Designing with our better half

As an interior designer, I have learned that there are design elements that guys just will not go for. No. matter. what. Here are the top unspoken guy design rules. {I'm hoping to change a few of these in our house.}

Herringbone pattern: It's a no- go for wood flooring, fabric patterns, and definitely the kitchen backsplash. I've tried. I was able to sneak it into our tiny wine room floor, so there is *some* hope. Same goes for Chevron pattern.  How can you not fall for this classic crisp zig-zag pattern?
Pink: They will look at it closely and turn to me and ask if I see a hint of pink. Ladies, they are super suspicious of our every {design} move!
Brass: My husband thinks it's old fashioned and grandma-ish. Oh how I wish he could be converted to the ways of Anthropologie. When I tried to spray paint the claw foot tub feet brass he jokingly said,"brass is *ss". 
Via
Turquoise: This happens to be my favorite color so I have to sneak it in the house gradually. My hubs thinks it's too vintage-y. I've even tried calling it blue-green to accentuate the blue side of it. Not happening.



Love it or list it

So I've been on a bit of a break with the blog since my life turned into Love it or list it. Really.
We received a handwritten note in our mailbox a few months ago from someone that was interested in buying our house, if we would consider selling. {Our house wasn't for sale but we had been thinking about relocating, so we were tempted.} 

We agreed on a price and then during the inspection the buyers criticized *every* detail... down to the garbage disposal and every shingle on the roof. We loved our old house and started to feel like we were giving it away. We were scrambling to find a house we liked better. After *weeks* of back-and-forth the buyers backed out. They wanted a new house, not a 100 year old one. I was devastated. It took me a while to bounce back. We weren't working with realtors, so I was talking directly to the buyers. {Lesson learned: A realtor is worth every penny and keeps the transaction from getting too personal.}
 
Our house isn't huge. It doesn't have walk-in closets and there isn't room for a gourmet Kitchen, but it feels like home. Looong story short, it worked out because we love our old house and we can't imagine leaving. We are going to love it list it and stay a while.


P.S. Did you see the website that ranked all 50 states from best to worst? Michigan is #1! The commentary for each state is pretty hilarious. People were getting angry about the results so  BuzzFeed made a list you can re-rank. Too funny.



Spring pillow faves

It feels like Spring here. Well, after too many days at -20 degrees, any sunny day feels fabulous.
It's a game changer when it warms up around here. At first I couldn't figure out why my daughter was dancing down the grocery aisle. It's because we *all* love Spring. 
So how about a round up of my fave spring-ish pillows. The vintage inspired rosette pillows are 2 for $60 at Urban Outfitters. So cute and so many mix and match colors. I have a love of all things scalloped so the grey and mustard rectangular ones from West Elm are a must.

 
I wish the hubs could warm up to the color mustard... I mean he loves mustard as a condiment, right? At least he is on board with my turquoise/ teal obsession. 

Bathroom restyle

Our bathroom remodel is complete! It only took a little over a week, and no blood, sweat or tears. Maybe a little over- obsessing...we have been thinking about this project *for a while*. {I'll share the details and the budget in my next post} I'm all about a well thought out design- but creating something that is easy to clean is what I'm really after.
{Check out the before: here & scroll down.}
Choices that helped with our remodel:
Choosing tile/ stone:
We skipped natural stone and ceramic with a crackle finish in the shower to avoid any extra maintenance/ sealing. {Our small counter tops are marble, but I think I can handle sealing those!}

Go with medium/ dark toned tile:
Dark tile= dark grout= less scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush. Keep this in mind for the shower floor tile too.

Skip the trends:
Keep tile choices simple and clean.We all love those arabesque and chevron patterns but saving it for accents will extend the life of your design. {think rugs, wallpaper, and art}

Be picky about grout: 
Read up on types of grout to find what suits your space best. We chose TEC Power grout. It is mold, mildew and stain resistant and it never needs to be sealed.

Storage:
Don't skimp and buy only one corner shelf. If you have a standing shower I recommend three {two for storage and one installed lower for a shaving shelf.}

Be you:
We chose a shower curtain over a glass enclosure. Sure, part of it was the cost but I really prefer the look of a fun patterned shower curtain over a {watermarked} glass shower enclosure. I don't want to squeegee. Ever.

Pick colors you like, not *beige because of resale*. Plenty of customer confess to me that they hate beige, but it's easy and safe. You can still have fun with colors, even if you keep it neutral.

Small Bathrooms:
If you have a small space like us, keep things light and monochromatic to open up the space. I *adore* subway tile- the more the better. Tiling all the way to the ceiling really made the shower feel larger. We selected a threshold {4-1/2" wide} instead of a shower curb {6" wide}. This made the shower floor slightly larger. It all adds up.

Re-use what you have:
I kept the cabinets, 2 pairs of sconces, towel bar, and the wainscoting and worked it into the design. That's huge savings. I gave the wainscoting a new coat of paint and used the left over paint from our basement ceiling for the upper part of the bathroom walls.





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Week in Pictures

It's been a busy week. I bought a church pew and {another!} card catalog piece on my lunch break. 
Buy what you love and it will all fall into place, right? Fingers crossed.
We have been getting some fresh air and working on our ice skating skills. 
Well, not today- it was 5 degrees! I have lived in Michigan for most of my life and I still don't totally understand what people do all winter. I usually hibernate and remodel a bit.
 
 I would *like* to say that this isn't our bathroom, but it is. We bought it as-is and haven't touched it at all. Lots of beige tile and gold paint... and those strange triangle cut-outs in the shower walls. 
 We are doing a quick update for as little $$$ as possible. It's like a little contest. So far just $300 for shower plumbing and a new pedestal sink. I *can't wait* for it to be finished. It's like the odd-man-out in our 1915 craftsman.

Asheville for New Years

Let's have one more Christmas related post, shall we?
We just got back from a sunny, fun- filled vacation in Asheville, NC. We stayed in these adorable craftsman cottages for the first half of the trip. The cottages are hidden in the woods just outside of town and each one has an outdoor hot tub.

It's like trying out the hip-tiny-house-movement for a little bit. It was the perfect amount of space. I think we could manage in a tiny house. Maybe.

The second half of our visit was at The Grove Park Inn. We were in love. It's 101 year old {only a year older than our house!} and full of so much rustic design. Mikhail Baryshnikov stayed in our room. {Yes, I was excited about the plaque on our door because I studied dance for a decade or so.}



I could have hung our at the Inn all day... but Asheville has *way too many* great restaurants and waterfalls to hike and explore. They had at least 20 Christmas trees, some with full sized nutcrackers on them. Fabulous.





 Happy 
 New 
Year


2015

No present left behind

I don't do super fancy gift wrapping, mainly because I am pretty frugal. {spend that money on the present!} I Christmas shop pretty early and I like to wrap each present as I go, so things can get a little mixed up under the tree. Over the years I have come up with a system to color code my presents. We all have multiple parties, so why not try picking a different color or pattern for each party.

Pine needle pattern for my sister's house
Tree pattern for the in-laws
Striped paper for my friend's house

No present left behind.
 

Happy Holidays!!