Thursday, May 7, 2015

From Show Home, To Your Home

While on our personal decorating adventure for our home (read: my adventure, with the hubs' approvals ha!), I have come up against a few obstacles. So, our house was built in 1991, the beginning of the open-floor plan era. This was high on our list of “must-haves.” What was not, but what we ended up with since it was all the rage back in the day apparently, were brass fixtures, light blond wood floors and carpet in the bathrooms (oh my, I am not lying). Some of these will be swapped out at some point in time (seriously, who puts carpet in the bathroom?!) and others, well, they just aren’t as important in the grand scheme of things. I am trying to focus in more on one room at a time – like, furniture to sit on (...kind of important), paint colors, and things to hang on the walls. 

A few weeks back, I was invited to attend the grand opening of the Atlanta Symphony's Showhouse just north of Buckhead in Sandy Springs on Northside Drive. It is the Atlanta Symphony Associates’ 45th (!) consecutive year of presenting the Decorators’ Show House & Gardens. All proceeds go to support the ASO and its community outreach and education programs. An Atlanta spring tradition, ASA’s Show House & Gardens is the largest event of its kind in the Southeast – and one the longest-running in the United States! This year, the duly named "Chateau Soleil" is a sunny yellow, gorgeous 14,000 square foot French style estate. 

Oh my goodness, y’all. This house is a stunner. It’s the real deal in terms of good bones. The main foyer is two stories tall, and there are rooms upon rooms upon rooms that ladder out to the left and right. The master-on-main features not only His and Hers closets, but His and Hers bathrooms, too. And the Hers closet was not just one room, but two, all of which were bigger than most of our old one-bedroom Buckhead condo! Le sigh. 

If you haven’t been to a show home before, they are really vaults of ideas. Each room is typically “done up” by a different designer, to play off what was in there to begin with and create a livable space with a twist. While you might expect a clashing style with each room side by side designed by different people, somehow it always works. Maybe its the grander vision of the home that comes through, allowing a room of jungle chic to be right next to a modern laundry room with preppy prints.  For those of you in need of decor inspiration, a show home is a great spot to check out. 

I had so many favorite spots in this house (other than that two-room Hers closet, of course). The formal living room off the kitchen was designed by an old fav of mine, Vern Yip. He was in the room when I did the walk-through, but I was too nervous to go say hi! Love him from his HGTV Trading Spaces days. His room combined a preppy feel with comfort, and maximized the massive windows that lined the space. #fangirl

The upstairs hallway was my second favorite. Yes, a hallway! Not only did it feature the original blond wood floors (!) it also featured a ton of mixed metal elements, including the original brass fixtures. In particular, the gallery wall really inspired me. We have a ton of black frames and prints from our condo’s gallery wall, but they feel out of place in our new home. Now I am inspired to grab a can or two of spray paint, update a few to be silver and brassy/gold, and mix them up for a “new” look. “Brass is back,” so many of the designers told me, so I am also feeling less pressured to swap our fixtures over to brushed bronze or chrome. They can work how they are, with a little polishing! 

Another fab space was the nursery. The designer in here mixed old and new, budget and top-line, and music and weddings. Um, hello, Katherine and BB central! The Cello Lamp was amazing, as was the framed print of lullaby sheet music. Both are totally DIY-able. 

The baptismal gown was framed in a way that allows it to be un-framed and used by the next generation. 

And how fun is the wedding dress bed?! 

The last part of the home that made me smile was the story of its color. Apparently, not only the home’s exterior used to be yellow – the whole inside was too! That’s how OUR home is! While refreshing, our home’s yellow beige is overwhelming to me. To see how the designers stripped out that color in this home to make an entering fresh new space, reminded me that "the one room at a time” approach can work for us here, too. The ASA Showhome used all Benjamin Moore colors (my fav brand) and I got a few ideas for some new neutrals that we might be able to use in our place. 

Interested in checking out the show home for yourself? It is open through Mother’s Day and would be a great girls-date idea, or a good present/fun outing with your Mom for her day (especially if you are looking for last minute ideas). Check out the details for tickets at their website

Disclosure: I received free entry for the show home as part of their Media Preview Day, but all opinions are my own. Go see it for yourself! The last weekend is this coming weekend. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Decorating from Zero

Six months into this whole suburbanite home owner thing, and we are still so, so, so happy with life these days. It's been a never-ending adventure. Sure, we are battling weeds in a yard and weird bumps in the night that never used to be an issue in our one-bedroom condo. But, it's been such a fun adventure!! One of the biggest things I have loved about being in our new home is that we can make it ours. From paint to furniture and wall decor, we are starting from a blank slate.

Well, maybe not a totally blank slate. Take, for example, the lovely recessed ceiling wallpaper border and dual-color paint job that came with the house in the dining room:

I couldn't even bring myself to take a picture of the window treatments that were also in this room when we bought it. They were poofy and pleated, and didn't match either of the paint colors OR the trim. Tearing those things down was the very. first. thing I did when we walked in after the closing, I think even before we poured that celebratory first glass of champagne!

The laundry room has some similar earth tones going on, this time in pea green. See photo at left below. So clean and cheery, right? And the upstairs guest bath, the photo on the right? I can't even. Thankfully, it at least matches our shower curtain and towels, although I would have preferred a happy moss green to this shade of ... brown. This room in particular is on the short term weekend to-do list, no doubt.

No home is without its decorating challenges, and while some might be overwhelmed by it, I take it as a challenge (say that with a nice Eurpean accent, "shall-ange"). I have been scouring home decor magazines for inspiration, and I know that a coat of paint and something on the walls can make a huge difference without spending a lot of dollars.

What to put on the walls is a statement in itself. In our kitchen, we have two large canvas photo prints from our honeymoon. Upstairs, we have our monogram "guest book" above the bed in our room, signed by all the wedding guests. I have boxed up the rest of our old black-and-white gallery wall for now (and may resurface the art in new frames soon) while keeping an eye out for other artwork to freshen up our space.

Have any of you tried out Minted before? It's an online marketplace of independent designers. It has the feeling of a boutique shop with the resourcing of an established big online store. What I love is that everything can come pre-framed, and they offer up a ton of frames to match your decor. So, if you are like me and loving the more rustic dark wood frames right now, they have you covered. Take this Georgia photo artwork for example:

Or this foil-pressed map. I love foil-pressed things for a subtle shine and some local personality. This one is of Atlanta's downtown streets. They have a large variety of other cities and states to pick from, too. I like how the gold pops against the "distressed cottage white" frame.

For rooms like my laundry room, I know I am going to be looking for something light and fresh to liven up the space, since there are no windows in there. Prints like this cheerful flower are right up my alley, and would look cute paired with another similar one, maybe like these pretty ones, once we repaint with a new color (I am thinking something very close to white).

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Minted's stationery line. Minted has gorgeous cards and invites for all occasions. They have a brand new Save the Date collection for all of you brides-to-be (or party throwers extraordinaire, for that matter). I am loving so many of these cards. This one comes in a variety of colors, but then you can custom pick a color, too! This would be so fun for a fun event of any kind, not just a wedding.

I love the phrasing of this one. It's not just "a" date, it's "your" date and you should make it yours!

I think what I love the most about their cards is the use of cursive or loopy handwriting fonts (my fav), and so many foil-pressed options! They all look so chic. And, the focus on photography in the cards is fab. For those of you with some killer engagement shots, this site has you covered so that you can focus on the image, vs. the copy. This one is a good example, where the copy doesn't take away from the shot:

So, whether you are home decor shopping, like me, or planning the next big event, go check out Minted! Let me know what you find! Have you shopped Minted before? What did you buy?
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post by Minted, but all opinions are my own! I was already shopping their site to begin with, too :) 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Out with the Old, and the Excess

What a whirlwind year it has been, friends. I don’t know about you, but I feel like as I get older each year, the time speeds by even faster. This year was a busy one, from work to home. There was a lot of travel for business …

And some for fun!

We sold one house …

And bought (and have been working on) another!

We skipped out on full-blown season passes in exchange for buying things for the house, but made sure to hit up some big games when we could: 

Had laughs with friends and family alike …

And ate really well: 

Whew! It’s only mid-way through another holiday season, and I have already had to put myself in check on health matters. All of that "good eating" has added up, especially when my new work commute has limited my options for workouts. By good eating, I don't always mean "good" as in "healthy!" The scale hasn’t moved too much, but I have not. felt. good. I have been straight up dragging, and spending my upcoming PTO time on the couch in recovery mode just isn’t going to work. I just don't have that kind of time and would rather make the most of my vacays. 

So, starting this week, I threw myself back into Weight Watchers with all of my might. Yes, my office might be giving away free breakfasts and lunches. Yes, the social events have snacks and drinks and sweets out the wazoo. But if I am already feeling like I usually do on January 1, over-spent on food and under-spent on energy, I need to kick some serious Katherine booty, like, now. Otherwise, I am not going to enjoy the rest of the season at all.

Maybe I am taking this space as an opportunity to cyber-guilt myself, sure. But, I am pretty sure a number of you are in the same boat, and I thought that there might be strength in numbers, without the excess. The cookies from this past weekend’s exchange were delicious – but now they are in the freezer, ready for enjoyment at a later date, one at a time. Our kitchen is stocked and our meals are planned. Freebies at work, I am ignoring you. Instead of a daily Chai, I am going to treat myself to maybe one each week. 

What are you doing to moderate yourself this season?