need a bandaid at all. My anxiety is starting to really rise as I’m facing the reality she is going to wake the baby up.

Maybe just maybe, if I search through our medicine cabinet there will be a pink bandaid somewhere. A unicorn. A bandaid for a toddler without a boo-boo.  I dive into our medicine cabinet; quite literally. We moved not long ago and this is one of the areas that could use some organization. So, as I’m fighting my way through bottles and medicine boxes, I spot it!  The unicorn, pink bandaid I had been searching for.

The joy on my kids face when I found her heart’s ultimate desire was wonderful. She took that bandaid and stuck it as quick as she could to her boo-boo-less forehead. I took a quick look very proud for deescalating the situation. Just as I am about to usher her back upstairs I notice the band aid is stuck mostly to her hair. Ok, no big deal I think, I’ll just take it off, push her hair back, and stick it on, right? 

I inform her of my plan and with major hesitation from my toddler and some of her hair too off goes the pink band aid. I proceed to pull the hair off and notice one side was a little folded and stuck together. Probably from the velocity at which she stuck it to her head in the first place; so carefully, I try to pull it apart. 

Immediate disaster. 

Frantically, I assessed the quickly deteriorating situation.  What just happened?! One side tore off?! No! Am I Hercules?! Why did I pull so hard? 

Then she saw it. In a split second, an entire dying antelope herd was back in our kitchen. 

 I look at my husband and the look on his face said only one thing, “what the actual f*** have you done?” He has learned better than to bring the words from his mind and deliver them to my ears at certain times. This was one of those times. 

Now what? The awful whining continues. I’m just so tired. I’ll do anything to make it stop. 

Tape? No! May stick too hard to her skin if she tries to sleep with it. 

Will it stick with just one sticky side? No! It’s a total loss. 

I return to the frantically picked through medicine cabinet thinking I would find another four leaf clover. Ha! Who am I kidding? No one could ever be so lucky. 

I proceeed to find anything, anything to distract from this meltdown. 

“Do you want quarters to buy new bandaids tomorrow?” She’s gonna choke on a quarter if she accepts this offer, why did I offer quarters? 

“Pink bandaid” she cried, maybe even half asleep at this point. She continues falling to the ground, probably from pure shock that this bandaid-less existence was in fact her destiny. 

I grabbed an old gift card sitting in our catch all drawer in the kitchen. “Do you want this credit card to buy more band aids tomorrow?” But, then if she does want it, is this is actually the “old” one not the one with money on it? Dang! Bad idea. 

“Wahhhhhh ah ahhhhh,” she wailed.

“Ok tomorrow we could try to get Elsa band aids,” I offered one last thing before waving the white flag and carrying a screaming toddler to her bed. Sometimes, when the moon is right Elsa and Anna will speak to her, almost, like the color pink does. 

Hardly able to catch her breath and through tears, she whimpered “Elsa?” 

I’m in, this is it, this is the cease fire!

“Yessss! Elsa, tomorrow!” I exclaimed excitedly so she too would feel excited for our plans tomorrow. 

And just like that she calmed down and went back to bed. I know this can’t be claimed as a victory; we did everything wrong. But the fact the baby did not wake up counts for something. There will be many unknown battles ahead but one thing I know for sure is, Elsa, you’re my girl! 
Updated 24 hours later: The first 24 hours we had no mention of any bandaids, proving she was actually sleep walking through the whole ordeal. 

Updated, again, 48 hours later: We had a catastrophe earlier, an actual booboo occurred. It disappeared by the time we showed daddy but there was a booboo nonetheless. We finally, made it to the store and got that booboo a bandaid so all is right in the world again. My toddlers world, atleast. 

 Basic Kitchen Design Tips

Design

Food is nourishment to our bodies like cooking and sharing a meal together is nourishment to our souls. This is why the kitchen is the heart of the home. Families spend an immense amount of time in this room, together. For this reason, a kitchen that is difficult to use could hinder a family’s bonding experience.  

I learned so much of what I know about design from my father. Some of my earliest memories of him involve some project or another he was working on in his basement woodworking shop and feeling like he can fix and build anything. I still feel this way and feel lucky to have apprenticed under him in my adult life. He has great design ideas and understands the flow a kitchen needs to have to be functional. 

Enter the concept of the “work triangle.” 

The basic idea is that the three areas most in use in a kitchen are the refrigerator, the sink, and the stove. These areas should be laid out in a way that you can hop around to each fluently. 

This article from Kitchens.com explains this idea further and gives more examples of how a work triangle can be laid out in different ways for maximum efficiency.

Below is a renovated basic kitchen with an obvious work triangle. The cook can float around easily with no obstructions. 



In addition to using the work triangle to help design a functioning space, some basic concepts of how a kitchen is used can be helpful in defining the design. 

  • A dishwasher should always be to the direct left or right of the sink. 
  • If there are no constraints on the dishwasher location put it on your dominant side. (Right handed people put it on the right, left handed people on the left side.) 
  • A peninsula tends to feel boxed in and maze like no matter the location. Where possible, an island creates a more open flow. 
  • If space allows open the work triangle up enough to allow each aspect (stove, refrigerator, and sink) to be fully functioning at the same time so multiple people can work in the kitchen simultaneously. For example, the dishwasher can  open completely and is not in the way of any other part of the triangle. 

The picture of the kitchen above does have a work triangle but the fridge can not open at the same time as the dishwasher and overall the space can be tight for multiple people but this is also just a realty and constraint of smaller spaces. No matter the size of the kitchen there can always be “too many cooks in the kitchen,” at times. These design tips are just best recommendations. Even when you dislike your kitchen space find a way to make it work for your family here and now; come together and cook a meal together every once in a while. 

The D Word

Mommy


Woe is me. Discipline. It just sounds like a scary word. 

Sometimes I find myself in the scary, overwhelming, relentless world of discipline and I think to myself, “when did I get so old?!” Because after all, telling your kid no and being a total buzzkill isn’t exactly the brightest part of partenthood. Might I add, my oldest kid is only two so there are many years of the D word in my future.  

I have always been a pretty good girl, following most of the rules, but definitely can’t say I was perfect. I may or may not have raised a little Cain at my worst but also put myself through college with an academic based scholarship, graduated college Magna Cum Laude, and played a pivotol role in starting multiple businesses before my 25th birthday at my best. I bring these accomlishments into a children’s discipline post because these things were only achieved through, well, discipline. 

The difference between a parent disciplining a child and an adult disciplining themselves is one relationship involves two variables and the other only one variable. Oneself. There are life long consequences to not having discipline and structure as a child. 

A child learns self discipline over the course of their upbringing. Children thrive on predictability and routines and in turn will learn how to incorporate this into their life when it’s all on them to do so later on. They want to know what is coming next because in this big scary world they have something consistent and reliable. Of course, the rigidness of the routine is up to the family.

  There’s no reason structure has to be oppressive. Think of it as your friend, offering the little routines and traditions that make life both easier and cozier. Not only will your kids will soak up the security, they’ll internalize the ability to structure their own lives.

Having this said, a toddler is not going to all of a sudden become introspective and appreciate the rules you just threw down on them when they just want to get a cookie. In reality, the rule may be,”No more cookie because dinner is only a few minutes away.” To the toddler it’s just “No, no, no.” It is always easier as a parent to give into their little demands but they don’t have the experience to understand the world around them.

An easy example using a rule of nature would be: healthy foods help our bodies function and grow properly, so eating a healthy dinner instead of cookies is an important rule to follow. When we as parents have to step in and rain on their parade by denying them that delicious cookie they want so much, we know we are doing a good thing for their development. If they don’t eat the healthy dinner there will be physical consequences over time. (i.e. stunted growth, poor bodily function, illness, etc.) We can define this rule as family members must eat dinner before eating any cookies and once we eat our dinner we can have a cookie. If it fits with the families’ prerogatives it becomes part of the routine where there is an understood agreement between parent and child. The child will begin to eat their dinner everyday (obviously if they like what they’re eating- which is another subject in itself) and know by completing their part of the defined rules they will get their cookie at the end. 

Why then does this logic not apply to all rule making? After all, it’s the same outcome only instead of physical consequences  there will be emotional consequences. Kids have to be taught to do everything. A toddler throwing a tantrum is a victim of being unsure how to handle intense emotions that are very new to them. Over time they will learn to communicate their emotions through verbal and nonverbal mediums and as a result will be much less agitated when something doesn’t go their way. Rules should be structured to help toddlers grasp what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior in all aspects of life.


At the end of the day throwing around a bunch of rules may not be the easiest way to incorporate the structure the parent wants. Enter the routine. Routines help to reduce some of the unpredictability the toddlers feel and help the rules the parents want followed become more realistic. Toddlers want to please their parents and if they know what’s next they will surprise you by doing it! 

This arrangement of rules and routines helps the whole family function better. Over time the little rules grow into bigger and more complex rules as the kids are able to handle more responsibilities and gain more autonomy inside and outside of the family. 

Like anything else parents have to understand too there will be off days and decide what battles are worth fighting. Toddlers need love and compassion as much as they need structure and predictability so if all else fails give your little a big hug and tell them just how much you love them. 

Designer by…

Design

To complete the title a couple of years ago I would have said “designer by day.” However, now, in my busy life as a stay at home mom of two beautiful girls the “by day” part usually turns into “by night” or not at all. I love my girls and made a choice to delay my career goals to be with them. I realize I am extremely fortunate for this to have been a choice because I know so many don’t have that option.

Having that said, a stay at home mom doesn’t suddenly loose their ambition when their child is born. Some days I feel like my brain is turning into a mush of ABC and 123 mixed with spit up, snotty noses, diapers (so, so many diapers!), potty training and as of late, dress up clothes!

IMG_2639.JPG

I hardly have a moment to myself and when I do it’s typically catching up on housework. My husband and I recently built a house. It was such a fun process and also a creative outlet for me. We sold our old house, moved in with my (truly wonderful) in-laws and had a baby during the one year process. While our house is close to perfect, we were just ready to be done and move in; meaning there are still some remaining projects and details we have to finish.

My husband is a contractor and my work history is based in custom home design so  we have been able to use our knowledge to build our dream home for a fraction of the cost. I’m excited to share some of our tips and ideas with you in the posts to come, of course, as I find the time.