The Sofa Hunt

J wanted me to title this “The Hunt for the Red Hot Sofa.” I told him that only worked if the sofa we were hunting for was actually red. Hint – It’s not.

While I do know the sofa isn’t going to be red, I’m not exactly sure what color it’s going to be yet. The jury is still out on that one. I do know that most of my plans for the house this year have been pushed back and derailed slightly due to a few unexpected bumps in the road.

That also means that (embarrassingly) that we are just now getting the powder room reno really going this weekend. The wallpaper removal has been a nightmare – I swear it’s like they didn’t use glue on three of the walls and then put all the rest of the glue on the last one, and it will never come down. Up until last night, I had debated ripping out drywall… Dramatic? Maybe.

Because I was often taking extended breaks from the frustration of removing wallpaper, I used that time to search for our new sofa.

There are so many options out there, friends. And let me tell you, the good ones are NOT cheap. That means that this decision is weighing extra heavy on me – I don’t want to pick the wrong thing and then regret it for any reason, be that durability, comfort, look, or scale!

So, knowing all of those factors, these are the criteria I am using for my hunt:

  1. Must be a deep seat that allows for lounging. We only have one living space in our house, so this sofa will serve as our Friday-night Netflix binge spot and Sunday afternoon nap spot 90% of the time. I know that super deep is not great for entertaining in a more formal setting, but let’s be real, when our friends and family come over we typically all lounge together anyway. We just aren’t formal people.
  2. Must have a classic enough look to stand the test of time. We are certainly not made of money and I can’t change my mind about aesthetic in two years and buy a new one. This is definitely an investment piece! I’m going to let the accent chairs bring in the modern (and dare I say, trendy?) flair that I’m looking for. They are easier to replace if I get sick of them.
  3. Slipcovered… or at least zip off covers. I’ve said it before on this space, and I will say it again – I’ve seen the dirt accumulation on our current slipcovered Ikea sofa (that we wash regularly) and I will never be unable to see it. Upholstery gets GROSS, so the ability to wash it (even if it’s having it dry cleaned every so often) is important to me!
  4. Must have an option for a bench seat (Maximum of two cushions, but preferably just one)! Our current sofa has three cushions and I’m constantly trying to fix them. It makes me crazier than I already am, and no one wants to see that! Hopefully a sofa with one, larger cushion will stay in place better, and no one will fall into the crack between the cushions when we are trying to sit multiple people on the sofa at once.

I have so many inspiration images saved for living rooms, and I’ve noticed that most of them have sofas that are basically the perfect combo of all of the above traits – Interesting how form and function are really aligned for me here!

Design via the always incredible Amber Interiors.

I love these identical sofas facing each other. This layout is what I imagined for our living room the first time we toured our house. You can see here that these sofas are extra deep for lounging and have really pretty classic lines (with a skirt!).

Jon and I were in a Room and Board about 6 months ago and saw the most amazing sofa that was somewhere between an army and an olive green. I was completely obsessed with it (especially considering I had already picked out a similar color tile from Fireclay for our fireplace). I’ve been smitten with the idea ever since… That’s why I love this sofa in Katie Hackworth’s home. Something about the green chaise with the bench seat just gets me. I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to commit to the color long term, but I figure if I can tile the fireplace in that color, surely I could deal with the sofa? We’ll see…

Design via my latest design crush, Katie Hodges.

Again with the identical sofas… I’m sensing a trend here in my preferences maybe? Ha! These have the perfect bench seat – I bet they are GREAT for napping.

Design via Studio McGee

This leather beauty is from Studio McGee. While I probably can’t afford leather, I can still dream! Besides the fact that it’s made from a buttery soft hide, I also really like the lines of this sofa. Shouldn’t be too surprising considering that it has a similar aesthetic to all of the others I’m drawn to – classic (but clean!) lines and a lovely bench seat.

I still haven’t completely decided, but I have a really great list of options in the running. All of them have a bench seat option or two larger cushions, are extra deep, have zip off covers (and a few are even fully slipcovered!), and most of them come in multiple fabric offerings. They all also can be a sofa OR a sectional, which is great for me because I’m still trying to decide what layout I want for the living room (more on that whole saga later)!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

So… of these options, which one would you pick?

An Ode to Moulding

It’s not secret that one of the reasons I fell in love with our house was that despite it being a relatively new (2006!) builder-grade home, someone spent some money on a few architectural details that make it feel special.

We have really nice coffered ceilings in the living room and the master, thick crown moulding and baseboards throughout, and really nice board and batten detail in the dining room.

As I was planning out the design for the powder room, I started looking for images of walls with pretty moulding details, and let me tell you… The inspiration out there is endless. Some of the inspo is more complicated to execute than others, but for the most part, even a little bit of simple detailing can totally transform how a room feels.

What I think we want to do in our powder room is a grid style of board and batten. I love the clean, graphic lines, and I love that it will look a little different than the treatment in our dining room.

Images via Blaze Press | Making Nice in the Midwest | Haven Studios

I also love the look of a really traditional board and batten (which is what we have in the dining room). It’s so pretty when it envelops a room and wraps the window casing like in fantastic One Room Challenge bedroom of The Gold Hive. She has a great tutorial that shows how simple installing board and batten can be!

Images via Scandinavian Collectors | Roomed | The Gold Hive

I also love more traditional moudlings, especially when they are all painted in a monochromatic color scheme. The nursery Christine Dovey designed for her son has been living on my Pinterest boards for some time now… talk about a sophisticated bedroom for an infant! The extra moulding detail makes the room look like it’s in an apartment in Paris or a gorgeous old Victorian home. Yes, please!

Images via Domino | Christine Dovey | Pantone via Apartment Therapy

Depending on how adding the board and batten to the powder room goes, I may just decide I want it in every room of the house… Can’t wait to share more!

Random Gadgets I Want for Our Home

I’m not a gadget person. I don’t own an Alexa or an iPad, and I plan on using my iPhone 6 until it dies (which unfortunately may be sooner than later).

When it comes to stuff for our house though, I’m all about it. I don’t know if any of these really qualify as “gadgets,” but they certainly are all pretty cool technology that I wouldn’t mind having use of around my house!

One | Nespresso VertuoPlus Machine

Anyone that even kind of knows me knows that I love coffee. I try not to go to coffee shops during the week, but it is a habit (and guilty pleasure of mine) to go to coffee shops all over town on the weekends and try out their lattes. J and I like to do this when we were house hunting. It’s totally fun to explore a neighborhood via it’s local coffee shop.

For the days when we aren’t able to go out and get our espresso fix, we have a stovetop espresso maker. But as all good coffee snobs know, the stovetop machines don’t really make espresso. You have to get a really good machine to get the real thing with the lovely, thick texture and the beautiful crema on top. Since I’m not a millionaire, those machines are out of my range. Luckily, Nespresso makes on that does the trick (and will get me my coffee fix quickly on busy weekday mornings)!

Enter the Nespresso VertuoPlus. What I like about this machine is that you can get an espresso drink OR a basic coffee drink from the same machine, and many retailers offer it with a milk frother as a bundle. We already have a counter top milk frother that we love, so I would go for the non-bundled option in the limited edition matte black finish (YUM).

Two | Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro

J and I both agree that Remi the dog is the love of our lives. He brings so much joy, laughter, and stress-relief to our lives. The other thing he brings is dog hair, mud, and mess into our home. While I wouldn’t trade him for anything, I still would like to be able to control the mess a little better.

Enter this hand-dandy tool from Bissell. It vacuums and mops AT THE SAME TIME. WHAAAAAT? I’m not even lying – I’ve watched it work both on commercials (any other infomercial lovers out there?) AND in people’s homes. This sucker (pun totally intended) is made for homes with pets, and is engineered to help deal with the whole pet hair issue. Plus, it’s a huge time saver. I think I might ask for this one for my anniversary… J, I hope you’re reading this!

Three | Samsung Frame TV

If you follow any home improvement bloggers or interior designers on Instagram, you have surely seen this baby advertised a time or two. As I mentioned previously, I really, really don’t care about technology. The TV we have is an older model that was a hand me down from my sister back when we first got married in 2012 (anyone who tries to rob our house and steal a TV would probably leave immediately because it isn’t worth a dime…). I’ve never considered upgrading until I saw the Frame.

It’s such a cool idea that your TV can become art when you’re not watching something, and it had completely changed my opinion of putting a TV over a fireplace (ergonomics aside for a moment). Our living room has windows flanking the fireplace, and windows on the other two walls of the open space, so there is no good place to put the TV other than over the fire place, unless you’re cool with the room feeling totally unbalanced. Which means that right now, our living room layout is totally unbalanced, because I refuse to hang an ugly TV over the fireplace. With this one, I would have to chose aesthetics or function. I get BOTH… which is exactly what good design is in my opinion. The only problem I see on this on is price tag, which means I will be anxiously awaiting sales or price drops on guy before I pull the trigger.

Four | Conair Hand-Held Steamer

I’ve had steamers before, and long story short, they were so bad that I went out and bought a “cheapo” iron just to get J’s shirts to not be completely wrinkled. But I hate ironing. It takes too much time. Irons are really hot metal plates that have to have time to cool. And it’s a pain in the butt to get it all down, set up the ironing board, wait for the iron to heat up… so then I just avoid any clothing that has to be ironed in favor of something less wrinkly, because I would rather spend my time in the morning working out or eating a good breakfast.

It’s a bad cycle. To end the cycle, I think a tool like this Conair Hand-Held Steamer could do the trick. It works well according the reviews, unlike other steamers it’s compact (great for storage and traveling), and it can be used for dual functions (powder room wallpaper, I’m looking at you). Plus – It’s not super expensive in proportion to the amount of use it would get at my house!

Five | Pressure Washer

When we first moved in our house, my dad came up from Florida with his pressure washer and he and J cleaned the entire back deck and our driveway. The difference that made was immense.

Only problem – the pressure washer belongs to my dad and I don’t think it’s fair to only ask him to visit us when something needs pressure washed – ha! That’s why I really like the idea of this option. It’s nice and compact (have I mentioned that I like compact, dual purpose products? Oh, only every other sentence?) and has fantastic reviews.

Six | Philips Wake Up Light Alarm Clock

Fun biology/psychology fact – Sleep is good for you, and sleep is completely impacted by our body’s circadian rhythm. In the developed world, people’s circadian rhythms are all screwed up due to the light on our phone, the fact that we have to wake up before the sun to get to our 8-6 jobs (yes, 8-6… does anyone actually work a 9-5?) on time, and daylight savings time.

I have been waking up earlier to work out with the help of my Fit Bit and keeping my phone far away from me at night, but I still think having this alarm clock would make waking up early a little less painful.

Anyone have any of these? I would love to hear about your experience!

Cover image of Samsung Frame is by Bravo TV Home and Design.

Design Guide | Sourcing Original Art

Can you spot J in this photo?

Working in design means that I get to be friends with lots of really talented designers, and on occasion I get invited to their homes. The designers I work with are all client-centric problem solvers, so it’s not often that we see a whole lot of anyone’s personal interior style in the workplace. When I get invited into their homes however, it’s like an invitation to get to know them.

I recently went to a party at a designer friend’s home and completely fell in love with her art collection. It was minimal and elegantly displayed, and I felt like it gave me a special glimpse into who she is.

This is what I love about art – it’s deeply personal, potentially more personal than any other element in your home. It’s aesthetic isn’t impacted by function, like furniture or architecture. It’s purely about what speaks to the viewer. Therefore, my number one rule about art in the home is that if you love it, you should display it. I don’t care if it’s a piece you bought from a high-end gallery or a reproduction painting you got at a big-box store.

For my home, I tend to prefer original artwork. That can be a tough preference when you’re on a minimal budget. Despite that , I’ve found some great resources for incredible original artwork. Some cost a little more then others (like a custom commissioned piece), but others may just be the cost of printing and framing!

Social Media

Love it or hate it, social media has become a prime resource for me to find unique treasures! There are so, so many talented artists that are using Instagram as a platform to market their work. Searching hashtags or going to the “discover” page has led me to tons of Instagram artists, many of which sell their artwork! I’ve also found lots of sources via other bloggers and designers I follow on Instagram. Some of the artists I enjoy following on Instagram right now are Brynn Casey @brynnwcasey.art, Laurie Anne Gonzalez @laurieanneart, Jessica Bush @jessicabushart, and my dear friend  Caroline Riley @carolinerileyart. There are about a million more, and tons that I follow that I can’t even think of.

Online Art Shops

I don’t know if it’s a millennial thing, or an evolved internet thing, but I feel like there are actually so many good resources online where you can affordably purchase an original piece of art. The list below is barely scratching the surface of all that is out there, but they are some of my favorite places to window shop for the perfect piece!

Local Shows/Galleries/Coffee Shops

Support local business and you may just find some great local art! There are three galleries right around my neighborhood, one of which happens to be located in my favorite neighborhood coffee shop! Since I don’t live in your neighborhood, my best advice on this one is to get out and explore. you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find. Usually the artists displaying their work in these makeshift galleries are just starting out, and the prices per piece (while not as inexpensive as big box store art) are often much more affordable than lots of original art. At the very least, you can build a list of local artists you love and save up for a special piece. It’s worth it, I promise!

Personal Photography

Any photo that captures the imagination is good in my book… I also love anything that is of family or friends (especially when they are vintage!). Right now, I’m wanting to hang some photos we took on trips together in our home.  We bought the frames for our dining room with the express intention of faming some of our photographs from a trip we took to Ireland a few years ago. Long story short, don’t be afraid to hang your own photos. They can serve as a great conversation piece when you have guests, and bring up some of your favorite memories the rest of the time!

Vintage Art

This category includes both vintage works of art, but also vintage textiles, objects, or books. We have both in our home! One of my favorite pieces (that I need to get framed for Jon ASAP!) is a vintage book page describing all of the rugby positions. I bought it off of Etsy as an anniversary gift when we were newly married and super broke. Other vintage artwork in our home are paintings that were inherited. I don’t know who bought them when, but I loved them so much I had them framed and have moved them from apartment to apartment and now to our house.

Family Heirlooms

My grandmother and grandfather on my dad’s side were artists (she was primarily a painter, though she dabbled in lots of kinds of art, and he was a ceramicist). My grandmother on my mom’s side also painted and was a talented seamstress. Pretty much anything they’ve made is an automatic yes from me… I love all of it and am honored to display it in my home! This is the biggest category for me I would say that most of the art in my home right now (and most that I want to have framed and hung!) is something that one of my grandparents made. We have a zebra drawing hung in the living room that my grandma drew on the back of a paper bag. She would probably find it hilarious that we are displaying it so prominently, because I don’t think she ever intended to it be framed. We have a series beach sketches that she did on trace paper hanging up our stairwell. I have two beach paintings my grandpa did framed and waiting to be hung in our master. We also have a sculpture my grandpa did on my fireplace and little ceramic bowls that he made, holding jewelry and bobby pins, strategically located near sinks and bedside.

DIY

Finally, if you really can’t find what you’re looking for, why not try your hand at DIYing? You never know… you may just find the perfect new hobby!

Powder Room | The Plan

The dining is room is so close to being done I can almost taste it.

Furniture has been selected, our new lighting is up, art is in progress, and window shade samples are here!

Now that we’re wrapping that room up (almost 6 months later!), I’m moving out into other spaces in the house. I’m turning my focus to our powder room. It’s a room that most guests see, so of course I want it to feel nice! In order to be budget friendly, we are keeping the toilet and pedestal sink. Both work and look nice, so there is no need to replace them. 

What we do want to update are the walls, which are currently covered in “London” themed wallpaper. In theory it sounds cute, but being that Jon and I have never been to London (it’s on the list, trust me!), it seems odd that we would have a whole room in our house covered in London monuments and architecture.

While I don’t love the current subject matter, I do think wallpaper could be the right idea, but I’m also open to the idea of board and batten or a dramatic paint color (or maybe some combination of two or three of those ideas)! The room is tiny, so it’s the perfect place for a statement.

I’m leaning towards is board and batten, potentially painted dark, with a wallpaper installed above. The only hesitation I have with this option is budget and the issue of window treatments. Right now there is a custom plantation shutter treatment installed over the window that I was planning on keeping. It is white, and while I like that style for that room, it wouldn’t work if I did a dark board and batten with wall paper above, unless that wallpaper was white. The other alternative I have is white board and batten below with a dark paint color (probably black) above, and a wall-papered ceiling, but that would require a wallpaper that is nondirectional, and I’m having a hard time finding something I love!

Light | Sink (Similar) | Wallpaper 1 | Wallpaper 2 | Towel Hook (Color Discontinued) | Faucet | Toilet Paper Holder (Color Discontinued) | Turkish Towel

So what would you do – one of the two options above, or a third with wallpaper on the ceiling? Do you think I could get away with either of the above wallpapers on the ceiling, even though they are directional? Comment below – I’d love to hear your opinions!

Beautiful cover image is by the incredible Studio McGee.