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make over my house: the big reveal!

{Editor’s Note: Welcome to installment #4 in my home design recap! I’ve teamed up with some truly amazing sponsors, including Manor Fine Wares, Rugs USA and woonwinkel home, to turn this big empty space into something really special. In case you’re behind, check out the rest of the series right here.}

Friends, it’s time!! Are you ready to see the finished product?

Chairs (and here) / Lamp / Clock, c.o woonwinkel home / Rug, c.o Rugs USA

Ta-da! This is the view as you walk in the front door – remember those drawings from my lookbook? Pretty spot-on, isn’t it? Except that instead of that delicious (and sorely out of budget) round mirror, I opted for one I found at HomeGoods for $39. And instead of a plant (which died almost immediately upon entering my house), I decided a side chair would have a longer life span in that corner.

Pay particular attention to a few of my favorite things, including my fabulous new green lamp (it’s called the Melon lamp, which makes me love it even more), and that beyond-fab Moroccan souk rug from Rugs USA. It’s like walking around on a giant Ugg slipper. Also, the pups are crazy for it – they think we got them an 8×10 dog bed. Rugs threatened to be a major budget obstacle for this project, but the pricing at Rugs USA was outstanding, the shipping was free, and I absolutely could not be happier with the quality. (Tip: they have coupons all the time, so sign up for their emails and you’ll score a serious steal.)

Reclaimed barn wood coffee table
/ Chevron pillows / Whale pillow / Poufs

This is the view from the fireplace. Yay, gratuitous pillows! Husbands love gratuitous pillows. Mostly, I love the magical way those chevron pillows make the entire room work. The fabric and the color palette pull everything together instantly. They’re definitely what you’d classify as a splurge (or an act of madness), but truly, the room wasn’t nearly as good without them – I couldn’t believe the difference when I tried to take them out. So, I swallowed my yuppie guilt.

Art: Michele Maule, Jen Garrido, Nick Hlobeczy

A close-up of some of the detail on those beautiful cabinets. The gallery wall is all my own art, including two custom puppy portraits by the amazingly talented and patient Michele Maule. That awesome-sauce clock? You’ll be hearing more about it next week when I give you an up-close peek at some of my favorite details in the room. But it’s from woonwinkel home, and I’m obsessed. Talk about not your grandmother’s mantle clock! I love the dose of clean, modern simplicity it brings to the room.

Lamps / Console Table / Yellow bowl, c.o woonwinkel & Pigeon Toe Ceramics /
Zigzag runner (a steal!), dining table & pendant light, call Manor to order / Jute rug
, c.o Rugs USA

I promised myself that I would have an IKEA-free home, but honestly, after searching high and low (the biggest understatement of all time), this sleek white desk was the perfect size to live behind the sofa, and I love the modern edge it brings to the room. Truly, I think this might be my favorite spot in the whole house. Love the poufs, love the navy lamps, love the yellow bowl filled with jelly beans (another awesome piece from woonwinkel)…the whole thing is very, very me.

The dining room was especially tricky, but Shannon worked some serious magic by choosing a long, narrow table (this one’s made of recycled tires!), which worked wonders for opening up the space. That super-soft jute rug from Rugs USA warms up the room and keeps it from going too industrial. It also ties in all of the other rugs in the space. It can be hard to connect multiple smaller rugs in one room, but by changing up the textures and keeping the palette neutral, I think they play off each other perfectly.

The chairs belonged to my last table – yay for not replacing everything! And that light fixture. I kicked and screamed over that. Not enough light, I said! Try candles, Shannon said, ever so calmly. She was right…it’s a stunner.

And just because I can’t resist a photo with my beloved tiger, the Brigadier General, here’s a nicely-styled bench in the living room:

Everything you see was already mine, except that basket underneath, which I was convinced a snake would jump out of at any moment, so I sent it back. Incidentally, the hubs thought I should point out here all of the different ways we’ve displayed art throughout the rooms. I’m not sure it’s so much “displayed” as “haven’t gotten around to hanging,” but I like his enthusiasm.

So? What’s the verdict? Are you as in love as I am? Swooning heartily encouraged, friends. And stay tuned…next week, I’ll show off all the little details that make the space special, give you some of Shannon’s top-secret styling tips, and share a few key things I’ve learned during this project that you’ll definitely want to file away for your next reno.

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make over my house: the lookbook

{Editor’s Note: As I mentioned last week, I’ve teamed up with one of my absolute favorite home stores, Manor Fine Wares, and a few other wonderful sponsors you’ll be hearing about, to complete a total redesign of my main living areas.}

As I told you all last week, when I moved into my new house, I needed serious help transforming it into the light, airy, clean space I had in mind. Luckily, the amazing people at Manor Fine Wares came to my rescue!

I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I first met with Shannon (my designer extraordinaire) – after all, I’d never had a design consultation. So, I came armed with lots of adjectives about what I wanted (and didn’t want) the space to be, color preferences and loads of photos.

What actually happened? She walked into the room, and immediately said “Yeah, this isn’t working, is it?” and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Sadly the biggest offender in the new space was my beloved bird chair (you can see it in the “before” pics). I positively adore that chair, but it was taking over the room in the new house. Shannon’s immediate reaction made it clear: the birds had to go.

Next, it was time to talk about musts. What furniture has to stay? Well, the sofa…because I’m too cheap to replace it, and I love it. And my secretary desk/china hutch in the dining space. And a few pieces of art that I could never part with. But beyond that, I was flexible. And what is a “must have” in the new space? The husband’s recliner…he’s a miserable mope without it. Also, said recliner must face the television. Marriage/life lesson: some battles just aren’t worth fighting.

Beyond that, we talked more about mood and feel than specifics – I told Shannon that my last place had been cozy and filled with books, knickknacks and bright art, with color and clutter everywhere. This time, I wanted a clean slate. Something soothing to my eyes, very little visual clutter, even less color, and a light, airy feel. Urban beach house, without the cheesy ocean-themed accessories, I told her.

And this is what she gave me (click the arrows to see the full lookbook):

Pretty wonderful, right? (I’m especially in love with that souk rug from Rugs USA) One of the biggest challenges in this space for me was layout. I was really resisting the traditional placement of the dining table (it felt like a huge blockade when you walked in the door), had no idea what to do with the alcoves on either side of the fireplace, and was stumped by which direction the couch should face. Shannon solved every problem. And honestly, just having that voice of authority to tell me this was the solution was pretty priceless.

I’d have never, ever come up with those chests of drawers flanking the fireplace. And it would have taken me ages to realize that my round dining table was never going to work in this space. But Shannon just knew…and saved me months of agonizing over what would have made this room work.

Plus, take note: not all of the pieces in that lookbook are from Manor. My budget precluded the full-on, high-end design orgy I had in mind. My total budget for the project (yep, I’ll just tell you) was $7,000. Not cheap, certainly, but not even a drop in the bucket compared to most design clients. But Shannon didn’t balk. She went to West Elm. She went to Cost Plus. She went to Rugs USA. And she found pieces that blended seamlessly with her picks from Manor.

Next week? A little Q&A session with Ms. Shannon, where we’ll nab all of her best design secrets! Stay tuned.

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friday finds / happy fourth!

Happy Friday, friends! This is an especially lovely Friday for me…it’s been a busy, busy month here, and I need some R&R. So, I’ve decided to give myself a little “staycation” next week. That’s the problem with a holiday falling on a Wednesday: it all but requires this kind of drastic action. So, I’ll be MIA here in blogtown, but I have no doubt I’ll be unable to completely detach, so if you get lonely, hang with me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or even Instagram. I’m everywhere, people…just like Starbucks.

With that, a few of my favorite finds this week!

I love a good West Elm party, and they’re having a great one tomorrow. The Portland store is having a “Dog Days of Summer” bash – bring your dog, donate some food or treats to the Pixie Project (an amazing doggie nonprofit), and you’ll get a free pro pic of your pup. Meet me there! Oh, and if you’re not in Portland, don’t fear – other stores are having their own awesome fetes as well.

Claudia Pearson doggie plates, $16 (yep, totally need these)

You know by now that I’m not exactly the eco-friendly type. But I got the sweetest email from the owner of a very stylish green boutique called Future:Standard, to let me know that her entire site is 20% off this weekend with code sb1120. She has some pretty fantastic pieces, eco or no…a few of my faves:

Scalloped denim shorts, Covet, $50 / Kingston dress, Koch, $142 / Dean Tee, Toggery, $44

I have a longstanding love of Russian nesting dolls, or matryoshka (if you can spell it) Something about the bright colors, insane amounts of detail, and all that tinyness manages to appeal to my creative side and my Type A personality. So when I spotted these adorable stacking matryoshka necklaces, I let loose a tiny little squeal. Am I too old for them? Maybe. Am I still dying for one? Absolutely. I’d put the whole family on one 22″ silver chain…or, even better, a charm bracelet!

I got my copy of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale catalog this week…and friends, it is good. My favorite pick so far? Those Rag & Bone Newbury boots you’ve seen on every. single. celebrity. They have a black suede edition for $299, which is an amazing price (they retail for $495, and almost never go on sale). Keep your eyes out for those bad boys…presale starts 7/11, but you know I’ll give you my annual picks list before then 🙂

And speaking of new social media, I’m going to give you a little Instagram goodness today instead of a Pinterest pick. I recently got the most gorgeous rugs from Rugs USA as part of my insane home overhaul. I’m head over heels for them…and so are my pups, who think my new Moroccan souk rug is one giant dog bed. Happy dogs, happy life. Or something.

I think they should hire her to do all their modeling, don’t you?

That’s it for me! Have a fabulous weekend and a happy Fourth, everyone…I’ll see you back here in a week!

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