Thursday, April 30, 2015

Alternatives to Built-Ins

Custom Built-ins, especially on either side of a fireplace, are generally wanted by most homeowners. Who doesn't love the look of well done cabinetry? But, let's face it. As lovely as they are, they are not inexpensive to have built and installed. Leaving that space unfinished however, can make your space feel like something is missing.

Just because custom built-ins are not in your budget, doesn't mean you can't achieve a great look. Here are some great alternatives to custom built ins.

1. Install low cabinets and shelving. Paint the wall an accent color add interest and depth. Puck lights under the shelving show off your collectibles and add ambiance.

Exposed ceiling beams in this dining room provide a perfect space to hang pendant and secondary lighting. On either side of a large white fireplace are nooks where shelving is built into walls that have been painted orange.
via HGTV

2. Fake built-ins with drywall and wood. Case out the front to add more detail. Lighting up the interior of the cubbies makes your decor shine.

Electric fireplaces can be the perfect addition to homes or spaces where a traditional fireplace would not be practical.
via United Fireplace and Stone

3.  Use floating shelves to create architectural interest. Hanging them in an offset pattern makes the display more interesting. Backing it with reclaimed wood adds depth and texture.

Floating shelves on either side of this white stone fireplace enhance this living room's contemporary look. Dark contrasting panels in the inset walls make the white shelves pop.
via HGTV

4.  Use ready made cabinetry. Flanking the fireplace with store bought cabinets works just as well as built ins. Glass fronted cabinets mimic the look of built-ins and add style.

The short hall from the front door enters directly into the spacious living room with a large light gray stone fireplace. On either side of the fireplace is a matched pair of glass-faced curio cabinets. The large L-shaped sectional sofa and two armchairs provide ample seating.
via Homestratosphere

5. Get matching console tables. Hang mirrors above them, add lamps and other decor and you have a put together space.

A sense of symmetry brings out the natural beauty in the sitting room. On either side of the fireplace, distressed demilune consoles and stylized mirrors have an old but new quality. The ceiling is a few shades darker than the walls, which adds a coziness to the elegant space.
via HGTV

Create a well styled space without breaking your budget. Any of these low cost options would be great additions to any space.

Happy decorating!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

5 Cheap and Easy Floral Arrangements

One thing that always perks up a room is fresh flowers. Having a bouquet of flowers next to your bed, on your dining room table, the kitchen counter or on your coffee table brings not only brings in color and texture but smells great too. 

You don't have to spend a fortune on flowers to get a great look. A few simple items are all you need to create a beautiful floral display.

1. Alstroemerias, mason jars and raffia. Group the flowers by color. Cut so the flowers sit just at the rim of a wide mouth mason jar. Tie top of jar with raffia and enjoy your bouquet for a week or more. The alstroemerias are a flower that has staying power.

2. Tulips and a square glass vase. Select single hued tulips. Remove all but the upper leaves near the flower. Cut so the flowers just rest on the lip of the vase.

via Gem of the Week

3. Hydrangeas and a pitcher. Cut them from your garden or buy them at the grocery store. Create a round bouquet in your hand with middle flowers slightly higher than the outer ones. Cut the stems so the flowers are just above the rim and drop them in.

via A Country Farmhouse

4. Peony and a round glass vase. Cut from the garden or selected at the store, peony's look great in a simple glass vessel. Arrange in your hand similarly to the hydrangea and cut the stems so the flowers rest on the vases' edge.

beautiful bouquet of peonys, flowers are so important to have in our homes
via Luella & June

6. Mixed bouquets and a bucket. Avoid the temptation to just pop the flowers into the bucket. Rather, separate the flowers by size. Rearrange them in your hand. Larger flowers in the middle and filling in with smaller flowers. Once you have it the way you want it, trim the stems so the flowers rest on the rim of the bucket. Choose a bucket size that allows the flowers to pack in tightly. You can also use a rubber band to secure the bouquet together before cutting the stems so the flowers stay together. 

Bouquet Makeover
via BHG

See flower arranging can be easy and inexpensive at the same time. Bring nature inside and give your home some texture and color.

Happy flower arranging!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Takeaways from a Well Styled Room

For many of my clients, one hurdle they have a hard time overcoming is adding accessories to their room. Not knowing where to start, what colors to use or what style they are trying to achieve can all be barriers to their success.

The best place to start is by finding a picture of a room you love. Search Pinterest, Houzz, your favorite home magazine or blog. Then identify these key items to copy.

via Target

1. Color scheme. In this case it is navy, fuchsia, teal and white. The couch and wall are in neutral gray. 

2. Select a unique piece to style around. Here it is the lighted wall anchor. The lobster pillow and navy and white scheme echo a nautical theme.

3. Mix and match. This room has a mixture of patterns and textures. The velvet couch, striped and dotted pillows all create an interesting display. Choosing all the same pillows, patterns or textures make a room appear flat.

4.  Use the accent colors throughout the space. The wall art pulls the accent colors onto the wall and keeps the eye moving. Using similar hues avoids clashing.

5. Art doesn't have to be expensive. Create this same look with frames in similar styles and colors so they don't take away from the art. Framing your child's art work or framing cards, wrapping paper, fabric or scrapbook paper is an easy way to find coordinating items that you can mix and match.

Following these simple rules will help you style your space in a way you love.

Happy decorating!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Pendants with Pizazz

Yesterday I went to a new store that just opened in my hometown. If you live in the Lake Zurich area you should definitely stop by Patina Haus. It is a quaint store specializing in unique home decor. Not only do they have finds from estate sales and the like but they also have new items from high end retailers that they scored on a bargain and are passing the savings on to the buyer. 

One of my favorite finds was a star shaped pendant light in oil rubbed bronze and fitted with a mini Edison bulb.  Since we are in the process of considering an addition that would include a kitchen remodel, it got me to thinking about pendant lights for the island. Specifically, how great that pendant would look in my space. As is usually the case with unique stores like these, there was only one. However, I was determined to see if I could find the same or similar item to keep in mind as a possible contender for my new kitchen.

Believe it or not, I found it! While on the hunt I also found some other spectacular pendants that I would consider myself or recommend to a client. Considering updating the lighting in your kitchen? Try one of these on for size.

Blog Template

Blog Template by dawn-brazier featuring honeycomb jewelry

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

Number 5 is the one I am currently coveting. What about you? Which one is your favorite? Let me know by adding a comment below.

Happy decorating!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Kitchen Ideas - Lose the Upper Cabinets

Sometimes less is more. In this case, less kitchen cabinetry. I am not talking about giving up storage, rather, I am referring to kitchen aesthetic and design. Having loads of cabinets is a storage dream but, sometimes too many cabinets can be overwhelming and cold. If you are able to give up some storage space losing some, or all of, your upper cabinetry can yield a beautiful and well designed kitchen. 

Not convinced? Get inspiration from these well designed kitchens.

kitchen with grey cabinets and subway tile - No upper cabinets and drawers for dishes instead...
via The Inspired Room

Sunny kitchen. No upper shelving. Love this for both the view and art posibilities, but need a walk in pantry.
via Design Mom
kitchens with no upper cabinets | Many of the photos above have a fabulous window wall instead of uppers ...
via Coats Homes
Get rid of your lower doors (cabinets) and use box drawers. No more bending over to see what is in there hiding.
via Pacific Northwest Cabinetry

A custom kitchen with timeless creamy white cabinetry, granite counters, wide-plank reclaimed hardwood floors, high-end appliances, like an Aga, Viking or Wolf Range and coffered ceilings.
via the Decoist
Dark counters with white shaker style cabinets. Plaster hood with stainless shelf.
via For the Love of a House

Open shelving and rustic cabinets contrast beautifully with sleek subway tile.
via Centsational Girl

If you want to lose your upper cabinets but are concerned about storage, rethink your lower cabinets. Retrofit them with plate racks or pull out drawers for better storage solutions. Also, adding shelves to the wall still provides storage but without a bulky wall cabinet. Take stock of your kitchen before tearing out any cabinetry (or designing a new kitchen). Figure out how you can better use your cabinetry and what you could display on open shelving. All white dishes look great on display. Giving the eye a place to rest creates a warm and inviting space.

Happy decorating!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cool Mother's Day Gifts

May 10th is Mother's Day. I am always on the lookout for unique and interesting Mother's Day gifts. Flowers and candy are great but, I like a gift that is as awesome as my Mom. Whether you are buying for a friend, your Mom or your grandmother I have rounded up some of my favorite buys in every price range. Check them out.

Blog Template
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

Blog Template by dawn-brazier featuring coral clutches

My favorite is the star necklace but, I would be happy to get any of these for Mother's Day. What about you? Which one is your favorite?

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fabulous Florals

I am a sucker for floral prints and flowers for that matter. I love the different colors and shades as well as adding a natural element to my space. I will admit that I currently do not have much in the way of florals in my home at the moment. My style has tended to a more craftsman style over the last few years. Darker, shaker style woods, clean lines and fall inspired colors.

As I mentioned a while back, we are currently considering a renovation to expand the lower level of our home. This would include gutting our kitchen and expanding it as well as refacing our all brick fireplace. While I adore craftsman style, I am aching to lighten and brighten our space. I am dreaming of white or light gray kitchen cabinets, white built in cabinetry and lightened up fireplace.

If this renovation ever comes to be, it would be a great opportunity for me to add some florals to my space. I can see floral pillows on the sofa or a floral print rug on the floor. Hmmm, or maybe floral curtain panels. The possibilities are endless. Check out these great ideas for adding florals to your space.

via eHeart Design

Buy more. save more bedroom
via Ethan Allen

Collins Wingback Chair
via Home Decorators

Mariel Floral Duvet Cover & Sham
via Pottery Barn
One of my favorite discoveries at Laurent Floral Accent Lamp Shade
via World Market

via Wayfair

Happy decorating!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Purple Passion

Purple is starting to crop up more and more in home decor. While not normally a color most people think of for decorating it is a very intriguing color. Pastel versions are soft and relaxing. More vibrant hues are energetic and lively. If you are looking to mix things up a bit why not try purple? I've gathered together some great ideas on how to incorporate this color to get you inspired.

Start small but swapping out your accent pillows for a beauty like this. The gorgeous mix of soft and dark along with a variety of pattern make this a great addition to a living room or bedroom.

via Z Gallerie

Give your bedroom the royal treatment with purple bedding. Whether all purple or accented with other colors it is sure to make an elegant statement.

Echo Vineyard Paisley Comforter and Duvet Cover Sets
via Macy's

Wake up beige tile by pairing it with a soft purple paint color like this. It adds just the right about of color without being overpowering.

Purple bathrooms make me happy!
via Houzz

Give your dining space a little punch by painting your table purple. The wood chairs add the perfect contrast. I love the map wallpaper as well.

Sneak Peek: Best of Indoor Plants. A little bit of nature on Jenny Brandt’s purple kitchen table in Ystad, Sweden.
via Design Sponge

Give an all white kitchen a little kick with a pale purple backsplash and coordinating wall color. Such an unexpected color with amazing results.

via Circa Interiors

Add some zing to your space. Happy decorating!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Etsy Favs

Hello everyone. It is time for my rotating article about my favorite Etsy favorites. If you are new to my blog (or Etsy), it is a marketplace for crafters to sell their wares. What I love most about it is that you will always find something unique and their prices are great. If you are like me and love items that are not the standard cookie cutter accessories, then Etsy is your place. Not only do they have great home decor but jewelry, clothing, invitations and craft supplies.


1 Alma Handmade in Milan 2 Pineknobs and Crickets 3 Melinda Wood Designs
4 Urbanfete 5 Love Joy Create 6 Inspired Trading Co.
7 9th Ave Iron Works 8 Red Truck Designs

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Small Space Hacks - Adding a Workspace

For anyone who has lived in a home where space is at a premium, you can appreciate designs that make the most of the space you have. Ideas that make rooms appear larger, add storage space and improve function are all highly coveted in small spaces. One area that traditionally gets sacrificed in a smaller home is a home office or workspace. While many people would love to have a space to pay bills, work from home or do crafts, they are generally not willing to give up a room devoted solely to that purpose. Thankfully, there is a solution. Check out these ways to add a workspace to your home without sacrificing much needed space.

via Popsugar

Office Nook - Custom Built-In for Basement
via House of Rose

Discover small spaces design ideas on HOUSE - design, food and travel by House & Garden. A small workspace with space-saving pocket doors is concealed in a kitchen cupboard.
via House and Garden

Long, shallow desk in front of a window - the window will can be used also! (Tape cords along the back!)
via Studio Pebbles

A home-office alcove in the family room is decorated with a variety of artworks and light fixtures from Schoolhouse.
via NY Times

via Apartment Therapy

Great idea for that dormer window space that usually gets wasted!
via BHG

Get creative!

Friday, April 17, 2015





Cozy Dining Areas

With everyone's busy schedules these days, it is difficult to find time for a family meal. It is great to have that time to discuss the days events and reconnect. That is why in our house, whenever possible, we actually sit down together at the table for dinner. I admit my children's extracurricular activities can throw a wrench into this plan, especially once baseball and softball season has started!

Our house has a small eat in area in our kitchen where we have family meals. It is a simple round drop leaf table that seats four and is on the other side of our kitchen peninsula. We do have a formal dining room where we entertain and have holiday meals, but it is our small dining nook where we eat most of our meals. In honor of that tradition, I have compiled some cozy dining nooks where I wouldn't mind having our family meals.

Breakfast nook idea. I love this. But I would change the black chairs for maybe a light yellow or white . Definitely doing this in our new place.Breakfast Nooks, Breakfast Area Design, Interiors Design, Breakfast Nook Bench, Dining Nook, Breakfast Nook Decor, Banquette Nook, Dining Room Nooks, Breakfast Nook Banquette
via Camille Styles

Royally Suited..A pair of French Colonial chairs in the living room looks fit for a princess and offer the perfect spot for a tea party for playtime and for paying bills or doing homework during work time.
via BHG

Breakfast Area via @Hometalk.  Just like my old dining room table, sans the marble top. I love French country farmhouse furniture, just not the whole farmhouse vibe. I prefer an eclectic mix with stark modern pieces, whimsical art and the occasional French farmhouse touch. -Bec
via Hometalk

Orla Kiely Teapot illustration in the background of @Carrie Mcknelly Mcknelly Harwood home
via Wish Wish Wish
Create a cozy eating area in your kitchen and lure your family members back to the table. You may just end up eating more than dinner together!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Unique Seating Ideas for your Kitchen

We entertain quite a bit at our house. As is usually the case, everyone congregates in the kitchen. Unfortunately for us, our kitchen is quite small so there is not much space for people to gather. It is for this reason we are considering expanding the back of our first floor to create a larger kitchen and family room. In the ideal world we would add an island to our kitchen which would seat six. We would also have a table adjacent to the kitchen which would seat another six to eight people.

In thinking over designs for the kitchen, I began thinking about ways to maximize seating. Islands are great, but they generally cannot provide all the seating a family needs for daily living not to mention entertaining. There are plenty of ways to add additional seating that don't fit into the traditional mold. 

Add a bar. Mount a ledge along a wall (preferably one with a view) or remove a few lower cabinets to make space for stools where guests can bevy up to the bar while your cooking dinner.

Tiny apartment ideas: 23 ways to make your small space feel huge.
via Mama Mia

Add a window seat. The perfect spot to have a drink or kids to get some reading time in while your preparing dinner.

Turn a window niche into a mini living area with a window seat:
via BHG

If your kitchen is open to your family room, put stools under your console table so they can enjoy the game while your working in the kitchen.

If you have a small living room slash dining room, a setup like this will help maximize your space! Plus the saddle seats are adorable!
via Classically Lovely Events

Create a cozy sitting area with a small sectional and coffee table.

A breakfast nook may be redundant if you have seating at your kitchen island.  Instead of using it for its intended purpose, create a little sitting area to enjoy a cup of tea or read a book on a rainy day.
via BHG

Don't have enough space for a sectional? Get the same feel but use two accent chairs instead.

whoa i love the idea of a two chairs in our eat in instead of a table. might have to do this!
via Simplified Bee

Entertain with style!