4 Must Have Pieces for Your End of Summer Parties

We are half way through summer which means the blogging world had moved directly into fall decorating but I'm still firmly planted in the current season. With several more months of warm weather left, stores ready to start clearing out their summer merchandise. It's the perfect time to update your outdoor space for fabulous end of summer parties and early fall soirees.



There are a few key items that make great functional adds for outdoor entertaining and will reap rewards for years to come.

1. Moveable prep areas

http://bit.ly/2LOVSTE






Versatile counter space whether it in the form of a potting bench turned bar or a rolling outdoor cart is so key. It can serve as a great BBQ station, a s'more fixings bar, a mimosa bar or just a place to put some extra snacks down. This folding cart is a steal if you are short on storage space.  If you have a little more space and want something more substantial, this rolling potting bench/bar cart is a great add.









2. Fabulous serving pieces


http://bit.ly/2vm0CWl





Ok I know, I know. Using paper plates makes outdoor entertaining clean up so much easier. I get it. But adding some beautiful serving pieces really elevates any party and it's so worth a little bit of extra clean up. These melamine plates are so pretty I couldn't resist buying a whole set for my beastie's birthday.








3. Mood Lighting


You may notice I have a slight obsession with outdoor string lights. It's true but it's such an easy way to make a space feel festive as well as add the function of lighting the night events. It took me way too long to put them up but now that I have them myself, I know they are totally worth it. Whether you go with something more durable like these heavy duty strings or you simply cover your backyard in candles, you can't go wrong with ambient lighting.


4. Varied Seating

http://bit.ly/2vm0CWl
This one might seem obvious but it's often overlooked.  Even for a party with a small guest list, people like to mix and mingle around the space.  You can invite them to do that more easily with multiple gathering/seating areas scattered throughout your space.  While an outdoor dining set is key, don't stop there.  Think about how guests will use the entire outdoor area and put seating throughout.  You can build that into your outdoor space by creating wide deck stairs or low retaining walls that double as seating, or simply buy a few extra lounge chairs and benches to create conversation areas. This wicker bench is on sale and it would work well in almost any outdoor space.




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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small commission should you purchase any of the items linked above. Thanks for supporting Brooklyn Limestone.


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Do you have anything you can't live without you want to share? Have a great outdoor space you would like featured? Drop me a line!







Living Room Update at the Shore

You know that thing that happens when you buy one new piece and then everything else looks shabby in comparison so you want to change everything?  Yea, well that happened.




I fell in love with this round wood coffee table while shopping for something completely unrelated.  Yes, from Amazon!  Can you believe they sell furniture?  I was kinda shocked myself but I buy everything else on there, why not a coffee table?  Anywho - I had it in my cart for a few weeks and I kept thinking about it.  The problem was, I had a perfectly good coffee table already that just wasn't what I wanted for this new shaped room (see this post about how we shrunk our living room to make a bunk room for the kids). So I put the table up on the local facebook classified ad to see if I could recoup a little money for it.  Lo and behold, I had a lot of interest and sold it within a day!  So then I felt fully justified in treating myself to this new table.  It arrived a few days later but now everything feels a little bit old and worn by comparison.

Before you yell at your screen, I have no plans on actually doing much in here this year.  I still have a one year old who has a penchant for making messes. And the odd shape of this room is really stumping me as to what would be perfect in here anyway. Replacing the furniture right now probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  But I do feel the itch!


Room Sources:
Coffee Table
Sofa (similar)
Rug (similar)
Trays
Cordless Window Shades
Camera Print

In related news, this rug could use a cleaning but I don't own a carpet shampooer thing. Anyone have one they love?


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Corian Moodboard Maker #AD

disclosure: This is a paid advertorial with Corian® Design but all opinions expressed are my own.

One of the hardest parts of a home renovation - particularly a kitchen renovation - is picking from the seemingly endless material options. While we are lucky to be living in an age where there is so much variety, it can be overwhelming - especially when tackling a big project. When I'm feeling overwhelmed by choice, I find it helpful to narrow down my options with a moodboard and then use that as a reference to help guide all of the decisions that come up along the way. It makes becoming sidetracked a little bit more difficult. I ask myself  'does this work with the board?'  If not, it's a no go.



Enter Corian Moodboard Maker - this brand new, easy to use, tool makes creating that inspiration board so much easier.  First, I select a style that most closely reflects the feel I want. Then mix and match with material and texture images to create a personal look. I used the library of images Corian® Design provided as well as my own. No special tools required. When I was happy with the moodboard, I was able to save it to my phone (perfect to reference on that impromptu shopping trip. Corian® Design even offers an option to print it out to hang in your space.  Since I was going to be sharing it with you, I went through the process a few times to fully test it out and it was hard to make a bad combination. An added bonus of going through this process is that it also helps you identify materials and textures you are sure you don't like.  Understanding what you don't want is sometimes just as important as knowing what you do!



In this case, I'm working on a kitchen renovation inspired by a modern farmer's market - I added images of black painted bricks, copper pennies, weathered wood and the gorgeous pops of green and purple of fresh artichokes.  I paired that with Corian® Calacatta Natura Quartz (my latest countertop obsession) and Nero Soapstone Quartz. With just this moodboard as inspiration, I'll be able to select everything from lighting fixtures to appliances to outlet covers.



Corian Moodboard Maker is so flexible, you could use it for any room in the house even if it doesn't include a countertop. For the home decor junkies out there like me, it's fun to play with no matter what the reason.  Give it a try!


Inside Outside Deck Makeover with Lowe's [Sponsored]

Confession: Our back deck has always been a problem. It gets full sun and snow and weather exposure so no matter what product or paint I've tried, I haven't had much luck in keeping it looking good for any extended period of time. Case in point, we just painted the deck boards last year and they already looked like they hadn't been touched in a decade. The kids couldn't play out here because of the splinter issue and so I never put much effort into making it nice.


Despite it's relatively small size, I knew it could be a great addition to our home. An outdoor living room for city life complete with lounging and eating area. But the battered floor boards always stopped me in my tracks.


That was until I had the idea to cover the boards with faux grass. Until I started doing some research, I had no idea how far faux grass had come in the past few years. I was only familiar with that tacky green rug like turf that I had seen growing up. Well it's come a long way baby! It was definitely a risk but one I was willing to take.


Luckily Lowe's carried the perfect product - Sequoia Everlast Artificial Grass - it had some great reviews and came in variable widths. Despite it being somewhat unruly to carry, it was surprisingly easy to install. Unroll, cut around the edges and post and voila. It was transformed! It was soft underfoot and the kids immediately fell in love with it. Cue rolling around on the deck laughing.


Now that we had a space we could really enjoy, it needed some furniture. Back to Lowe's I went. The most important piece was the seating and I got lucky and found an L shaped Outdoor Sectional that was a perfect fit. I used an upturned barrel planter as a side table and 2 piece nesting table set as a coffee table. The bistro set I had from 10 years ago fit perfectly into the other side to create a little dining (okay, coloring and outdoor craft) area.


Heavy duty string lights fit perfectly across the pergola posts (this is one strand doubled so that the bulbs are closer together) paired with a set of stylish lanterns add some nice light. A majesty palm tree tucked to the side adds a little bit of tropical luxury to the space. All installed in a few hours!






The budget?  All this for less $1300!  Well worth it for adding an entire other lounging space for the whole family to enjoy.

Not only do we get to use this space when the weather is nice but I have also improved my view since this is what I see out of my kitchen window. We spent more time out on the deck the first weekend than we did in all 10 years prior.


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Lowes Home Improvement. All opinions expressed are my own. Thanks to wonderful partners like Lowe's that make this blog possible.

5 Artists to Watch + Paintings to Admire

I have commitment issues when it comes to art.  I love to shop and buy it but I tend not to be able to commit so I have lots of little finds hidden in closets and sitting on shelves.  It's a sickness.

Art can be such a hard decision for decorators but I want to encourage everyone not to take themselves too seriously.  Especially with some of the great work you can now find easily online.  Find something you love and hang it where you can see it.

With that in mind, here are 5 reasonable attainable pieces of art from artists I've been loving. If you have some artists to recommend (or if you are an artist yourself!), please share in the comments.


Salma Nasreldin creates such fun and eye catching work, it's hard not to be enchanted. This one is called 'Sunshine and Hurricane' and it's a particular favorite.







The gorgeous abstracts by Omar Obaid are mesmerizing.  And he makes them in huge scale which is oh so helpful in pulling a room together without having to find 25 different smaller pieces of art.  One of these is enough to carry a space.



Marleen Kleiberg creates characters I want to know more about. This melancholy (or is she just napping?) piece painted on a wood panel is my personal favorite.




Wouldn't this make a great conversation starter at  your next cocktail party?  Lisa Finch of French Canvas painted this little story on canvas and I can't look away.




Last but not least Camilo Matiz out of Luxembourg is painting dream abstracts in beautiful bright colors that are easy to fall in love with.







Any great artists caught your eye?  I'd love to hear and see more about them.


Non disclosure: This post is NOT sponsored. I just really admire the work and want to support them in any way (albeit small) I can.




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