Second Floor Makeover

We recently worked with a local client who was interested in having her entire second floor redone. One half of the second floor was a den/office and the other a beautiful large guest bedroom. We loved the space in both of the rooms, and having the freedom to really do what we felt was best was one of the things we loved most about this job. The other things we loved were their incredibly adorable dog, their passion and pride for their favorite college team, and the incredibly energetic spirit that our client had – we could not have been happier working with her!

I think the biggest challenges of this job were:
– Working within a very tight budget
– Finding a way to display all of their sports memorabilia without the room feeling cluttered
– Working in furniture pieces that had special emotional significance while incorporating new pieces

While those were the biggest challenges, they were also what made this job so unique and special, and we think that working within guidelines actually forces you to be more creative and think more about all of the different options and ways to make the spaces beautiful. We are always saying that designing and decorating your space should really be a reflection of you and what’s important to you – and incorporating those furniture pieces and objects that hold special meaning for you is important to us, because we know how much that means to our clients.

Here’s a glimpse at the spaces before we got to work:
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And here’s a look when we were done:

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Before we started, you can see that the rooms were full of furniture and were dark and not very inviting. Our amazing client took the time to declutter and decide what pieces were important to her and then turn things over to us. I think our first thought was to lighten up the den/office by painting that end wall with the window, but our client wanted to keep the wood and in the end – I’m really glad we did. I think the warmth it gives the room now is so cozy and beautiful. It’s a room that makes you want to curl up with a blanket and watch Netflix and chill the entire weekend. The bedroom is such a large gorgeous room that once it was decluttered a bit, our job was easy. Change the mood with a really pale blue, trim the window in white, put down a lighter color rug and add some beautiful side lamps. We think it’s such a dreamy space now. We love it.

This project was so much fun for us. We can’t stay enough wonderful things about our client and this family. We are so grateful.

Rooms We Love

For us, interior decorating is about putting pieces together to create a space that invites you to relax and be yourself. Sometimes that means finding perfect, brand-new items that reflect your style, but sometimes it means spending hours in antique stores and second-hand shops looking for that one perfect item that carries its history with it. Something unique, and crafted in such a way that you can almost sense the time and care that went into making it, and we really love that.

We have quite a few antique shops and second-hand stores in our area and we can spend hours there just wandering around and looking at all of the amazing things you can find. I’m really partial to mid-century objects and furniture, and really tend to be drawn to “natural” items like rattan, bamboo, and bohemian design. Hannah really loves rustic, farmhouse, and traditional items.

We were so thrilled that a room we’d put together was featured recently in Dwell magazine’s “Rooms We Love” issue. Not only do we absolutely love the space we created, but every item featured was  found and purchased at a second-hand store or an antique shop in our area. None of them were purchased together, and none were “meant” to go together, but they all just….. work.

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We’d love to help you find those special pieces for your home, and create a space that allows you to really be yourself. Let us know how we can help, and thank you, Dwell!!

 

Home Decor For You & Your Four Legged Friends!

Living with pets can be both a blessing and a curse. They are the joy of your life, but they also tend to ruin your home! If you have a dog like my precious Paisley (one of our fabulous design assistants), she meticulously goes to her toy basket, picks out a toy, leaves it in one corner of the house and goes back for more, not to mention the million pieces of food and water puddles I find laying around. I am getting off topic. As much as I love her, I have an obsessive need for my home to look clean and put together. That does not include dog toys spread across the floor or a chewed up dog bed. It does however mean pretty patterned dog beds (one for upstairs and one for downstairs), patterned crate covers, white ceramic dog bowls, paisley patterned toy storage baskets, paw printed dog care storage basket, food storage that doesn’t look like it belongs in a jail cell and many more. And yes, sometimes you HAVE to compromise, like when the Star Wars treat jar mysteriously appeared in my home.

Having a pet doesn’t need to ruin the decor of your home! Make it fun and work for both you & your precious pet!

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Check out the links below for some of my favorite pet friendly home items!susie-pet-bed-3517Susie Pet Bed – $30

evapetbed%2curbanpawEva Pet Bed – $37dory-pet-feeder-eecyDory Pet Feeder – $23

woofington-large-pink-treat-jar-33406Pink Treat Jar – $44

king-charles-36-ounce-dog-canister-w5an83rKing Charles 36 oz. Dog Jar – $26

 

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Personalized Dog Treat Jar by Susabellas on Etsy – $30

 

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Jersey Ridgeland Blue/Laken Crate Cover by BowWowBeds on Etsy – $58 to $100

 

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Dog Leash Holder by WiscoFarms on Etsy – $40

il_570xn-433454902_28rpDog Bed Cover by thefoggydog on Etsy – $30 to $75

If you need help finding some home & pooch friendly items…Contact us today! We’d love to help!

88 Days until Christmas!

We hope you were sitting down for that. We know that some of you can’t handle that kind of news coming out of nowhere.

christmas-in-lemont-i-bought-maple-syrup_22896656594_oFor us, the holidays are everything. Sure we love summer and sunshine, and picnics, but fall and winter? All curled up in sweaters and sweatpants with our puppies by our side? It’s hard to beat. The scent of perfect fall candles wafting through your home, beef stew on the stove, wearing your favorite sweaters and boots….. ahhhhh. It’s our time.

We’re already thinking about holiday decorating and with only eighty-eight days until the big guy comes down that chimney, time is wasting! I’m really partial to vintage decorations – glass ornaments, wooden German ornaments that used to belong to my grandparents, a styrofoam Santa head that my entire family thinks is possessed (it’s not)… pretty much anything that invokes a positive memory for me is fair game for my holiday decorating. Hannah tends to be partial to whites, creams, golds, and traditional holiday colors. Her decorating is beautiful.

my-hgtvhomevintageholiday-photo-i-found-the-santa-from-my-childhood_15319550884_oAs a child growing up, we had an artificial tree. As an adult, I switched to a real tree. The whole tradition of going out and choosing the tree, cutting it down, taking it home on the top of the car… I loved that. The reality is, though, that almost every year it was really us going to the tree farm, pointing at the closest tree, cutting that down, heading back home, and then forgetting to water the tree as much as we should and having all of the needles fall off the day after Christmas. A few years ago, we went to get our tree and all of the trees were covered in a thick layer of ice and in that moment I decided to get an artificial tree. I said that if we were getting a fake tree, it was going to be blatantly, obviously, a VERY fake tree – none of this “realistic artificial tree” stuff for me. We came home with a WHITE tree that was $35 from Wal-Mart. I embraced it and even bought colored lights for it (something I had never had on my tree). Several years later – I still love that tree. The colored lights make it look almost pink when it’s lit up, and putting colored vintage ornaments all over it just makes me happy.

As you can see, we really love decorating and we really love the holidays. If you need help with your holiday decorating… you know who to call.

 

Grouting: My Way

There’s something you should know about me – until this past week, I’d never grouted tile. I’ve INSTALLED tile, but I’ve never grouted it.

My husband and I have owned five houses now, and in two of those houses we installed tile backsplashes and then sold the house before we actually got around to grouting the tile. Apparently our buyers didn’t mind, but it bugged me every time I looked at it. I think I was intimidated by grouting. I think the need to buy special tools and make a mess just made me avoid it completely. I’m not a fan of messy things. I like tidy. I like neat. I’m a little obsessive about it.

My husband and I bought our current house a little over two years ago and one of our first major projects was to knock out a wall and open up the kitchen to the living room. We had a small galley kitchen that was closed off and made me feel like I couldn’t breathe. kitchen1

So one day we grabbed a hammer and opened up that wall, and the big project began.

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As part of that project, I went to one of my favorite local places, our Habitat for Humanity ReStore. This place is so awesome. It’s filled with things that people have donated from home improvement projects, or items that just aren’t needed or wanted anymore and it’s filled with furniture, tile, sinks, toilets, appliances, flooring, lighting – you name it. I was so excited to find two boxes of white subway tile when I was there – each box was $7.00, and it was plenty to do a tile backsplash in my kitchen! It wasn’t until weeks later when I was laying the tile out to figure out how I wanted to install it that I realized that not all of the tile was glossy like I thought it was – some of it was unglazed, rough tile. I was a little disappointed but figured it was fine and would give the backsplash some texture. I got all the tile cut and installed (two firsts for me) and I was so pleased with myself that I was ready to tackle grouting. Until I put on the first swipe of grout and realized that my unglazed tiles SOAKED UP THE GROUT and it would not wipe off. I completely freaked out and started scraping the grout off with my FINGERNAILS to get it off the tiles. I got most of it off and then reminded myself that grouting is not my thing. It’s not something I do, and clearly this was why.

I did some research and learned that there’s a product called “Grout Release” that you can paint onto unglazed tile that will prevent the grout from sticking to it. I decided to buy it and try again. I bought it, painted all the unglazed tiles with it and then proceeded to procrastinate for approximately 9 months before attempting to grout again. Which brings us to last week.

This past weekend, my sister and I threw a 50th Anniversary party for my parents and hosted it at my house. Leading up to this party I had a VERY long list of projects I wanted to complete before opening my house to everyone. On that list was grouting the tile backsplash. I was so busy and had so much to do that I didn’t even flinch when I went to Lowe’s and bought premixed white grout. I knew I already had the tools I needed to do it so I was ready. I took a few days off work to crank out these projects and get ready for the party and it was time to grout. And yet I still couldn’t find the confidence motivation to do it. I couldn’t find the tools (I can’t even talk to you about what a disaster my garage is at the moment), and toyed with the idea of just leaving it ungrouted. Again.

But I didn’t.

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I used my hands. I dug my fingers into that bucket of grout and I put that grout on those tiles and EMBRACED it. I embraced the fact that those unglazed tiles would absorb it and become rough. I embraced the fact that I didn’t need any stupid “official” tool to grout when I had my own hands that could do it. I embraced the mess. I embraced my confidence at just going for it. And you know what? It looks amazing. I love it.

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I’m slightly disappointed in myself for feeling intimidated for so long, but I’m even more empowered now because I learned that just because everyone tells you that something has to be done a certain way – you don’t have to believe it. You find your own way, you do your own thing.

-Shannon

Get to Know Us – Part 2

Name: Hannah
Education: Bachelor’s degree from Penn State in Advertising with a minor in Business & Liberal Arts
Style: Transitional, Rustic, Farmhouse, Industrial

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Favorite movie: The Blind Side and Legally Blonde, they both give me all the feels!

Favorite things to do: My favorite thing to do is shop, specifically at Home Goods, but really anywhere! As a soon to be licensed real estate agent in the area, I spend a lot of time searching for homes that I can dream about one day flipping. I also enjoy spending time with my family, boyfriend (David) and my puppy Paisley. She eats up a lot of my time, but is so so so worth it! Look at that face – How could you not want to spend every waking moment with her?!

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For me, starting this business is exciting and scary! It’s something my mom and I have always talked about doing, but always came up with reasons not to. We finally said, “Why not?” and took the plunge! I wasn’t one of those kids who knew at 13 years old what path they were going to take and the job they wanted to have. Although I did know a couple things, I sucked at math and science and I was somewhat artsy and loved interior design. Fast forward a bit, I attended Penn State where they didn’t have a major option that encompassed those passions (In hindsight, I probably should have attended elsewhere, even though I got a fantastic education and loved it. We Are!) I decided to combine my Penn State education with an internship at an interior design firm based out of Atlanta, GA, Miko + Boone Home. (If you are located in the Atlanta area, check them out! Best group of women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.) From that experience, I fell head over heels in love with this industry and interior decorating and ta-da, here I am!

Get to know Us – Part 1

Name: Shannon
Education: Bachelor’s degree from Penn State, graduate coursework in New Media Art
Style: Vintage, Mid-Century Modern, Bohemian, Hand-crafted items

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Favorite Movie: Under the Tuscan Sun. It may not be an Academy Award winning film, but it’s my dream.
Favorite Things To Do: Scouring antique stores for vintage items, rearranging rooms, building things, operating power tools, playing with my dog Charles (who is also one of our design assistants, by the way), and enjoying every minute with my husband and kids.

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I am so excited to start this business. Growing up, my grandfather had a workshop in the basement of his house, and I still remember the table saw and the piles of sawdust underneath it, the small glass jars filled with nails and screws with the tops screwed into a shelf, and the heavy red bench vise attached to the side of his workbench. I remember my Dad constantly rearranging the furniture in our house, and building a custom closet in our bedroom for me and my sister. I remember my grandmother baking and cooking every day, and I feel so fortunate to have grown up right across the street. All of those things are “home” to me, and are things I treasure.

So, what *exactly* is it that you do?

We’ve had several people congratulate us on our new business, and we are so thankful for all of the well-wishes and support. We know such nice people! We’ve also had a few people say “so, what exactly is it that you do?”, so we thought we’d take a minute and describe it.

We are interior decorators and stylists. The short version is that we help you love your space, and make things look beautiful. Living room, bedroom, office, patio – you name it. Feel like things are cluttered? Tired of that bachelor pad featuring milk crate bookshelves? Stressed out by trying to decide what color you should paint the living room? We can help you with all of those things.

We love decorating, we love design, and we love trying new things just to see what happens and learn from it. Our styles are similar and yet different, and we’re great listeners so learning about you and your lifestyle are key for us in creating a space that you’ll love. We’re down to earth, budget-conscious, and we really enjoy what we do. Basically, we’re living what we love, and we want to help you do the same thing with your space.

 

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Framing In the TV

A kitchen remodel project left us with nowhere to put our TV in the living room. We pretty much considered every option but the only real place for it would have been directly across the room from the fireplace and that’s a big no-no. You should never have two focal points competing with each other. So that meant that we were going to mount the TV over the fireplace. I’d read some pretty serious arguments against doing that, but I ignored them all. When I decide I’m doing something, that’s pretty much that.

The first thing we had to do was figure out how we were going to mount the tv. I found some mounting hardware in Target for about $100, online at Amazon for about $30, and in an aisle in Lowe’s on sale for $7.95. Not kidding. I know – I couldn’t believe it either, but it was rated to support a TV even bigger than ours and for eight dollars I was willing to give it a try. The challenge was that the TV (obviously) needed to be centered over the fireplace and of course the studs were NOT centered. My solution to this was to cut two 2×4 boards to center above the fireplace, and screw those boards into the studs, then mount the TV hardware – centered – onto those boards. This plan worked like a charm, but then looked completely ridiculous with two boards sticking out from behind the TV.

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So… now we had to figure out how to cover that up and make it look pretty. We ended up using a large piece of plywood cut to fit the width and height and then we used our jigsaw to cut a hole in the center of the plywood board that would create an opening for the mounting bracket and electrical outlet above the bracket. Easy peasy.

We had Lowe’s cut the plywood to the dimensions (because we don’t have our table saw set up yet, the garage is a disaster), and we picked out some thin wood trim pieces for the edges, and some crown moulding for the top where it would meet the ceiling.

We also mounted two additional 2×4 boards on the top and bottom of the wall so that the plywood would lie evenly across all of them, and give us a place to nail the trim pieces for the edges.

In one afternoon we were able to cut/mount/trim and paint the upper portion of the fireplace. Not a bad afternoon.

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Quite a difference from where we started a few months ago….

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On Fire

One of the saddest spots in our house is the wall with our pellet stove. Part of me wishes it was a regular fireplace, but the lazier part of me wishes it was a gas fireplace. The reality is, though, is that we have a pellet stove.

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I knew absolutely nothing about pellet stoves when we bought this house and in all honestly my knowledge is still fairly limited. What I do know, after spending a year in the house now – is that I kind of really love it. Pellet stoves use wood pellets as fuel and run on electricity. Ours is connected to a thermostat on the wall so as long as we keep it filled with wood pellets, we can set the temperature and know that our house will stay at a constant warm temperature throughout the day. The pellet stove will turn itself on and off as needed, and blow hot air through the house. Throughout the winter we used the pellet stove in the living room and just kept the bedrooms minimally heated. I sleep better when it’s cooler so I didn’t want the bedroom to be too warm. We’d turn the pellet stove off at night (I just was never able to feel comfortable with the idea of having a fire burning all night while we were sleeping) and then just turn it on again when we got up in the morning.

The pellet stove was in the middle of a wall of dark paneling. Not really the look I was hoping for. I really felt like I needed a mantel there. It’s a feature wall – let’s be proud to feature it.

Step 1-  Paint the trim around the baseboard and pellet stove.
Step 2 – Construct the mantle
I spent some time looking at Pinterest and doing some web searches to get an idea of what might look right there, and what might be easy for us to accomplish without spending a blazillion dollars. I cut some large pieces of paper so I could play around with scale and figure out how big things needed to be.

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Doing this sort of thing is so helpful to me. I really can’t do anything unless I’ve sketched it out or have mocked it up in some way. Sometimes it’s paper and pencil, sometimes it’s giant paper taped to the wall. Whatever works. I toyed with the idea of building a stand-alone mantle and then just attaching it to the wall but decided that just attaching wood directly to the wall would be easier and still give me the look I wanted.

I took measurements of everything and then went to Lowe’s with my husband. We just walked around the lumber zone and picked out things that would be the width I was hoping for, knowing that we could cut them to fit when we were back home. With a power drill, a level and a power mitre saw, we knocked this baby OUT. The surround and mantle was basically 2×8 boards on each side (cut to the desired height), then a prettier board for the center section that was 18″ wide, then some corbels and trim pieces to pretty it up. All screwed directly into the wall, or nailed into each other. That’s it.  I’m a firm believer in trying to make things look as pretty as they can, while spending the least amount of time and money doing it.

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It took one day to cut/attach and paint everything. I had painted the wall a dark grey the previous day – right over the paneling. Not a bad project. Easily accomplished on a weekend and I think the finished project is pretty amazing.

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