Monday, February 10, 2014

I've moved...

Blogs not houses! Please come join me on my new blog: Homestyled.com and be sure to update your bookmarks, etc.  The content from this blog is not moving over - I'm starting fresh with a new year, a new site, and lots of new plans and ideas.  See you in the new space!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tips for traveling with children


We took our first family vacation recently and it was heavenly. I have to admit that the day to day has certainly become a lot more stressful since we added a little one to our family and I wasn't so sure a vacation would even be fun with a ten month old but I'm proud to report that it was amazing and far exceeded my expectations. It was relaxing and fun and really bonding for the three of us. There were a lot of things that we did to plan and prepare that I feel added to our fun and stress free time. I wanted to share what our family found the most helpful in navigating air and car travel with a little one in tow.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bar shelving

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we went to a salvage shop and bought some gorgeous oak planks to make shelving for above the bar in our dining room.  After a lot of preparing and then deliberating, we decided not to use the oak planks.  At the end of the day, they just really competed too much with the bar.  

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned the bar or the epic deal we got on it from a thrift store a few years ago.  It's this amazing vintage piece that was priced for $190 at a nearby Salvation Army.  It was well worth the price tag, absolutely gorgeous with inlaid wood. It did have some damage to the back but nothing that affected the integrity of the piece.  I wanted it so badly when we spotted it but at the time we couldn't justify the price.  A couple of weeks later it showed up at our local Salvation Army with no price tag.  I asked the cashier how much they wanted for it, he looked over it and said, $15.  Are you kidding?!?  I could hardly contain my surprise and excitement and bought it on the spot.  

Here's a quick (unstyled & maybe slightly out of focus) shot of the bar and the shelving we chose to go with.  You can also see the finished walls with the gorgeous Hale Navy color (so happy with our color choice).  Unfortunately, you can also spot the anchors from the previous placement of one of the shelves, oops!  That's what happens when you are chasing a baby around and trying to instruct your husband on where you think the proper height of said shelf should be.  Our painter will be coming back to patch that little mistake soon.  

We went with a simple stainless steel shelf from Ikea.  The bar is such an amazing piece and we didn't want anything competing with it.  I'm still in love with the idea of reclaimed wooden shelving so we are going to head back to the salvage shop to find something bigger to hang on the other side of the dining room above our white credenza.  We tested it with the planks we got and it looked amazing, a really nice offset to the modern look of the credenza.  It instantly warmed the space up and looked so good on the dark navy walls.  I think the stainless shelves are a great stand in for now.  In my vintage and thrift shopping I'm hoping to come across a great vintage medical cabinet that we could hang to store glassware, etc.  For now, these do the trick and look great, thanks Ikea for always coming through!  

Photo: The Design Boards

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pardon our dust...

I'm making a few layout & design changes to the blog so things will look a little off for a day or so while I make adjustments so bear with me.   Thanks!

Gift Ideas for New Parents

Now that I've been a mom for 10 months (holy crap!), I feel qualified to discuss some mom-type things here on the blog!  We have several friends who are expecting right now and that always makes me think back to my first weeks home with the new baby and all the lovely gifts we received.   Here are some great gift ideas that go beyond cute outfits. 

1. The baby gets so many new things it's also nice to shower the parents with a couple of special items.  One of my closest friends knew how much I missed some of my favorite foods while I was pregnant (salami, sangria, good unpasteurized cheeses) so she made me a basket of all my favorite couldn't-have-while-I-was-pregnant foods.  Just be conscious if your friend is breast feeding because that brings on an entirely new set of food no-no's.

2. Speaking of food, another amazing gift for new parents is a home cooked meal, or even take out from a nice restaurant (fast food doesn't count!)  Mike's co-workers took turns bringing us meals for 4 weeks!  It was such a wonderful gesture and it was so nice to not have to worry about what to cook for dinner and to get a home cooked meal...life was so hectic post-baby that we honestly didn't cook a meal in our kitchen for almost two months!

3. A basket of favorite magazines, movies, and snacks.  New parents spend a lot of time in the house, especially breast feeding moms (I can vividly remember those 40+ minute nursing marathons at the beginning) so reading materials and fun things to watch are a much needed sanity escape!

4. Children's books are a definite must on my gift giving list. I like to give a collection of favorites with an inscription to the baby. 

5. A Baby Brezza or other similar cooking tool for baby.  Since L has started eating solids this has been an amazing gift....I can find so many uses for it after she's done with it too...it makes baby food making a cinch.

6. Your babysitting services.  Being a new parent is such a wonderful and amazing experience, but it's also emotional, tiring, draining, and overwhelming to say the least....every parent needs a break at some point and while they might not take you up on your offer now, at some point they will want to hand over that little bundle of joy and enjoy a night out or even just a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A birthday list...


My birthday came and went, quietly again, like last year.  I guess that's what birthdays do as you get older.  Of course, no birthday of mine is complete without a list of lofty goals and ambitions for the coming year. 

I make a list every year and I feel like I tend to add things that are maybe just a tad bit unobtainable, maybe I'm too optimistic about the future and what I can realistically get done with my current schedule.  Last year was a total fluke because I had no idea what life was going to be life after having a baby and seemed to think maternity leave would allow for all kinds of free time...ha!  This year I have tried to set extremely realistic expectations for myself and have even come close to obtaining several items on the list already...yay!

1. Work out and get into shape
        - Getting there, almost all the baby weight is gone and now I'm working on getting my stomach flat again
2. Create a photobook of L's first year
        - Hoping to have this complete for her birthday party
3. Take a trip with Mike sans baby
        - Scheduled for the end of next month!
4. Pay down a good portion of our debt
5. Set up a short term and long term savings account
6. Go on a hike
        - We are visiting Vermont soon and hoping to get in a couple of hikes with the baby!
7. Visit Morocco
         - This is tentatively set for March
8. Plan a trip to Paris with my mom
9. Spend a couple of days hanging out in London
         - Hoping to do this en route to Morocco in March
10. Create a cute holiday card this year
11. Implement my new business plan
12. Hang up all the artwork in the house
13. Create a family wall and hang more pictures of us
14. Bathroom renovation
15. Refinance our mortgage
        - This is in the works now
16. Make plans to attend Brimfield
17. Invest in the stock market again
18. Stop eating out so much
19. Put more time and focus into the vintage shop
20. Finish the wall of cabinets in the kitchen
21. Make/sew something
22. Make a photo/coffee table book of our best travel photos
23. Start taking family videos
        - We shot 3 this weekend!
24. Meditate at least once a week
25. Completely finish decorating a room
26. Make more time for myself
         - I'm scheduling a day to myself sometime in the fall
27. Clean and organize garage and keep it that way
28. Work on an outdoor/backyard project
29. Drink more water
30. Have people over to the house and entertain more, spend more time with our friends. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Reclaimed wood shelving

I've become obsessed with a new (to me) design show on DIY Network called A Bryk at a Time.  Have you heard of it?  It features Danielle Bryk, a stay-at-home mom who is going back into the interior design business after spending the last 15 years at home with her kids.  It's super cute and feels more like a reality show then a design show as it features her kids, her actor husband Greg and other various family and friends.  It reminds me of the Novogratz family but with less kids. 

I've been getting a bunch of ideas for my own house from things I've seen in the show.  The one thing I'm obsessing over are these beautiful reclaimed wood shelves.  I first spotted them in her kitchen, then I saw her make something similar for a client's bathroom.  I've been looking for a shelving option for above our bar.  If you can believe it, we still haven't unpacked everything from our renovation last year.  This means that all of our bar ware is hanging out in boxes in our second bathroom when it should be hanging out on really beautiful reclaimed wood shelving, don't you think?

This weekend we went to an architectural salvage store and picked up some old oak planks from a Kentucky horse farm and we plan to build some shelves soon.  We're sort of stuck on brackets right now.  I really like the floating shelf look but that really limited us in terms of wood thickness.  The hardware for a floating mount requires a certain thickness that we were having trouble finding when shopping for wood.  I also believe that you are limited to how much weight a shelf can bear when it isn't supported by brackets.  Not really an issue for glasses and bar ware but I didn't want it to be a concern down the road. 

I really love this option.  It's more ornate than most but it adds some interest to the shelves and I think you can get away with something like this when you are using a really beautiful aged piece of wood because it draws attention to the shelf and also gives it a more modern feeling. 

I like these brackets for their simplicity.  Their functional and don't draw a lot of attention to themselves allowing the shelving to really stand out.  With our navy paint color, the brackets would probably blend right into the wall.


Here is the floating shelf option from Danielle Bryk's house.  The picture really doesn't do it justice - it's absolutely beautiful.  She has mounted some wine glass hanging racks to one side of the shelf which you can't see here. 


These brackets actually look like a very simple track system that you might find in a closet.  Not something I would ever gravitate towards for open shelving but I really like the way it looks here. 


I actually love this bracket but Mike isn't a fan.  I think it gives the shelves a modern, industrial look.  These are probably totally out of the running but I thought I would share it anyway, you know, for posterity's sake. 


So those are my choices.  Anyone want to weigh in?  I'll keep you posted on what we finally decide on.  Ikea has a lot of great bracket options so I'll be checking in with them to see if anything stands out as a must have.