All posts in decorating

a treat for you from ALT!

Surprise! I’m in Salt Lake City this week at Altitude Summit. Having a grand time {of course} and loving hanging out with some of the fabulous women I’ve only ever met online.


There’s no shortage of beautiful crafts + photo opps here. I’ll share more when I get back, but in the meanwhile … a little quiz + giveaway for ya! If you can guess what room of the little farmhouse *this* little project is headed for, I’ll have a treat for you from #altsummit. You leave comments –> I pick one via on Sunday 1/26/14 –> someone has a happy day {could be you!}


furniture update: the yellow room

I know it’s been a while since I’ve shown you room updates — in the summer, most of my attention goes to the garden. But I have some projects in process, and one of them recently reached a milestone.

After three years of no bedside stands, then cool but not-quite-right bedside stands, in the yellow room … we have a winner!

I found these beauties at Cost Plus World Market, which recently re-opened a store in the Twin Cities. (Conveniently, one freeway exit from my office. My wallet has not been pleased. You’ll see more CPWM soon.)

The space between the bed and the wall is about 12″ at the pillow level, but only about 10″ down at the floor level due to the baseboard and the bed frame. So that narrowed down the choices considerably.

The black legs are perfect for this room, which is a mix of woods and black accents (rug, wall artwork, candleholders, curtain rods).

To finish off the room, I’m still looking for the perfect headboard and nightstand lamps (either tabletop or wall-mount). But, making progress!

opinions please: new curtains!

I’m 99% sold on these new curtains for my living room … what do you think?

Official deets: Ivory/white, semi-sheer, with jute stripes that look like gold from afar. $20/panel from Cost Plus World Market.

Replacing: the ivory floral sheer curtains that came with the house.

I love the idea of stripes in that room, as well as how the curtains fit the white and gold theme in a more neutral way. I’m less than enthused about the mismatching stripes when the curtains are closed (for me, that’s 50-75% of the time). But is that enough of a dealbreaker? I haven’t found anything else I really love.

find your prize

Fellow home blogger and college friend Meredith and I visited Hunt & Gather (famous for “find your prize”) yesterday … to celebrate her new house!

I found a new (old) crystal drawer pull for the desk in my dining room, some Valentines’s Day cards, and about a hundred other things I sadly couldn’t bring home.

I also picked up some pillow forms at JoAnn’s for my other new favorite things … Pillow cases from Zara Home. I found them when I was in Paris for work last November and they’ve been mocking me from their folded perch on my bedroom chair ever since. It was time to put them to good use, brightening up my living room couch on this icy, snowy weekend.

Prizes found.

decorating: summer into fall

Chilly weather is here, and I’ve slowly been replacing summer/neutral decor around the house with fall and Halloween pieces.
I keep the same pieces on-hand from year to year (most came from my mom and our collective PartyLite stash) but I try to do different arrangements each time. Here’s this year’s versions!
Dining room table: silver bowl and hurricane shade –> wire apothecary vase with fall leaves and pumpkins
Dining room window nook: dried hydrangeas –> rosemary plant (has been outside all summer), red candlesticks & fall flower arrangement
Desk: mish-mash of summer wedding invites –> two of my favorite leaf-shaped candle holders
Kitchen corner shelves: Twins baseball memorabilia –> white and orange ceramic pumpkins
Front porch: blue jars and swirls –> pumpkins and jar candles
Living room: added leaf tealight holders to existing tablescape, and a big bowl and leaf coasters to the coffee table

two-year anniversary: the house now

Two years into living in the little farmhouse, a lot has changed. You can see the whole transformation here… but for those of you who have been following the transformation all along, here is an up-to-date tour of the house, top to bottom!

Dining Room

Living Room


Yellow Bedroom

Blue Bedroom
Master Bedroom



Front Porch

brunch for twelve and a costco christmas tree

It might be almost Christmas, but I’m still catching up from Thanksgiving-time. The highlight of which was discovering that my house can accommodate exactly twelve people, maximum, for a sit-down meal.

If momma hadn’t invited half the family for Thanksgiving brunch, I never would have tried it. Seemed like a crazy idea to me. But it worked! We moved the big dining room table toward the stairs, and set up the folding table near the window. I had to move the side table out of the window nook to make room, but it came in handy as a beverage station behind the couch.

Just two days later, the main floor went through another transformation. I wasn’t sure I was going to go all-out decorating for Christmas this year, since I’m sort of in and out a lot these days. But, we found a great deal on Christmas trees at Costco (8 foot pine for $30!!) so I relented and pulled out the ornaments and lights (and just a few nutcrackers).

When I left Minnesota the other day, there wasn’t any snow on the ground. So it didn’t make it so hard to come to California for the holiday. I sure hope there’s a few inches when I get back, even if it means I have to shovel!

Merry Christmas to you all, wherever you may be.


house crashing: boston (part 1)

A few weekends ago, I ran away to Boston for some long-overdue R&R with dear friends Bethany, Alissa and Megan.

We’ve known each other for ages (I moved to their town in elementary school, and they’ve known each other much longer). Alissa and Bethany and I spent three months wandering around Europe about five years ago, and I still miss them every day.

The lucky three get to live together in a cute house in Boston, chock-full of personality and charming details. Here are a few of my favorite bits and pieces.

PS: The game pictured above, Bang!, is amazing. I haven’t had so much fun playing a game in ages. Don’t pick it up if you don’t like lots of rules, though 🙂

closet capers

Closets don’t get nearly as much love as they deserve. Think about how many times a day you open closets to get coats, bags, cleaning products and clothes?

Mine were really suffering from too many days of “I’m too busy to put stuff away in its correct place” — and in some cases, the “correct places” didn’t yet exist.

And I’m pretty lucky to have an old house with decent closets on the main level and in the master bedroom. (Of course, the master bedroom closet came at the expense of the closet in the blue bedroom before I bought it, but I’m working on some fun solutions for that…)
First off, here’s my newly organized downstairs closet. It’s the brown door on the north side of the dining room, by the doorway to the living room.
On the right are everyday jackets and hangers for guests.
On the left, old prom dresses and winter jackets. Far to the left is where I keep the extra dining room chairs, and there’s also a handy shelf where I keep extra candles and candleholders.
Front and center are some shoe and sweater holders that I’ve repurposed for more candles and things I need to grab quickly on a regular basis: chargers for the drill, vacuum cleaner and personal electronics; hats and mittens for winter; umbrellas and extra surge protectors.
Votives, tealights and aroma melts are sorted by season (right now, fall/winter fragrances like spiced cider and cinnamon bayberry are at the top, and spring/summer fragrances like lemongrass and citronella are on the bottom shelves).
Once that closet was conquered, it was much easier to tackle my master bedroom closet.

I started with the seasonal clean-out: shorts, summer dresses and blouses went in the “seasonal box” in the linen closet, and a few fall/winter pieces came back into the closet.
Then I rearranged the layout so that all casual items and work pants are on the top shelf, and business + special occasion clothes are on the bottom and on the far right. I wear skirts and dresses to work most days, and pants less often (hence, relegating them to the top shelf). And casual wear is only for the weekends and trips. So, everything I wear often is right within reach.
The final touch was hanging a curtain rod to match the window treatment. The drapes came from Target last summer, by way of my mom (who bought them when she was redecorating my childhood bedroom in very similar colors last summer – I should probably do a post about that when I’m home over Christmas, eh?)
I love love love the new curtains! And now, when guests are on their way and I don’t have time to make the closet look like it should, I can just close the drapes 🙂
I think I’ll probably keep them open most of the time, but I like having the option. They match the sheets perfectly, which works out well.
How about you? Any good tips for keeping closets organized and happy?

gold, silver and peacock feathers

I’ve found some amazing treasures at some antique and vintage stores in South Minneapolis and Uptown this summer.

First, a 30-piece set of silver to add to my collection of various silverware patterns (and, altogether, I only paid $1.73 because of a 20% off sale at Hunt and Gather and a gift certificate from some dear friends who know me very, very well).

Peacock feathers for just three bucks a pop, which you’ve already seen in the living room (a now-closed antique store on Hennepin and 27th).

And a fantastic gold key that is also destined for the living room (from Rewind Vintage at 48th and Chicago).

Aren’t old things just so much prettier than new ones?