Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Since finding these fabulous side tables at a garage sale, I've been obsessed with rattan. 

It's no longer reserved for 70s outdoor furniture, rattan is being used in all sorts of cool ways. I love how it can be juxtaposed with all different kinds of materials to add texture and interest to a room. Light-colored rattan looks great with heavy, dark wood. Intricately designed rattan can punch up a minimalist design. Unexpected items made out of rattan can also be real eye-catchers. Here are some of my favorite rattan items that I've pinned recently...

And this number from Anthropologie is like a fairy tale bed. How cute would it look in a little girls room? Although I might be worried they would poke their eye out. 

Are you loving rattan as much as I am? 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

put your feet up: outdoor ottoman revamp...

The only thing missing from our deck was a place to put your feet up when you're sitting in our club chairs. 
This is a pic from last summer.
 Enter this $5 garage sale find.

It was a stool for a vanity table, I saw it as the perfect ottoman for our patio.

Once I removed the seat, I noticed what they had used for the fabric...

a pillowcase! 

I never would have thought of that, but what a great idea for an easy makeover for your indoor chairs. They just slip right on. Once I got over my excitement, I then covered the seat with some outdoor, all-weather fabric I picked up for $10 (I didn't even use half of it so I have plenty left over to make some outdoor pillows too).

The red goes perfectly with the pops of red I have on the patio. And the detail on the base mimics the detail in the rug on the other side of the deck. 

I was going to spray paint the base to match the table but then I realized the brushed silver finish matched the base of the club chairs exactly. It's like it was meant to be. 

It's really lightweight so it's easy to move around and put your feet up wherever you like. 
Total time: 20 minutes
Total budget: $15 (with lots of fabric to spare)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

the sound of silence: sorry for the absence...

things have been a little nutty around here lately, sorry for the silence. After my whirlwind trip to Chicago for work, it was my birthday!! The 10th anniversary of my 27th birthday. Good times. But I did receive some super cool gifts. I'm always getting on my husband about "thoughtful" gifts (he prefers me making a list so he doesn't mess it up.) Well, after this year, I know that he is a superior gift giver, so he just threw a big bucket of water on his "list-making" requests.

He ventured out to my favorite antique mall and picked up some gems: 

A vintage Coca-Cola crate. My mind is spinning with possibilities. 

Look at the metal edge detailing. 

Next I got baby blue vintage fan. It matches perfectly with my office wall color (which you can't tell from this photo). 

And a bonus, it's a GE fan (where my husband works).

And the wild card...
Mr. Chicken. 

Ryan wasn't sure if I'd like him but he adds the perfect quirky touch to our kitchen. He might get spray painted down the road but for right now, he's holding court front and center in all of his maroon glory. 

I couldn't believe these gifts when I opened them. A+ effort from the hubby!

That night we went to my parents for dinner and they surprised me with something I've been wanting for a while now...

a Keurig! It's a single serve machine which is perfect because I am the only coffee drinker in the house. Now I'm not wasting coffee making a pot every morning. I am obsessed and want to try every flavor I can get my hands on. Dunkin Donuts, I'm talking to you. I better see Pumpkin K-Cups in the fall! 

It was a fabulous birthday. My husband even took me to dinner at the same restaurant where we had our rehearsal dinner. They even printed up a special menu for me: 

After being gone for almost a week, it was nice to relax, spend time together and enjoy the beautiful riverfront view. Gifts or no gifts, I feel so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends in my life as a embark on another fabulous year!  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

sweet (second) home Chicago...

I'm back in Chicago for work and couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather. I was up early this morning and took my time getting to work, strolling the streets I used to walk everyday in a frenzied hustle. It's funny the beauty you notice when you've been away for a while and take the time to slow down and look around.

My favorite coffee in the whole city. 

The beauty and bustle of a Chicago morning.

The corn cobs.

Hello Wrigley Building.

Oh Chicago, you're a beauty.

Monday, July 8, 2013

landscaping update: The backyard...

Now that you've seen the front and the side of the yard, let's take a trip around back. That's where things really get interesting....

This is what the deck looked like last year right after we stained it. 

And this is what it looks like now. 

Many of the plants and shrubs in the back were transplanted from the front, like the two that flank either side of the stairs. They were iffy after the transplant, but came back beautifully this year. 

In the spring, they blossom these pretty pink flowers, then the whole bush turns a maroon/plum color. Some of the other transplanted plants were a Rose of Sharon and some Black Eyed Susans. The Rose of Sharon is in the top right of the picture below and closest to the front are two huge Black Eyed Susan bushes that haven't bloomed yet. They have tripled in size from last year. They are almost too big for the space.

You can see the Rose of Sharon a little better in the photo below. The plant next to it, I originally thought, was a bunch of weeds. But I cut it back to the ground and this year it bloomed the most beautiful yellow flowers in the spring. It was such a nice pop of color. (That I forgot to take a picture of). 

One of our biggest concerns for our backyard was the lack of privacy. All of the yards were visible to one another. 

So our landscaper added the most beautiful island in the back with Arborvitaes, Maiden Grass and a Butterfly bush. This is how it looked early in the Spring.

So pretty and manicured and dainty. And here's what it looks like now...

The butterfly bush is so ginormous that you can barely see the bird feeder and it completely camouflages the the maiden grass between the left and center tree. The trees are going to have to step it up in the growth department to even think of competing with the butterfly bush. 

Needless to say, that puppy is getting cut back significantly before spring next year or our whole yard will be engulfed. But it does make for some nice privacy now. I can't wait to see it 5 years from now. 

And I would be remise if I didn't give some love to my roses. They make the best privacy screen of all. 

Even though they recently got nipped by some kind of bug, they are coming back strong. 

The way the whole yard turned out just makes me so happy. It feels complete and makes our house look so cozy. 
Home sweet home! 

Up next: Painting the shutters and trim! 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day! Patriotic decor....

Something about the combination of red, white and blue makes me swell with pride. But using those same colors when designing rooms in your home can be tricky. It can come off theme-y or too country. 

Here are some spaces that have nailed the patriotic color palette...

Contemporary Kids design by New York Interior Designer MuseInteriors


I hope everyone has a safe and Happy 4th of July! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

landscaping update: The side yard....

Yesterday, we took a tour of our landscaping in the front yard. Today, we move around the corner to the side yard...


Many of the plants from the original front were moved to the side landscaping. The only thing that didn't survive transplant was the big purple bush from the front yard. But we (and by we I mean Ryan and my dad) removed it and planted a Japanese Maple. 

I love how they took the edging and jutted it out a bit to give the tree more prominence. We live on a corner, so the first thing you see when you drive up is a big mass of tan siding. So the landscaping was designed to break up that side with different colors and heights. 

This picture doesn't do it justice but this grass is crazy high. I cut it back in the fall and it came back like gangbusters! There is another one that was planted to hide the AC unit, I didn't think it would actually do the job but boy was I wrong. 

I don't know what these plants are but they are twice as big now and well on their way to covering the AC Unit from the other side.

Anyone know what these are called? 

Up next: The Backyard....