Family Room Makeover

As much as I love living in Brooklyn, there are certain things I can envy from afar.  One of those things is a dedicated family room in addition to a real living room. (In our house, the living room serves as family, tv watching and playroom all rolled into one.)  So when my friend asked for some help to redecorate hers, of course I was all aboard.

There is a lot to love in this space.  Aside from all this extra space, there is also great light streaming in from the wall of windows as well as a working fireplace.  That all came with the room yet it didn't feel quite as cozy in the before.

This is the space where the family gathers every evening and enjoys time with each other so naturally comfort was a big factor.  That big cozy sectional seats everyone, invites snuggly conversations and still faces the tv when a little bit of family boob tube is in order.

Space layout here is a challenge because it has several focus areas which can make it feel a bit disjointed.  Those drapes hung high make a huge difference in bringing some uniformity onto the window wall and softening the edges.

The family used inexpensive ikea frames to display favorite family photos on the mantle wall which helps balance out that side of the room as well. The homeowner found several vintage pieces - the large buffet used as a media center and the round coffee table to paint and make her own.

I really love how it turned out and I know she does too! What do you think?

Fall Dining Room

Last week's cool weather totally got me in the fall mood.  Even though I don't decorate the house for fall generally (Halloween is enough of a handful for me!), sometimes the mood just strikes me to make a few seasonal changes.  Makes it a lot more fun to use a space when it has something new to look at, don't you think?

The centerpiece is an arrangement of craft pumpkins set on wood slice chargers, spotted feathers (raided from Aggie's art cart) are tucked into cotton stems.  The whole look is finished with chunky wood candle sticks and a ticking stripe runner.

Bring on the sweater weather! Who is with me?

Oscar Turns One | First Birthday Luau

Oscar is now a full fledged one year old boy.  On one hand that seems impossible, wasn't I just writing this post? Weren't we just decorating his nursery? Wasn't I just sending these birth announcements? On the other, this year has been soooo long in many respects.  Juggling two kids and a full time job (along with this blog I do in my "spare time") has been hard.  I knew it was going to be hard and I am so lucky in so many ways so I don't want this to read as a whine.  I'm just a tiny bit more tired than I used to be. (How do you moms with 6 kids do it?  Seriously HOW!?)  I'm trying to adjust to letting certain things go and just trying to enjoy all of the joys of this life right now but that is hard for me.  It's a battle of my inner nature versus my common sense. Which is stronger?

So when Oscar's birthday was approaching, we wanted to do something to celebrate but not make it too nuts.  His August birthday seemed to jive perfectly with a Luau themed celebration so that's what we did.  ( I know, I know. You are seeing pumpkins and sweaters on every other blog right now but come on - its still August!)

We made this tiki bar along with a giant vat of pineapple punch (which was a huge hit!), put up the tackiest decorations known to man, ordered an amazing tiki themed cake, and had someone play the ukulele.  I think the party was a hit and everyone had a lot of fun so I'm glad we did it - if nothing more than to mark the next phase of our lives as we transition out of baby things and into bigger adventures.  Who else needs a nap?

Keys are for Suckers | Smart Lock Upgrade

Time for a small confession: I don't like change. I'm one of those 'if it ain't broken, don't fix it types. I was one of the last people to get a cell phone, I don't gravitate toward gadgets or tech innovation and I don't like watching television on my computer. I could give you a longer list but let's just say, I'm part Amish. So when it comes to implementing technological advances in my home, I usually shy away. Not so shocking when you think of my love of old homes and vintage furniture I suppose - the old way can sometimes be the better way. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong generation!

But there are some rare cases of a truly better mousetrap. It just takes one little crack in the facade to see the light.  Case in point, we installed the Schlage Sense deadbolt at our shore place and I

Keyless Lock

I had been thinking of replacing our standard deadbolt with a keyless deadbolt for years but now we have finally done it, it's such a huge convenience. The advantages are many - especially in a vacation home.
  • No longer having to carry a key to the beach preventing the whole "hide the key in a shoe" game. Nope, criminals will never figure out our genius hiding place!
  • Never having to make a copy of a key again. Sorry local hardware store.
  • Being able to give friends and family their own unique codes (and being able to turn them on and off at will)
  • Being able to give temporary codes as needed to the occasional plumber or condo inspection
  • Never being locked out again because you forgot your key (no, that never happens to me - my mind is a steel trap!)
  • Schlage Sense has a keyed option (although I don't plan on ever using that - keys are for suckers)

Schlage Sense Keyless Deadbolt

So what took me so long? Well, I was worried it would be difficult to install (I was wrong - it installed with a screwdriver), I was worried it wouldn't be secure (wrong again - it meets the highest industry rating for security), I was concerned it wouldn't work with our less than stellar Wi-Fi signal (no issue here because it uses Bluetooth, not Wi-Fi). So essentially I was worried about absolutely nothing and I'm so pleased I got over my fears and went ahead and joined the modern age.

Schlage Sense Keyless Lock Set

What about you?  Does new technology scare you off or peak your interest?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Schlage. The opinions and text are all mine.


Small Space, Big Style Bathroom Makeover

A builder's basic bathroom gets a fresh facelift with shiplap, graphic black and white tiles and and a few industrial accents.

Ready for another impressive before an after? I shared a friend's living and dining transformation last week that just took a little bit of shopping to accomplish. This makeover involved just a tiny bit more work but it's so worth it!

black and white bathroom renovation

Let's take a look at the before. Perfectly functional but needed a style upgrade.

She kept the toilet and the pedestal and put most of her hard work/budget into the floors and the walls. She added texture by planking all 4 walls and painting a bright white. (She used birch plywood sheets in place of traditional shiplap but it looks just as good as the real deal) Then she added contrast with this cement tile like ceramic floor that is a total showstopper. All of that white is totally grounded by the black pattern.

New lighting was key because this bathroom gets no natural light. A new round mirror really softened all the hard edges in this space. Finally she made some decorative swaps with the mirror, towel wrack and shelves. My jellyfish print was the perfect finishing touch if I do say so myself!

I totally love what she did - fresh and updated and making the most of the small space. What do you think?

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