Update the decor of any room in 10 minutes!

There are lots of ways to update the decor of a room - fresh paint, new furniture, better lighting. But there are few better or faster ways to make a quick change in almost no time at all than to update the door hardware. It's a small and easy change but the impact is big.

If you know me, I'm a hardware junkie. I fell in love with the limestone partially because of the door hardware. Even though the rest of the house was a complete disaster, the hardware was the window into the past that lured me in and inspired me to take on the challenge. I love to visit architectural salvage shops and pour through their vintage hardware for great finds. There is something oddly sentimental about a good doorknob to me. I imagine all the hands it touched over the years - like a small bit of history saved. Even when used in less than traditional ways, I'm a sucker for a good doorknob.

schlage matte black doorknob

Practically speaking, the right door hardware has outsized visual impact. Think of a great doorknob as the great pair of earrings to pair with a classic dress. Small in size but can instantly update a space. Best of all? Replacing an old doorknob with a new one could not be easier! It requires no special tools or skills - simply unscrew the one you have, pop in the new one and screw together. Voila!

schlage matte black doorknobschlage matte black door knob

I had been wanting to change out the door hardware in our shore apartment for ages but it never made it high enough on the to-do list. A few years back we renovated the BATHROOM but left the door hardware for a future project. Then hurricane Sandy hit and we renovated the KITCHEN, but again, we never got around to tackling that door hardware. There has always been a mishmash of colors and styles that drove me a little crazy. It's a small thing but the wrong door hardware always screams "thrown together" to me in a way that is never a good thing.

So when Schlage contacted me to see if I was interested in partnering with them, I jumped at the chance. Having used Schlage locks for years already, I knew I was getting a quality product that would last and would feel sturdy to the touch.

schlage matte black doorknobs

Since I like to mix metals as my tastes change, I wanted the knobs to be versatile to work with any finish. I selected SCHLAGE'S BOWERY KNOB WITH GREYSON TRIM in matte black for the closet, bathroom and bedroom doors. Bravo to Schlage for making a great matte black finish that goes with just about any style. It works as well in a coastal style home like ours as it would in a modern or industrial space.

With so little time invested, I finally have matching hardware unifying the apartment and updating the style at the same time. What a difference an hour can make when you have the right materials. I could not be happier with the result!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Schlage but all opinions expressed are my own.

Office Makeover Color Dilemma

My office used to be one of my very favorite spaces.  Clean and serene and just for me.  But with the additional of 2 extra people, the places where I would store my supplies got taken over by clothes and diapers and toys.  So my little office has become a dumping ground and just not a fun place to be.

rug | shelving

Which gives me perfect license for a makeover. I want to use some of the art I have laying around unhung as well as create plenty of open storage for my other treasures that don't have a good home.  I also plan on using crates and boxes to hide some of the clutter as well.

This was the before we got there and here is what it looks like now.

I think i'll keep my current desk just b/c it does the job but mostly because I haven't found a replacement I really love yet.  When I do, I'll pounce.

My big dilemma is wall color. I've really enjoyed the bright color that has been in this space up until now but since I'm changing it up, I think a new color is in order.  A pale grey was my first instinct but it's a bit boring.  I love black rooms so I've considered that but I'm resisting for this room.  I get good enough light to do all white but again, I'm not loving it.  I'd love to do a greyed down green ala Laduree but I don' think it works with my furniture. Usually I have a color idea right away but this has been holding up the whole works.  Any suggestions?

Dining Room Refresh

Normally I like a big "pow" makeover.  I'm afraid this is more like a soft "piff" but I'm still pleased with how a few small, inexpensive changes made the room feel new again.

Pardon me for not setting the table for the shot.  I know that is what other bloggers do and I totally get it - it just feels a little empty without all the dishes laid out just so.  But I don't seem to have the free time I once had.  I wonder why? :)

Did you spot the new additions?  The sugar mold, chalkboard and curtains are all new.  I do want to eventually switch out the end chairs but I haven't found anything I just love yet (that will also stand the test of time with 2 little ones). I feel a little guilty replacing something perfectly functional but it has been 10 years so it feels time for something different. Any suggestions? I like having something a little different for the end seats.

Bonjour: Paris Surrounds

We just got back from a weeklong trip outside of Paris. That's right - I said outside.  As you can probably guess, we absolutely adore the city of Paris (which is why we visited in 2007, 2012, 2014, and 2015) but opted for a different trip this time.  Partially because I felt dealing with a baby, stroller and 4 year old on the Paris metro would be less than relaxing and partially because I had always wanted to see some more of what lay outside one of my favorite cities.

We stayed in a villa near Disneyland Paris splitting our time between the park and some other more grown up friendly pursuits in the surrounding areas.  We could have taken a train into Paris at any time but we managed to kill all of our time without even thinking of going into the city.  We spent one day just relaxing and taking in the local town and then the rest of our time out and about.

Our primary target was Disneyland Paris. I've always been curious about it and having a princess obsessed 4 year old seemed like the best excuse to go.  Agatha loved it, of course. As an adult, I feel like it was a pretty poor excuse for a Disney park. All of the expense and the crowds without the great execution I've seen at Disneyworld.  The lines for everything - including buying a snack or souvenir no less the rides - were incredibly long.  Based on the fact that many rides and stalls seemed to have unmanned areas that could have accommodated double or triple the guests, it seemed the park was operating on half staff with a full crowd which was very frustrating with small children. I could go on but I won't except to say it was disappointing.  That said, it was in France so it's got that going for it!

Now on to some great highlights. We visited Vaux Le Vicomte - which was wonderful.  Shades of Versailles without the crowds - we practically had the whole castle to ourselves.  Sadly they didn't allow strollers in which mean only Agatha and I visited but it was still a lovely afternoon.  They even had princess dresses for kids to play for a small fee.  Naturally I found the servant's quarters far more interesting than the grand halls. I wonder what that says about me?

Another highlight was a day spent in Reims which was about an hour away from where we were staying.  We had a lingering lunch in a local cafe and then took a champagne cave tour with Veuve Cliquot.  The brand and it's found has such an interesting history and of course there was tasting at the end.  Thankfully they were no phased in the least to have children there (I was a bit worried it might not be practical to bring them) and it was my favorite part of the trip.

All in all, it was a wonderful week.

Trends I Defend: Coffee Bar

You might notice I don't often talk about what is on or off trend here.  That's mostly because I feel like almost anything - whether super new or seen everywhere - can be done well, when done right.   So rather than bashing what's out, I thought it would be fun to discuss some great trends (despite being oft seen) we can defend.

jen woodhouse / martha stewart / funky junk interiors

As someone with a small kitchen this is a favorite. Kitchen coffee bars - little stations where a homeowner's coffee maker, cups and fixings are all out and at the ready.  A luxury I so wish I had the room for since my coffee consumption has skyrocketed since having kids.  I like to think of it as the modern bar cabinet.  Who needs booze when you can have caffeine?

apartment therapy / the happy housie / driven by decor 

While an elaborate station is pretty swoon worthy, I've seen some lovely takes on it using rolling carts, 3 tiered trays and simple baskets like the examples above.

I don't have a full on coffee bar but I do have my coffee corner but it's just not the same as having everything out and ready to go any time you need a boost.  My next kitchen will definitely have one.

What do you think about this trend?  Is it here to stay?  Do you have a coffee corner?  Is it as functional as you imagined it?

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