December 12, 2012

picture book shelves for emerson's room

I've loved ledge shelving for a long time and am excited to try this out in Emmy's nursery. The ledge shelves for picture books are so adorable, right?


I think the beautiful cover art of the books can add so much character to a room. Plus it's fun for kids to be able to so easily see all their favorites, rather than scouring spines to find what they want to read.

cindy espinoza — great diy instructions here too

ana white

You could easily buy these (Ikea, Target, West Elm), but my plan is to save a little money and get more of an original look by making them (okay, having Michael make them) in a rustic/aged wood. I'm planning these for the empty wall behind the chair. Of course, we have a lot on our hands now and have no idea when we'll be able to get to a project. But I'm counting on Michael having some downtime over the winter when work slows down. And ugh, sorry for the dark pic by the way. I am just noticing this. Need to work on my photo skills, clearly.

the nursery today

Other plans: a cushy ottoman so we can put our feet up when relaxing with our little girl and some art for over the dresser. Will be scouring ideas for inexpensive/diy art/wall decor today. Again, as long as Emmy keeps taking her naps and gives Momma some free time today. So far, so good. Cross your fingers for me.

December 10, 2012

baby emmy and the nursery

I cannot believe my baby girl is two months old now! I'm already wondering where the time goes. Emerson is doing SO well. Sleeping wonderfully at night, 6-8 hours then an hour for a feeding and a diaper change and then right back for another 2-3 hours. And I go right on sleeping with her so I'm not tired at all. Sleeping makes everything better! That said, she very unpredictable about napping during the day, so I'm getting no work done at all and hence the lack of posts. Some days she'll take all her naps, and some long ones, and other days it's just 20 minutes at a time and by 4 pm I'm totally stressed because she's getting overtired and because I didn't get time to even return an email nevermind take a shower or change my clothes. But it's all amazing and I wouldn't change a thing.

We've been spending lots of time together, smiling and learning new things, posing for tons of pictures, and just generally being cute.

And we've spent lots of time with family, just hanging out.

Up til now she hasn't spent much time in the nursery, but with her sleeping so well at night and gaining lots of weight, I think her mom and dad's room/bassinet days are numbered. And with her not spending too much time here, I guess that is my excuse for not having it "done," but I'm now itching to really decorate and make it functional and adorable! I'm thinking by January she'll be settling in here overnight, and I want the room to be just right, though I know it'll evolve with her.

Now I know it looks just fine now, but I've got some plans to make it look even better and I'll write about them this week, as long as I can manage to get up earlier than Emmy or as long as she decides to sleep during the day! I really hope that's the case because I missed you guys!

October 16, 2012

baby emerson is here!

It's about time for an announcement! Our beautiful girl Emerson, now 10 days old, was born at 12:08 am on October 6, 2012, weighing 9 lbs and measuring 20.5 inches. A big girl! It was a tough labor and delivery, but she and I are now doing just fine. And proud papa is doing wonderfully too. We're in heaven and savoring every precious moment. I'll be back to blogging as soon as I can tear myself away from her, which right now I honestly cannot imagine ever wanting to do!

October 3, 2012

marble backsplash preview

You'll notice in all the recent kitchen pics that we have yet to tile the backsplash. We kind of ran out of steam, and ran up against baby's due date, so it will happen...just not now! But considering my notorious indecision, it's a major accomplishment that we chose something. So, these 2 x 4 marble tiles found at Lowe's will be the backsplash.

I liked how the grey tones played with the colors in the granite. And the cabinet color, and the floors too. My second choice, plain white subway tiles, felt flat and uninteresting by comparison. Also, these should be really easy to install since they come in a 12 x 12 sheet on a mesh backing already laid out in a brick pattern—no individual tiles to worry about placing. I'm so excited to get these marble beauties up on the wall, but who knows when that'll happen. In the meantime, here's a little inspiration to show what these small tiles will look like.

That entire wall of marble is pretty stunning, no? Considering we don't have too much open wall space to the ceiling (just above the sink), maybe we can make this happen. Cannot wait!

October 1, 2012

an area rug in the kitchen: where do you stand?

In such a cabinet- and appliance-heavy room, I feel like it's so gracious and comforting to have a rug underfoot.


via pink wallpaper


jamie meares


via one kings lane


And not only does a rug feel good, it looks good. I'm thinking we could really use a runner along our sink/appliance cabinet wall running from living room to pantry.

But what about stains/spills? Is a rug in the kitchen a crazy idea with a baby on the way? I am tempted by a rug, but do think it'd have to be cleaned very often...and I would not want to spend a fortune on it, knowing it might get damaged in this most-used room in the house. So what do you think? Would you worry and say no to a rug in the kitchen? Or would you go for it and just accept the added maintenance and the damage that might get done in exchange for aesthetics/comfort?

September 26, 2012

kitchen styling

The bulk of the work in our new kitchen is done I'm really craving a kitchen that looks like this. Warm, textured, dressed, styled. Finished.

rustic rooster interiors

We still need cabinet hardware and a backsplash—those will help a lot! But so will a patterened rug, a tray, a pretty display of flowers or branches or leaves. Coming soon to a kitchen near me?

Here are some other great looks for styling in the kitchen.

via little green notebook

art, floral, utensils


art, cutting boards

amber interiors

potted plant, butcher block

caitlin flemming

art, jars, bowl, basket, books

September 24, 2012

pre-baby getaway

Michael and I had been trying to plan a little midweek getaway before our life completely changes with baby's arrival. (I refuse to call this a "babymoon," but I suppose that's pretty much what this was.)

We've been crazy busy and exhausted from a summer of getting the house ready, including the neverending kitchen reno (no, it's still not really done!) and so a bit of an escape to a friend's house on the Cape (that's Cape Cod, for non-New Englanders) is just what we needed.

so happy to be on vacation!

head of the meadow beach: we pretty much had the place to ourselves

It is peacefully, blissfully quiet and wonderful on the Cape in late September. We were lucky to get some sun-soaked days, and the temps got to around 70 degrees. It was perfection!

More belly pics than you could want? We are just a week and a few days away from the due date now, so more baby pics than you could want are coming soon ;-) And because this design blog post would not be complete without beautiful room images, here's where we stayed. Ready? This "cottage" is so gorgeous. Definitely livable year-round. We didn't want to leave.

to the left is a wall of sliding doors that open to the deck and garden

the house is full of beautiful designer details: not your typical vacation rental

this is the pre-addition, older part of the home, with a low-beamed ceiling that just adds to the coziness

the master bedroom might be my favorite room of all. so much light.

how great is that armoire, and the rug?

and the deck off the master has a beautiful view of the gardens. see what i mean? bliss!

September 20, 2012

antique-inspired organized entry

I'm in love with this mudroom plan, especially that charming entryway bench that looks like it could be an antique! Wish my foyer were big enough to fit it. The goal with this space is really all about organization of course, with rows of hooks (a few low enough for little arms to reach) and rolling baskets to store tons of little shoes that can slide under the bench. But of course I couldn't resist adding a bit of prettiness. The plan:

And the room:

As you can imagine, the homeowners are more than eager to get this plan going, and I can't wait to see it either.

September 19, 2012

dressing up a country living room

I'm so excited to be working with a client from long ago, who for a many reasons had a living room that never quite came together. This idea board is design to bring her sweet living room a good dose of function and sophistication. The plan:

And the room:

We're actually keeping the chairs, the wall color, the window treatments, and the armoire/media center, so this room is really about finishing touches. Can you see how it'll all come together?

September 18, 2012

clubhouse before & after

It's been a while since I've posted any new work, but I've been busy! It's about time I updated you all on what I've been up to.

This huge mulitpurpose room is the first non-residential space I've done: a clubhouse for an apartment community, Princeton Place Apartments in Worcester, MA, that serves as informal meeting & lounging space, transition area to pool and fitness center, and venue for a few special social events per year. As you can see, we were dealing with a very bland, beige, and dated decor.


The goal was to inject lots of color and perk up this space, while keeping lots of the same basic elements. The pub tables were staying, the tv needed to stay, and because of budget we had to keep the two sofas and the dining/work table and chairs.

The design started with this fabric for window treatments, a major improvement over the dusty old floral that was there before I'd say...


Then working with those colors in the fabric, we painted the walls a more taupey grey (SW Fawn Brindle) and a pretty dark blue (BM Newburyport Blue) to tone down the all the tan and bring in some color. A few console tables got a fresh coat of white paint, and sofas got turned back to back to create two seating areas (one tv focused and the other just for conversation) where before there was one. (Sorry for the blurry pic!)


We recovered the chair seats in a coordinating fabric: a simple project that saved us from buying new chairs...and hundreds of dollars.

before                                                                    after

This seating area turned out to be my favorite.



Then again, I love how the tv space turned out too.



We were working with a super tight budget of $7500 to include all furnishings, window treatments, accessories, paint and supplies, and labor. I'm happy to say that by keeping many items and freshening up others we came in under budget by $1000, which was even better than I expected! And I think we got a great look that does not look like we compromised on $$$ at all.

And some more pretty pics...

new coffee bar

favorite sitting area

fireplace on the back wall, so cozy for winter

a wider view: the old sofas don't look half bad now

Hope you enjoyed the tour! This week I'll be sharing a few idea boards for projects in the works and some plans for stuff at home.
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