August 31, 2010

Now Taking Donations

Oh please if you have glass bottles like these that you want to get rid of, don't throw them away!!!  Give them to me so that my house can be pretty. :)

August 30, 2010


Over this oh-so-busy weekend while I was in Ohio shooting a wedding with Millie, my family came to visit us in North Carolina.  It was supposed to happen a different weekend (one that I was NOT working) but flights got mixed up and we had to settle for hours of family time instead of days.  I already miss them but was so thankful for the short time I got to spend with everyone, including the new addition to my mom's family.  Meet the second cutest  mini dachshund in the entire world.  Her name is Shirley and she is just a few hairs shy of winning the world's cutest puppy trophy over Emma.  I fell in love with her instantly.  

I can't wait for the holidays.  Seeing family again for more than a few hours will be just the refreshing time I need!

August 25, 2010

Design 101: Splurge or Save...or Both

We've been making some higher end purchases for the house.  I've talked about the couch and the bed, but there have been a few others.  It has most definitely put a dent in our wallets!  What keeps me sane, though, is knowing that I can splurge on quality pieces that will last while saving on accessories and art that I will want to change out frequently anyway, all while staying within a room's budget.

Our master bedroom budget is $2,500.  That is about a third of what most of the shows on HGTV get for a room makeover, just to put things into perspective.  My big purchases (splurges) are as follows:

bed - $1500
curtains - $285

That doesn't leave a whole lot of wiggle room for the budget, I realize!  Here's how I justify it.  A bed is something you will always need.  It's a staple in any home.  If you pick a bed that is good quality wood/material and a design that is classic, that bed has the potential to stay with you for fifty years.  The curtains, although a splurge for me, are not a splurge as far as curtains tend to go.  I just had no idea they were so dern expensive.

Here's the rest:

dressers - $200 at a yard sale
side tables - FREE (family pieces)
paint - $65
wainscotting and crown molding - $175
accessories (including wall art) - $100
lamps - $80
chandelier - $100

I already owned most of what was on the art wall, so accessories ended up being less than I thought.  Which means I'm only $5 over budget!  Which means if I watch it, I might be able to buy something fun as well.  You a little black dress or something.  I love budgeting. ;)

August 23, 2010


No, I am still not done with my art wall in the master bedroom.  Yes, I'm sick of looking at it unfinished. Will you help us decide which ring shot to get enlarged?  The numbers will be on TOP of each image, so comment with which number you like!

#1 (we love popcorn jelly bellies and they're the perfect color)


#3 (taken on our front porch)


#5 (Andrew took this one in our backyard!)

#6 (Andrew's guitar - he was so nervous while I took these)


#8 (the photographer nerd in me loves that there are two points of focus in this one)


Do you have a favorite?  I'd love to hear from you!  Try to think about the photo itself as well as how it will look in our yellow, white, gray and chocolate room.  Hope you're having a happy Monday!

August 17, 2010


Kate and Andy Spade's NYC apartment makes my heart happy!  If my house looks half as amazing as this when we're done with it, I'll consider it a huge accomplishment.  Look at all that color!!!  Remember my theory about using neutral walls to provide a backdrop for a multi-colored palette?  Maybe I'm not as far off as it may seem. :)

I love the lights in this butlers pantry.  What a lovely way to replace boob lights

This next shot of the bathroom proves that everyone makes mistakes - even decorating geniuses.  The zebras are killing me.  Love the clawfoot tub, though, as well as the striped shower curtain.

Can anyone guess why I LOVE this bedroom? Yellow and grey.  Vintage touches.  Grasscloth walls. Velvet armchair.  Seriously, what's not to love?

I need this house.  But until I can afford the multi-million dollar price tag attached to it, I'll work to make mine just as colorful and full of character.

August 16, 2010

Get Inspired: Television

Here's a short list of some of the more popular design shows out there right now.  Listed from the best to the worst of the worst (in my opinion), I find most of these shows on HGTV, Style, and Bravo super helpful and inspiring.

Sarah's House - This is my absolute FAVorite design show on television right now.  Sarah is smart, she is realistic with budget and timelines, and the show is really about design not drama.  Sometimes I'll hear her say something that I had been thinking for months to myself.  It's like having "ah-hah" moments when she confirms my design aesthetic.  She also loves yellow.  Which makes her amazing.  She actually recently did a yellow kitchen AND bathroom in her farmhouse that were both to die for.  I do NOT have the guts to do that, but I admire her so much for it!

9 by Design - Even if you hate design, you'll probably love this show if you give it a try!  This high-energy family of 9 are headed up by Bob and Cortney, two self-taught designers who primarily flip houses in New York City.  Their style is very different from my own, but I adore their attention to detail and contrast between old and new used in every one of their spaces.

Divine Design - Candice Olsen never disappoints.  Her designs are always on point, what the customer wants and she does not deter from her own design thought process.  That being said, the average design budget for a room is well over $100k.  That's not just kitchens, which are obviously expensive to renovate.  That's any room!!!

While we were waiting for the house to be built, I was busy looking for a rug in our living room.  I saw one on Candice's shows that highlighted a beautiful silk rug and hunted it down.  I thought "OK I'll splurge on this.  If this rug would last me 50 years, what's a couple extra thousand dollars?".  The rug was not just a couple thousand extra above my budget, though.  It was tens of thousands over.  When I found this out, it put quite a damper on my Divine Design admiration.  It's an easy thing to say, but I honestly think that if I had her budget, I could do better.  OK maybe not better, but definitely more original.  I have less of a budget to spend on my entire home than she does on one room.  Puts things in perspective, right?

Color Splash - I think David is an exceptional artist.  He works within a realistic budget - $6500 is average for him - but what I like best about him is his willingness to take risks.  What I like least is his lack of restraint and his taste level.  Every once in a while I'll be watching and say out loud "oooh, tacky".  But it's hit or miss with him.  If he's feeling the design, it's awesome.  Which is why I opened with I think David is an exceptional artist and not I think David is an exceptional designer.  With a little more consistency, he would move up the ladder in my books.

Design on a Dime - I have to do it.  I have to dog on this show.  I'm sorry if you like it.  It's pretty awful, though.  First of all, they have a thousand dollars for every room.  That's not a dime, that's a grand!  That's a LOT!!!  I'll admit, I have a bit larger of a budget for each room, but not by much.  I think it's pretty realistic for the average person to NOT have a 5 or even 6 figure budget for a room makeover.  Also, they say their budget is $1000, but...have you noticed they don't factor in the cost for the custom furniture they build? Or the extra materials.  Hmmm.  So if I hired someone to do custom built-ins, that would put the budget up 5-6k.  Totally unrealistic.  I feel sorry for people who watch this show and get an unrealistic expectation of what they can do for the price.  I also don't think they have good taste.  And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

OK one more thing. hahaha I was looking for a picture to post of their work and noticed that they don't even use their own designs on their advertisements.  Yikes!!!!  Maybe they know they're bad, too.

OK now I'm done. ;)

August 15, 2010

I want to live here

I just died over this all white outdoor space.  This room.  Is bananas.  B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

August 9, 2010

Truth: Our Yard Is Ridiculous

When I think about our lawn, I die a little inside.  It's in such a sad state, and there is no real hope of that changing any time soon.  Bad pesticide that turned our sod brown in conjunction with the entire back yard not having anything but straw on it is killing me.  In the last 2 months, we've bought a refrigerator, dryer, bed, couch, alarm system, garage door opener, wood blinds, bathroom mirrors, bathroom light fixtures, a chair, a cruise for vacation and...I know I'm forgetting one...oh yeah, a house.  We paid cash for everything except for the house and we are spent.

 It will probably be sometime next year before we do what we really want to with the yard (wraparound deck, landscaping, fence, etc), so until then I will continue to mourn my ugly rose bushes that I didn't want planted in the first place.  We are such bad neighbors! ha I hope the HOA doesn't come after us for being the ugliest yard on the block.

August 8, 2010

Sneak Peek - Master Bedroom Dressers

I have one more dresser to go, but it will have to wait until visiting family comes and goes this weekend. Don't worry!  You'll get a clearer view of both pieces when I'm done!

August 6, 2010

Get Inspired: Photography Part 1

Hello, my name is Rachel and I am a blog stalker.  

I've said this before, but I really believe that inspiration can come from pretty much anywhere.  It can also cross boundaries.  A photograph of a couple in love, for example, can not only inspire me to be a better engagement session photographer.  It can also inspire me to decorate with color!  Take these next two photos.  The first is from Jeff Newsom, a photographer based in California.  I am in love with this image and have looked for the opportunity many times to try something like this.  Holy awesomeness.

Jeff Newsom's image not only inspired me to think in more layers as a photographer.  It also stretched my design aesthetic.  When I saw this image for the first time, I noticed how amazing the magenta, robin's egg blue, yellow, eggplant, orange and creams were together.  Looking at how his image had SO MANY colors but still felt cohesive made me think.  Who says you can only have a few colors in your room's scheme?  Muahahaha.  Mad scientist laugh.

I LOVE breaking rules.  Maybe I'm rebellious.  No, not maybe.  Definitely.  But I am in heaven when I see this next image from Anthropologie and how many different bold colors contribute to it.  The trick will be making it not look too busy.  I think with neutral furniture and walls, it will be a balanced space.  My living room is the target for this ambitious color idea and I am PSYCHED!!!

Now, if I can only finish that darn master bedroom, I'll be able to start this new amazing project. :)

August 5, 2010

Curtains for the Master Bedroom

HUGE sigh of relief.  Buying curtains was way harder than I ever imagined.  Probably because I'm so dern picky, but I had no idea how hard it would be to find exactly what I wanted!  Here's what I was looking for:

108" or at least enough length for floor to ceiling plus a little puddling on the floor
chocolate brown
blackout curtains
linen or brushed silk
anything but grommets for the hooks
white painted wood curtain rod

And here's what I ended up with:

108" - sooooo hard to find, btw
white opaque curtains with chocolate sheers
not blackout
white canvas, brown linen
pole pocket top
chocolate brown wood curtain rod

I think it turned out OK, but I will definitely be pickier with my next curtain purchase for the house.  Honestly, I just got tired of looking at store after store and finding nothing!  Everyone seems to only carry 7 foot drapes, but I've always heard on design shows and such that if you want your space to look and feel taller/bigger, you should hang them from floor to ceiling.  Our master bedroom is not all that large but it has great height, so I thought it was important to play on that.  

The other thing that threw me was budget.  I only reserved $150 for drapes and rods.  Call me naive.  The ones that I really wanted were $500 per drape.  There was no way I was going to double my entire room's budget for curtains, but compromise is suuuuuuch a dirty word.  After two weeks of searching with no luck, I finally surrendered and went with something else but I still went over budget.  I spent a total of $285 including the rods (which is GREAT compared to a lot of stuff out there).  It's just fabric, though!  Why is it so dern expensive?!

One thing that I DID love in the end was the curtain rods.  They are sleek, not too modern, and a perfect contrast to the white canvas.  Finials are sooooo gaudy normally, but I love the simplicity of these.

OK so I have a question for you - how do you iron your curtains?  We don't have a steamer and the instructions say low iron...but a low iron does nothing.  I'd love to know what all you curtain experts out there are doing!