Summer Forecast

Okay, so, my home isn’t new to me, but I have been putting a lot of thought into designing my spaces better. I feel that we’ve finally gotten settled, gotten to know our home, and really know what works for us. Now the fun part comes. Getting each room tweaked just so, and realizing our condo’s full potential. We are traveling a little bit in May, but in June and July I think we are going to work on home stuff a lot more than we have in the last year or so.

Living Room: The living room is humming along. We are working on a wood paneling update that I’ll share more about in a week or two. We are going black and white inspired by the interior design firm Commune’s work at the Ace Hotel LA. Here is a sneak peek and a little inspiration I am working from.

living room inspiration.jpg

Bedroom: The paneling has been going so well in the living room, I think we have enough leftover to do paneling in the bedroom too. I think the recurring feature will connect the rooms, but for color I am still deciding between matching the black from the living room or going with a color.

bedroom inspiration.jpg

All of this exciting redecorating on the horizon has got me thinking back to moving into our place for the first time. Making a neutral space exciting takes a little bit of skill, a little bit of luck (if you’re a bargain/thrift shopper like me) and a dose of color. I’m finally ready for phase two of decorating, but phase one is a challenge for a lot of people. I brainstormed with Casper to come up with some essentials to make a new house feel like home.


Rug: Rugs are great because you can move them from room to room and house to house. They are a good investment and can cover up less than desirable linoleum or blah carpet.

Artwork: Like rugs above, artwork can be sentimental and move from home to home. Putting art up on the wall instantly transforms a room from a plain box into a place with warmth and dimension.

New Mattress and Pillows: Every room can do with new throw pillows, and moving is a good opportunity to trade in for a new mattress, too. If your mattress is doing okay, it’s still a good idea to get new bed pillows because… do you even remember the last time you got new bed pillows? I mean… you could get your dog a new bed too. Mosey asked me to mention that.

Paint: Confession, even when I was a renter I took the liberty of painting my space. Something about picking out the color you want to surround yourself with is liberating. We recently painted our living room from beige to white, an almost imperceptible change but the room just feels “right” now.

Lighting: I switched out my dining room light and have felt like a rockstar ever since. I think this usurps painting as the act that truly claims a space as your own. If you invest in lighting (it ain’t cheap) and put it up without zapping yourself… your house has truly become home.

Tool Kit: Trying to assemble furniture or switch out finishes can be frustrating without the right tools. I got this IKEA tool kit when I moved into my first apartment in college. I have used it countless times. It has just about anything you need to do odd jobs around the house—I can’t recommend it enough and I think everybody should have one tucked in their bottom kitchen drawer, like we do.

What do you think takes your living space from “house to home?” Having friends over is an instant fix–they call it housewarming for a reason. Baking something delicious and filling the home with the scent of that is another great idea. Share your move-in traditions, or must-haves, or best housewarming gifts in the comments!

Casper provided me with the infographic, but this is not a sponsored post. 

Inspiration for a Bright and Cozy Loft

Earlier this summer, a friend of mine let me know that she and her husband were moving to a new city. They’d already signed the lease to an open-concept loft in a converted building. She reached out to me for some inspiration in arranging the floor plan and some jumping-off points as to decorating the new place.

I simply love putting together inspiration boards, so I was eager to help out! After a few emails back and forth I got an idea for the space and for a few looks that she likes.


Given this information, I put together a rough floor plan (I couldn’t be totally detailed since I didn’t have measurements to work with) and an inspiration board to be used to start furnishing the living room and dining bar. I provided a list of links for items to buy, but oftentimes it’s just as useful to look at an inspiration board and purchase similar items things along the way.


Sofa | Leather Stools | Media Unit | Pillow 1 (similar) 2 3 | Art Prints 1 2

Since the brick wall was already painted white, and the wood floor was finished in a light-to-medium tone, I decided to bring in color using a vibrant sofa and cool accessories. This isn’t really surprising considering it’s my usual design strategy! Not knowing if the lease allowed for hanging items on the brick, I picked inexpensive prints that could fit in light frames and attached using extra-durable 3M hooks. I love TV, so I don’t shy away from including TVs in inspiration boards, but I do like to make the area a little more interesting. I thought a media unit with a shelf up top could be accessorized in a way so that the focal point would still be attractive even with the big black box turned off. I also included a lighting solution involving a long white cord and paper lampshade (the kind found at IKEA or World Market) so lights could be hung from the ceiling without being hard-wired.

I didn’t have a lot of detail to go on regarding the bedroom and bathroom half of the loft (behind the amazing sliding barn door), so I just imagined what the layout might be like.

basic loft layout.jpg

I don’t have any afters since the couple didn’t move in until fairly recently. I am confident that however they decide to decorate, it will look great, and I’m so happy I was tapped to lend a helping hand.

If you are ever stumped for design inspiration you can always email me for some brainstorming! I would be happy and honored to help out. 

Catching Up- Living Room Photos!

Well, the self-imposed deadline I wrote about last time totally worked. By the time we had our housewarming party, the kitchen and dining room were painted, the curtains in every room but the dining room were hung, and everything was tidy!

Of course, I took photos to document it. A few things have changed since then, but I’m working on detailing that in other posts!

I always seem to have about five posts “pre-written” in my brain, but getting them down into the computer? Finding the time is difficult.

Forget what it looked like when we moved in at the end of April? Click Here. Has it been almost three months already?

The Patio

A Seating Area

Living Room

The week of the housewarming we pulled the trigger on the amazing credenza you see above from our favorite vintage shop, Vestige!

Living Room

Living Room

To those of you who follow my blog & were able to come to the housewarming, I had such a fabulous time! To my family members who joined us the following morning for Father’s Day brunch, same to you! I felt so happy to host two back to back gatherings in our new home!

Colorful Kitchen Inspiration

To wrap up my week dwelling on things you can put in your kitchen, both essential and trivial, I thought I would take a trip to fantasyland for a little while and share some wonderful colorful kitchens I’ve pinned on Pinterest.

Every few days, I’ll check the apartment rental market and the condo sales market in San Diego just for fun. I see so many boring flipped kitchens with the same old predictable colors and finishes. These are so different and so exciting! No cherry cabinets with black granite countertops here! (Can we all agree that that combination comes off very heavy?) Experimenting with color is also an inexpensive way to freshen up a kitchen while saving the big bucks for a full kitchen overhaul a few years down the line.

Click each image to be taken to its website.

Color Cabinets - Photo by Magnus Anesund

The first time I saw this picture, I was so excited that I dragged Doug over to the computer and made him check it out. One must really be a color expert to pull this off because bright colors, if they aren’t tempered with enough gray and brown, can look circus-y really fast. It works sooo well here because everything else is white, white, white. Even the floors have been whitewashed or limed to achieve the white wood effect. I would love to see this in a commercial space setting.

House Beautiful

This is an easy project anybody nervous about committing to color can handle. Don’t want to make an irreversible mistake on the cabinets? Painting the inside of the cabinet is really easy to change when the mood strikes.

Blue Kitchen Space

I love the way the smallness of this kitchen is celebrated. I feel like if the blue walls were white, the area would seem even smaller–with the bold shade of blue, the area is like, “I’m here, I may not be huge but I’m stylish. Now cook amazing meals here.”

Ursula Mayer for Schorn & Groh.

How about bringing the color into the room via countertops? What an unexpected punch of color! Plenty of retro kitchens have tile accents on the counter, but this sleek slab of pink is absolutely scene-stealing!

I feel like a kitchen that’s exciting to simply be in would be exciting to cook in. Let the creativity flow!

What do you think? Would you take a big color risk in the kitchen? 

The Ole Switcheroo

As I mentioned back in March (yikes!) the apartment is now home to a new-to-us sofa and dining room table. To accommodate these new items, our space plan got totally changed up and we lived with it for a while (three months!) tweaking here and there, until landing on a layout that mostly felt right. But something was off. Lazily, I had never changed up the arrangement of  any of our art pieces after moving around the large furniture.

Anyway, if you remember, our sitting area was at the back right of the apartment, and the dining area was at the back left. Those spaces have now been flip-flopped. Here’s a wide shot to give you an idea, and, spoiler alert–the new art arrangement too:


A few nights ago, we rearranged almost ALL of the art in the apartment and while we’re a couple steps away from being done, I can say that adding art in the right places can help a furniture arrangement feel more purposeful and make your place feel more like home.

Before hanging art

Before we moved these pieces to the TV wall, the white wall combined with white shelves looked “blah.”

After hanging art

Now, the focal point is more anchored.

After moving the couch and secret console-table-slash-storage-space, the tall art almost seemed too tall.

Dining area art

Layering my favorite empty gold frame with this pretty painting made by my great-great aunt in the 30s adds color, and by hanging horizontally, balances out the lamp and the eiffel tower. I love seeing the gleaming gold frames when I come through the front door.

So now, the gray couch lives in the office “slash” extended entryway. It creates a great little place to sit and put on/take off shoes, read a book or magazine, or to chat with whoever is using the computer at the time. Mosey also loves rearranging the throw pillows so he can take a nap there. It wasn’t replaced by the green couch per se, just relieved of some of its use!

Switcheroo 2

It was kind of sad to see the gallery wall go, but I was just craving simplicity. (In all truth–we were thisclose to hanging Doug’s bike there but the wall couldn’t support it). I don’t know what I’ll hang above the gray couch now, but at the moment I’m strangely feeling okay with the empty space.

When I get antsy and obsessively peruse craigslist to find out what other apartments are out there, I must rearrange my current space to satiate my need for change… Which is exactly what I did. Now it (kinda sorta) seems like a new place! So, what do you think? 

An aside: It’s a pet peeve of mine when bloggers apologize for their crummy images, especially “sorry for the iPhone photos!” But… I truly have to gripe about the photos in this post. Getting shots of this part of the apartment is murder, since the only light source is the sliding patio door, so every image is either way underexposed (and therefore grainy) or too blown out to make sense. So even though I used my fancy camera, I can’t help but shake my head at these pics, simply because I know I can and should do better. Now you know.

Design Crush: Federal Mirrors

These gaudy gold mirrors popped up on my radar not long ago–I started spotting them first in posts on Apartment Therapy and Design Sponge, and then once I was clued in, it seemed like they were everywhere I looked!

There seem to be two major types of federal style mirrors–one in a circle, and one in a circle featuring an eagle. I prefer the eagle.

Click each image to be taken to its original source. 

Elle Decor

A Miles Redd interior shot for Elle Decor

glitter guide

In the home of Caitlin Moran of the Glitter Guide

The Selby

Photographed by The Selby in the home of a creative couple

Dec 2008 BHG

And a lovely one dressed up for the holidays… (Better Homes and Gardens, Dec 2008) 

One thing I found out after doing a bit more research is that the mirror in these pieces is often convex! AND–many of the recreations are made of plastic! Also, when seen in context of a room, they are often fairly small. Oh well, I still like ’em :)

A couple bloggers I follow have them:

Desert Domicile

Caitlin of Desert Domicile– I love how it looks with that navy blue wall!

Go haus go
Emily of Go Haus Go– It’s the perfect size to fit in the narrow space between those windows.

Can’t get enough? Here is another awesome federal mirror roundup.

Want one of your own? Check out these etsy listings.

What do you think of trends like this? Clearly, trends come and go and I love the nod back to the time of the American Revolution, even while the most recent resurgence (before now) was in the plastic era and produced by a company called Syroco. It’s easy to think “bleh, so trendy,” and get turned off, but the truth of the matter is that I don’t expect to see this in every American home. You know what I mean? It’s easy to see a trend pop up in blog after blog, but I don’t think that really reflects the average american homeowner. You know what I mean? Bloggers are not an adequate sample, if you want to get into polling and statistics speak. I see commenters on pinterest, twitter, and (of course) Apartment Therapy deriding things as “too trendy!” Maybe in the blogging world, sure, but when I invite friends over who don’t follow design blogs or design magazines, they have no idea that the style I’m drawn to was inspired by something I saw online or in a magazine. Do you know what I mean? I’d love to get a conversation going in the comments.

Thanks for reading! Off to work I go.

Reflecting on Rugs on Carpet

Since moving in to our current place. I have been taking part of that great, controversial experiment… area rugs on top of carpet.

I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts because others might be wondering if it’s worth it!


Here’s a pretty old photo of our dining area. Under the dining table is this flat-weave zebra rug. It feels like it’s made of canvas or something–not jute or something stiff. This rug is pretty “floppy” and it bunches up daily, due to moving chairs, walking on it, etc. and has to be pulled straight. You can see some of those effects above. Still, I really like using it for a punch of personality and space definition. So, since I value aesthetics above practicality, a rug in this area is for me.

Pro: Using a rug under the dining table helps establish the space as a “room” in the open layout. 

Con: Needs a lot of attention to pull the corners flat. 


The second rug I’m using is this simple navajo rug under the coffee table here. I love how the horizontal stripes in the rug echo the spindles in the lower part of the coffee table. Due to size, they go perfectly together. This rug doesn’t really get bunched up since it’s pinned down by the table legs pretty close to the edge on either side.

Pro: Adds another layer of texture and warmth

Con: Its size may be out-of-scale with the rest of the room

There’s no photographic evidence for my last example; my apologies. A little known fact–we experimented with having our diamond jute rug in the bedroom under the end of the bed. This turned out to be a disaster since the geometric diamond pattern made it glaringly obvious when the rug got tugged even a little bit one direction or the other. Everyday walking on it quickly got it distorted and it wasn’t as easy to adjust as the light canvas rug in the dining area. After a few weeks we decided to roll it up and store it under the bed for use in our next place.

Pro: Introducing another texture and pattern into the room seemed like a good idea; matched the curtains

Con: Got distorted very easily; huge pain in the butt

One thing to note–all the rugs I have are flat-weave, which do not have a canvas or rubber backing like tufted rugs have. This makes them prone to shifting, becoming askew, etc. A much more expensive and durable tufted rug will retain its shape more evenly and might be better for use on carpet. My parents use some looped rugs with rubberized backing in their living areas and it works.  However, any dents from placing furniture on these rugs will be exaggerated since the furniture leg must sink through the plush rug and through the plush carpet until it reaches the stable floor. This might be a dealbreaker–I believe it wouldn’t be good for the quality of the rug in the long run–so you must taking into account how much you are spending on the rug and if you ever plan on using it in another area in the future.

There you have it, my rug-on-carpet opinions.

Have you ever experimented with rugs on carpet?