West Elm

Big brother gets a big boy room

Way, way back when I worked on the One Room Challenge for our baby-to-be (six weeks and counting!), I also worked on a little upgrade to Henry's room. It's been a little nuts around here and blogging has gone by the wayside somewhat but this room is just too fun not to share. Plus @lindseykay_photography came by to take photos and they are so bright and cheery that I had to show them off. 

Henry, now a big, bad three year old seemed a little cramped in his convertible crib. His changing table/dresser was taking up too much room and frankly, I had a vision for the space – truly never not updating our home. Since I am still into the wall color (Oystershell by Benjamin Moore) and quite a few of the other pieces in the room, the change was not huge but I love the results. 

First to go was the crib. I found this black metal bed on walmart.com of all places. It was easy to assemble, sturdy and doesn't require a box spring. Win! I wanted to play up some of the black accents in the room and it works perfectly to bring it all together.

I had to find a use for the shibori pillow I brought home from HomeGoods so naturally I bought all new bedding. No surprise the sheets and quilt are from Target. I chose the mud cloth throw from @minimalist_shop as another nice black/white accent. I want it for myself but I'm a mom so I'm used to sacrifice (ha). Really though, this room is beginning to look nicer than my own. 

Is it just me or do you guys also beg, borrow or steal from other rooms in the house for furniture and decor? The nightstand is from our guest bedroom and the lamp from our living room. It looks great but then what happens in those other rooms? It's and endless rotation with one room always feeling a little left out.  

With the crib gone, I was left with this giant mostly empty wall. I'm nothing if I'm not a gallery wall aficionado so I threw together his random collection of art and voilà! The banner above his bed from @askyomother was just a no-brainer. The kid truly wakes up like he's going to Disneyworld. Every. Single. Day. It's perfectly Henry and I love it.

Since selling the old dresser, I had to hunt for a smaller piece that fit right under that window. I found this mid-century guy at a local resale shop and it was beat UP. Even I was skeptical that it could be salvaged but I stained the drawer fronts and painted the rest white and I think it turned out great. It's a perfect fit for the space and serves another great purpose of keeping my kid clothes shopping to a minimum. How do they get so many t-shirts anyway? 

Out went the shag Ikea rug and in came this lovely fringe guy from West Elm. Henry was truly excited about this purchase. He'd seen so many new things come for the baby room so when this showed up and it was for him it was like Christmas Day. For like one minute until he realized, meh, it's just a rug, guys. NBD.

The Land of Nod teepee has been around awhile but I still love it. I have visions of our boys hiding out in there reading books and playing together – I can't wait!

Add a cool, old storage trunk from my mother in law and update complete! Henry now has a room that feels more age-appropriate and leaves him with tons of space for pulling out all his books and tossing them to the floor (cry/smile emoji). But really, I'm proud of how it turned out. Henry's world is about to change SO much and we both wanted him to feel just as special as this new guy coming our way. This room now feels so perfectly him – bright, happy and cheerful. Thanks for stopping by to check it out!

Designing a playroom to coexist with a family room

If you saw my post a few weeks back, I finally shared our living room situation with the world. What you didn't see was the chaos next door – Henry's play area. It accompanies the adult space in our living room and knowing that would be the case, I set out to make it as pretty and organized as possible. I'm aware this post will probably make me look like a crazy perfectionist mom but know that it usually doesn't look this way. I do let my child play and make messes but who wants to see pictures of that, right ;)?

It's obviously far less challenging to organize and tidy when you have only one kiddo. And there could definitely be more toys. My friend Kelly sold me on the idea of rotating toys and I LOVE it. Old toys are new again every few weeks or so. It's especially useful for small spaces like ours and less stuff to "dump" which is basically what Henry's play is right now. Pick it up, shove it in his shopping cart, push the shopping cart, dump the shopping cart. Rinse and repeat. It's adorably messy. 

As for the design of this spot, it's pretty minimal and even a bit Nordic mostly because Ikea. I'm not above a plastic kitchen (ok maybe a little) but if given the choice, you're darn right I'm going to get the prettier one...even if it takes me all afternoon to assemble. That, the table and chairs, cubby shelf and the white frames are all Ikea. 

The wall art is a mix of stuff from our old condo and Henry's masterpieces. I see real talent in those scribbles and like the idea of changing it out as his art evolves.

The flush mount is a favorite of mine. When we moved in it was a dated spotlight and a little abrasive. I found this guy at CB2 and Mike installed it for me. I added an Edison bulb because it's pretty and softer on the eyes.

The rug is from West Elm. I bought this for Henry's nursery but it was scratchy and not very baby friendly so it's been rotated around other spaces in our home until it finally found it's forever spot here... forever being six to eight months until I get a bug to redo this space again. It's a real sickness, guys.


I have been toying with the idea for wallpaper on that far wall but I'm holding out for something that's just right. Not too childlike, not too adult. I do like the minimal look but I want the room to feel a bit warmer.

So there you have it, a play area with a little bit of style, a whole lot of fun and that feels cohesive with our adult space. Mostly, this room is our Thomas watching area with the occasional KUWTK when no one else is looking but most importantly, it's our place to hang out and be a family and that's what home is all about ;) 

A bright and serene office update

When you're a city dweller, it's pretty common for your home office to double as a guest room while also accommodating all of the other stuff you're not quite sure what to do with. That was the state of affairs for my writer/photographer/all things creative client, Diana. Not the best 'before' photos but you get the idea. She needed a place to think freely and feel inspired that would also be welcoming to friends and family and a little monkey I happen to know...Diana is my mother-in-law and that monkey is, of course, Henry ;)

One of the most challenging parts of updating a space for a client is to do so while still honoring their personal style. I know Diana fairly well at this point so I know she loves pattern and deep, rich colors. I used a rug of hers as the starting point that also served as sort of check in piece for me. Any ideas that came to mind had to be cohesive with that piece to know that I was still on track with her look and not just my own. Here's the mood board I put together for her that I shared on the blog a while back. To my delight, she was on board with most of my ideas and we moved forward quickly. 

The first order of business was the wall color. To brighten the space, my initial thought was Honeymilk by Valspar but it didn't quite work with the lighting and was too similar to the trim. ALWAYS test your paint, people! We tried out a few and settled on Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore (I love the color so much, I'm using it in our bedroom...eventually). It's a creamy light gray with very subtle brown undertones. Really bright and clean feeling and so, so pretty. 

Diana had expressed feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the pattern in her home so I swapped the futon cover for a solid one and found some new, fun pillows – one print, one striped. She still loves pattern, just doesn't want it everywhere. I can relate. I removed the torchier lamp and updated it with this wood toned geometric guy from Target...I'm really digging that little corner. 

    Floor lamp - Target ;  Bird pillow - Pottery Barn ; Tassel pillow - West Elm (discontinued); Futon cover - Right-On Futon; Frames - Ikea 


Floor lamp - Target; Bird pillow - Pottery Barn; Tassel pillow - West Elm (discontinued); Futon cover - Right-On Futon; Frames - Ikea 

The gallery wall was next. Diana had a lot of family photos to display but as it happens over time, frames can begin to look dated and don't always mix well with one another. I purchased varying shapes and sizes of black frames from Ikea for a more cohesive look and got to hanging. (Here's a tip for gallery walls: Arrange your frames on the floor first until you like what you see, snap a photo of the arrangement to reference while you're hanging.)

Diana's desk was a little worse for wear but otherwise a solid piece that was still very workable. I'd been following Megmade, a furniture refinishing shop in Chicago, for some time and was excited to finally get a chance to work with them. Diana and I popped in and chose a nice gray lacquer (Amherst Gray by Benjamin Moore) for the base and she kept with the same dark wood finish for the top. I found new brass hardware from Schoolhouse Electric and voila, a few weeks later, a new desk. That. Is. Gorgeous. 

Although her desk chair is not the most attractive, it's crazy comfortable. Knowing that this is an actual working office, I resisted the urge to trade it out for something pretty (and less cozy) and just threw a sheepskin over it to dress it up. 

The before photo doesn't do justice to the ledge shelves on the wall but they were too big for the space. I removed them and chose a tall bookshelf for stuff that was beginning to accumulate on and around her desk. To help her stay organized, I grabbed some pretty boxes from Ikea for mail and general miscellany and we kept her wicker file box and mail sorter, too. Mike will make fun of me because I'm into wicker lately but I really do love the softness and texture it can bring to a room...when done well. 

In the case of the shelf, I kept with her mismatched frames. If you don't go crazy with too many, I think it can work. And they also helped to keep the space more Diana and less 'decorator'. 

Pulling it all together (as rugs do) was that beautiful kilim. It was passed down from her mother who had impeccable taste in rugs and was just a super fun piece to work with. Using things of meaning for clients is my favorite part. I've mentioned this in every post (because it's true!) that it's sentimental pieces that make a house feel like home. 

So, there you have it. An updated office/guest room that we did for just over a grand. All in all, the space feels much more easy breezy which is exactly what I was going for. It's the perfect place to get creative, meditate on your day or throw down a pack 'n play and take a nice long afternoon nap :)