Girl Astronaut Nursery Makeover

Last month we celebrated a very joyous occasion - the arrival of a niece! Since our family is rather small, this was truly an exciting event and we were so happy to welcome her into the world. Of course no baby's arrival is complete without a tiny space to call her own. My brother and sister in law went with an astronaut theme for her nursery which I just adore.
Girl Astronaut Nursery

I helped a little with the constellation mural and a few suggestions but they did all of the hard work. I love the "after" but especially after knowing what the "before" looked like.

Pretty impressive, right?

Space Theme Nursery for GirlBook Display and Storage in Nursery
The space is small but functional, creating display and storage as well as clean open space.  Perfect for lulling baby to sleep. When she is a little older, there will be space to play as well.

I helped with the constellation mural.  We tried a few different wants of painting it on but ended up figuring out that a silver sharpie (or actually 5 or 6 of them) was the best and easiest approach.  For just a few bucks, it made a great impact on the big blank wall.
Constellation Mural DIYArt for a Astronaut Theme for Baby Girl Nursery

Room Sources:

Kitchen Confessional | Learn from my mistakes

Whether you are thinking of renovating your kitchen or knee deep in demolition dust - this is the post for you! With 10 years of living in this kitchen, I can now share the ultimate in kitchen renovation lessons learned. What I wish I had done differently and what I'm so glad we did right the first time. Hopefully this scoop is helpful for your own renovations. It certainly has helped me with other projects over the years. [Check out this post for the before photos and more on the renovation.]

Let's start with the planning. When I was pouring over inspiration back then, I was told multiple times that "white kitchens are on their way out" In fact, I've seen this statement every single year since then as well. Will white kitchens one day go out of style? Never say never but white is pretty classic. I don't see it going out of style anytime soon.

Lesson #1 | Don't listen to the naysayers.  Pick what you like.

Ten years ago, soapstone was a pretty infrequently seen countertop material.  We had to go to a special supplier.  Lots of people warned me against it saying it was soft and would be trouble.  He was right,  it was softer than granite - but I knew that already as I had done my research.  I still loved the look and thought the dings and scratches would work well in an old house that has plenty of patina already. Well 10 years in, it definitely has plenty of wear but I still think it looks lovely.  It requires no maintenance whatsoever. While soapstone isn't for everyone, it was the perfect choice for us.

Lesson #2 | Even good contractors can be wrong. Do your own research.

When we were doing the layout, I was pretty against using the over the stove microwave for purely aesthetic reasons. I just didn't think it looked that great. But for a multitude of reasons we ended it going with it anyway.  Little did I know that the placement of that microwave over a hot stove creates a perfect storm for microwaves going ker-plewy.  This is our third microwave in 10 years and I don't think one is long for this world.  So not only is it generally unattractive but it has created an added expense and aggravation that is super inconvenient and hard to fix (and they always break at the MOST inopportune time - how does it know?). This is my #1 biggest mistake by far and it still makes my blood boil.  Learn from my mistakes, do not do it.

Lesson #3 | No microwaves over the stove, eveerrr!

Next up is flooring.  This isn't so much as a mistake as a warning. We went with wood flooring because this kitchen is open to the dining room and I wanted it to flow.  We have old parquet floors that are thinner than modern hardwood floors so that added a bit of complexity as well.  Ten years in and the finish is definitely past its prime. In fairness we are not careful at all - we do not baby anything in our house except the actual babies - but still, wood floors don't like water and a kitchen has water everywhere.  Considering our limited options, I think we would still have put wood floors down because I think redoing them every decade or so is totally worth it but it's a cautionary word.  If you want something that won't require work, you might want to opt for a different flooring.

Lesson #4 | Decide what items are worth maintaining and what are not and make decisions accordingly.

If you look closely you will see there are 4 different kinds of lights in this kitchen - over the island, in the ceiling, under the cabinet and in the upper cabinets.  Quite a lot for such a small space.  I'm quite sure my contractor thought I was crazy for putting so many lights in but let me tell you that it's so worth it. Having good lighting in here is SO important - do not scrimp here.  Aside from just being safer to be able to see well in here (no sliced off fingertips yet!), having options is such a pleasure.

Lesson #5 | Do not scrimp on lighting!

I think that about covers all the bigger points and takeaways but there are a couple of smaller points about my kitchen in particular that I wanted to add as well.  First about the farmhouse sink - it's still lovely to look at but it's handmade nature means it doesn't have a perfectly sloped base which results in crumbs hanging around.  Not a huge deal but considering the price of that sink, I would have expected more.  If I did it again, I would get a cheaper factory made sink and not have this issue.  Second, there are a few cabinet accessories that I really love and would absolutely recommend - the pull out garbage with the recycling bin is worth it's weight in gold.  I also love having a skinny cabinet to store cutting boards and pull out shelves in the base and pantry cabinets. Other than that, we don't have much in the way of doo-dads in there.

So what's next?  As much as I love this space and it has served us well, I'm thinking I might make a couple of minor changes to the island lights and stool sometime this year. And of course the floors will need to be redone at some point but we are waiting a few years until the kids are older to do it. Other than that, I see many more years spent at this counter pondering life's mysteries (and picking up cheerios).

I hope my kitchen confessional has been useful to someone out there. If you have any questions, just ask.

Office Shelf Off: Which One?

Warning: We interrupt this feed of normally pretty styled images for a reality check.

Don't judge me.  I used to be organized.

My office is an a sad state! I designed it before I had kids and when I had an entire empty closet to keep all my clutter.  Fast forward to today - two small humans are born and they required I give up my closet.  As a result, my office has become the dumping ground.  Can anyone relate?

It's time for a room redo here but I've been putting it off  - mostly because of lack of time.  But I spend a good bit of my week in here and it's now driving me crazyyyyy!  As you can tell, I need a lot more storage.  (or maybe a marie kondo intervention?)

So I'm thinking my old Swedish friend Ikea will help me out here but I'm torn.  I'm liking all three of the these options but they are totally different and I can't decide. Which one are you feeling? Anyone have one of these units and want to opine?

In this corner is the good ol' Fjallkinge which you may have seen in such blogs as Studio MeGee, Young House Love and Lark & Linen.  Pretty fly for white guy.

Followed by the relative unknown Veberod.  I like it's rustic farmhousy vibe and how smaller units could mean I could be more flexible with them in future but I'm worried it might be too busy in the small space.

They are pretty different styles and I'd probably go a different direction with paint and accessories depending upon the pick.

What say you wise people of the interwebs? White clean lines or rustic metal + wood?

Slumber Birthday Party

Completely without my permission, Agatha turned five last month.  I wasn't really in the mood to do a giant party like we had for some of her other birthdays so I decided to do a small slumber party instead.  (Cue Stefan saying 'New York's hottest club is Slumber. It's got everything - tents, cake and twinkle lights')

Fabulous cake by Nikki Berry

Of course I wanted to make it extra special so I did add a few touches to warrant the occasion.  Furry sleeping mask invites, DIY lip balm making, a killer cake and tents with twinkle lights.

We set up four sleeping tents inside the house so the girls would get to all sleep together but have their own space.

The DIY lip balm kits were a big hit with the kids carefully selecting their scents and patiently waiting for it to harden.  Another huge hit was an Instax camera (kind of like an old Polaroid)  one of the girls gave Aggie as a gift - they all loved taking turns and photographing each other (and me, and the faucet and the chair, etc) After pizza and cake and lots of running around it was time to settle in for a movie before bedtime.

Much to my shock, they all hit the hay and actually slept like logs until the next morning. The kids had a blast and it was relatively easy to put together so a win on both counts.  I'll definitely be doing this again if she lets me.

Instax Camera
Mermaid Pillows
DIY Lip Balm Kits
Beanie Boo Slippers
Battery String Lights
Kid's Inflatable Mattress
Foldable Play Tent
Furry Sleep Masks

2017 in Review

I know everyone is ready to leave 2017 in the dusty rear view mirror but I'm a sucker for year in reviews so I have to do one.  2017 has been a bit of a exhausting year in a way that isn't as satisfying as the exhaustion of renovating or room makeovers.  I'm looking forward to a more energized 2018 but it's worth a look back.  Here are the highlights of 2017.

In January we celebrated Agatha turning 4 with an epic Beauty and the Beast Birthday party complete with extremely popular mimosa bar for the moms and dads. I will definitely be doing another one of those for a future party.

In February I got out the power tool and made this fun little diy bath caddy for all of us binge watchers.

I also had the opportunity to create this super girly mom nook for my bestie.

February also held the very new experience of having our house used tv production set .  Shortly thereafter I made my required blogger pilgrimage to Magnolia.

In April we took our first international family of 4 trip overseas to France hitting Euro Disney in the process.

In May I gave my dining room a refresh.

In June we did a major master bedroom makeover at our beach place. I love sleeping in here.

In July, we made a Gilligan Island style DIY Tiki Bar

I also shared this amazing hallway makeover complete with hand painted floor.

In August we celebrated Oscar's first birthday with an at home luau

This black and white bathroom I helped design was a fun one.

In September I shared this family room makeover I designed for a friend.

October was crazy busy. I gave my living room a refresh, I went to Cuba and of course I decorated for Halloween.

In November I started slow Christmas decorating and finished Oscar's baby book.

And December we had all kinds of holiday fun.

It was a very full year around here! Happy New Year!

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