decisions, decisions…

For Christmas I have asked Nick to make me a headboard for our bedroom. It’s something we’ve always been lacking and I figured if I asked for it as a Christmas present with December 25 as a deadline, it will finally get done :) Of course, I need to do my part and choose a fabric, and decisions are not my strong suit.

So far I have narrowed it down to three choices. Our walls are a neutral warm light “bray” (brown-gray), and our bedding is simple white with a dark teal stitched border detail.

1. Braemore Gazebo Cloud
2. Portfolio Capparis Spa
3. Portfolio Capparis Sunshine

If you’re a Young House Love reader, you probably recognize the first fabric — it’s what they used on their headboard, which ultimately inspired me to tackle make Nick tackle this project. It has “my” colors and it has a nice organic feel to it, so I was immediately drawn to it. But then the other two are a little more poppy and my style, although I’m not sure how they would look on a headboard.

What would your choice be? Are there any other fabrics out there you think I should see to make my decision even more difficult? :)

baby boy’s nursery inspiration

Thank you all so much for your comments on my last post. It didn’t feel right to talk about this pregnancy without acknowledging the last one, and it was really nagging at me. Now that it’s all out in the open, I feel like I can share more about our excitement and anticipation for this little guy to arrive!

When we moved into our new house in December, we knew right away which room would become the nursery someday. It’s small yet cozy, with hardwood floors and great natural light that streams in through its two windows. Our house is old, built in the 1930s, which means the closets are really awkward and small, but ironically enough the smallest bedroom has the best and most normal closet space — that means we’ll have lots of room for storing baby boy’s things since otherwise the room won’t allow for a ton of furniture.

I’ve been collecting ideas over the last several months, and I now have a great idea of what I want the room to look like. (I say “I” because Nick is a trooper who will pretty much go along with whatever I want when it comes to home decor. He’s a keeper.) While we don’t have the budget for all the items shown here, we have either found some great stand-ins at a lower price point or can use these inspiration items as our guide when looking for suitable substitutes.

1. These Are Things American Flags Map
Remember when I posted about this before? I simply couldn’t resist and I ordered it a few days later. We had only just found out I was pregnant with this little guy, but I knew that if everything worked out this time, it would be the perfect centerpiece for a nursery. Not super babyish, but adorably designed and pretty much the perfect color palette for my color-loving self. I knew it would work for either a boy or a girl’s room, given that I’m not super into the all-blue or all-pink look, and Nick and I both love cool maps so it was a no-brainer. I admit that when it arrived, I didn’t remove it from its tube for about two months because I thought I’d jinx the pregnancy — but behold, I finally took it out and it’s even more adorable in person. Now I just need to have it framed!

2. Dwell Mid-Century Dresser
We will most certainly not be spending $1,080 on this dresser, but we hope to find something similar with clean lines for holding baby’s necessities. As long as it will be large enough to hold a changing pad, I’m game, whether it comes from Ikea or, even better, something from a flea market that we can paint and make our own.

3. Ikea Raskog kitchen cart
Yup, this is a kitchen cart. But how perfect would it be for holding diapers, lotions, etc. next to the dresser-turned-changing-table? I’d like to see it in person before giving this a whirl, but let’s be honest — the color is screaming my name and for $49.99, it’s a given. Plus, I have a feeling that something on wheels could come in quite handy. (Thanks to Kristin for leading me to this!)

4. Little Castle Monaco II Glider
Oh, gliders. For the last few months I had my heart set on the perfect Klaussner Lacy Glider from Babies R Us — it was charcoal grey, had great reviews, and it was a great price point (I believe around $450? I can’t remember now). So of course, it would now be discontinued and unavailable at any Babies R Us throughout the country. This Little Castle Monaco II Glider in pebble gray with white piping also makes my heart sing, but it’s $659, which is a hard pill to swallow after our first choice was so much less (not to mention that the coordinating ottoman is another $269). There are other similar styles out there for reasonable prices, but they never seem to be available in gray, which is what I’m looking for. I’m now wondering (after asking my friend Susan for her expert advice) if we should find something vintage that we can reupholster and make truly our own for a smaller pricetag. We shall see.

5. Dwell Skyline bedding
Since we’re basing the room on the map print, this skyline bedding immediately seemed like the perfect fit for something that goes with a sort of travel/exploring theme without being too matchy-matchy. Many a mom has told me not to bother getting a complete bedding set, so we plan on getting just a crib skirt and this coordinating play blanket to bring in the adorable skyline pattern, while sticking with a good ol’ inexpensive, solid colored crib sheet.

6. Benjamin Moore Robin’s Nest
I have been hooked on this nursery for quite a while now, so when it came time to choose a paint color for our own nursery, I went straight back to the photos and details to find that the wall color was Robin’s Nest by Benjamin Moore. I bought a pint of it last week and Nick and I both fell in love with it as soon as he painted some test swatches. Easiest painting decision ever (as I’ve been known to make painting decisions somewhat painful in the past).

7. Oeuf Classic Crib
My expensive taste strikes again! This gorgeous crib from Oeuf is just perfect, but the $940 price tag is a bit much. Fortunately, the Baby Mod Olivia 3-in-1 crib from Walmart is a pretty great substitute, and only $269, so we’ll be going that route. As a bonus, it converts into a toddler bed or daybed later.

8. Blabla Mini-Pierre the Bunny
He’s simply adorable. That is all.

9. Target Yellow Flocked Lamp Shade
We already have a nice standing lamp that we can sit alongside the glider, so I’d love to find a colorful lampshade in one of our accent colors. This yellow would add the perfect pop, and of course I love a contrasting pattern thrown in.

10. White Shag Rug
I’m not dead-set on any particular rug, but I have always loved the look of something soft and cozy in a nursery. I’m not sure if white shag would necessarily be the best choice for a baby’s room, but we’ll see what we can find!

11. Sol Linero Alphabet Print
I bookmarked this almost two years ago from design work life and it just so happens that the colors coordinate perfectly with the map print and bedding. It’s fate. Our little guy needs to learn his ABCs, but of course he also needs to learn about good design! This would be an excellent place to start.

a pop of red

I’ve been excited to decorate our new place… yet terrified at the same time. I’ve never felt like I have a knack for decorating like I do designing something on a page. Committing to a piece of furniture makes me a nervous wreck. I gravitate towards colors and patterns and usually buy things accordingly, but then I get them home and realize they’re not right for the space, way too loud, or have no relationship to anything else in the space. More often than not, I am tired of it in five minutes and regret making such bold choices.

I’m trying a new approach where I set some guidelines for myself, don’t buy anything impulsively, and if I see something that looks bold and awesome — I realllllly think about it (and usually end up realizing it’s too much and I need to scale it back a bit). So far, so good.

For the walls, I fell in love with Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue… but then, after painting a handful of test swatches throughout the first floor and upstairs hallway (which would all eventually be painted the same color), I realized it was waaaaayy too much blue. After a few more Goldilocks trials and errors — you know, this one’s too bold, this one’s too boring, etc. — I landed upon Sherwin Williams Sea Salt, a muted grayish blueish green (that’s the technical description). It was perfect.

We already have charcoal grey couches which will stay, along with a coffee table that Nick made, but we need some other pieces to tie everything together… and that’s where I get stuck.

Enter: Design*Sponge At Home by Grace Bonney, editor of the Design*Sponge blog. I got a copy of this book a few months ago when I attended a signing at Terrain (Grace was super nice, by the way!), and it has become my decorating bible as of late. I love that pretty much all of the sneak peeks featured in the book are far from what you’d call matchy-matchy, yet they still have a very pulled together look despite being very eclectic. So many of them speak to me and remind me why I’ve never been drawn to buying matching sets of furniture.

In deciding how to decorate the downstairs of our new home, I looked for rooms in the book that had similar wall colors to Sea Salt, and just rooms that I generally liked. After browsing a handful of pages one afternoon, it struck me that so many rooms had one great thing in common: amidst calming neutrals, there was often a distinct pop of red that stood out as a focal point, and really tied the room together. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few rooms found on Design*Sponge (the blog this time):

image 1 // image 2 // image 3 // image 4

Coincidentally, a lovely friend also gave us a gorgeous red cast iron trivet as a housewarming gift, and I was sold. Pops of red — yes! Why didn’t I think of it sooner?

Thus, our color palette was born: mostly warm neutrals, with pops of teal (I mean, I’m still me, after all) and fire engine red. It looks pretty subdued to me here, but I think that’s a good sign that I won’t get sick of it in five minutes.

I’m thinking a red statement lamp would be perfect sitting atop this pedestal end table that was my nana’s and just came to live with us over the weekend:

We have yet to hang anything on the walls and I’m sure many more colors will come into play then — but having this new red revelation has me excited to decorate so it looks like grownups live here. Grownups who have an eclectic yet pulled-together style.

What’s your decorating method?

lived in

As we started packing up our lives to fit in a UHaul, I realized I didn’t have any recent photos of our apartment. Before the boxes get out of control (they’ve mostly been living in the second bedroom thus far), I decided to document the place I’ve called home for the last seven years. Nick moved in five years ago, and we’ve made changes over the years, but for the most part things haven’t changed too much. I painted the living room walls just before I moved in and they’ve remained the same Benjamin Moore Pale Sea Mist ever since. (I still love the color and I’m not ruling out using it on every wall somewhere in our new place.)

Here’s a peek at our living room, where we spend most of our downtime. This is a view from the entrance to the room, off of the main hallway in the apartment. (PS, I want a fancy camera, but for now, these shots taken with my point-and-shoot will have to do!)

On the wall are four letterpress prints from Old School Stationers, and through those French doors is my office, which you’ve seen before.
Continue reading

pinned: dreamy kitchens

My self-imposed ban on is going surprisingly well…but of course that doesn’t mean I haven’t continued collecting inspiration and ideas for our future home. I’ve been cataloging everything on Pinterest, and below are just a few of my favorite kitchen decor pins.

aqua island via Apartment Therapy

glass tile and open shelving via Young House Love

open & airy white kitchen with dark hardwood floors via Best Kitchen

green and white kitchen via House Beautiful

terrariums at Terrain

(Say that five times fast!)

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen that I attended a terrarium workshop at Terrain yesterday. I’ve long been intrigued by terrariums but have always had an extremely black thumb, so I was hesitant to spend money on something I’d likely end up killing. The good thing about terrariums is that they require very little maintenance, though, so I gave it a whirl. (It’s day two and my terrarium still looks good, so my fingers are crossed that this is a fool-proof type of gardening for me! ;)

My friend Susan joined me for the workshop, which lasted two hours in the greenhouse. Instruction and potting materials were included in the $15 fee; we were able to choose our own glass vessels and plants from Terrain, which we paid for at the end of the workshop. Susan thought ahead and brought her own vessel:

I went with a tall cylinder for mine. I started out thinking I’d use the copper base underneath and flip the glass over to be a closed terrarium (as shown), but once I started playing around I changed my mind.

That cardboard box contains all of the plants I grabbed inside the store to possibly use in my terrarium. We were encouraged to grab as many as we wanted so we’d have some options when we started creating. Whatever we didn’t use would go back into the store and we didn’t have to pay for it.

We started out by adding gravel (above), and then adding small bits of activated charcoal and mixing everything together. This is a good base in the bottom that will absorb extra moisture so my plants are never drowning. Then we added potting soil on top — I have about 2″ worth because of the plants I chose. After that, it was all about having fun and creating a lovely little environment for some plants.

I ended up only using three of the plants I had originally chosen, and I also added some rocks, moss, and dried flower buds to give things a bit more color and texture. I am so pleased with the final result, and Susan’s came out beautifully, too!

I will have to water each plant (about a shot-glass worth of water for each one) about every 8-10 days. It will thrive most if it is in bright, indirect light, so I currently have it sitting on my desk where I get a lot of natural light throughout the day. It’s also nice to see it there while I work!

I’ll keep you posted if I manage to kill the plants or if, like I’m hoping, everything stays alive and well.

Have you ever made a terrarium?

All images by Susan