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The Home Facelift

 Summer is right around the corner and many of you may be thinking it’s time for a home makeover.  The easiest home refresh… is paint.  Whether you do-it-yourself or hire a professional, painting is one the most inexpensive ways to give your home a facelift.  It’s like the compliment you want someone saying after a great night’s sleep, “I can’t put my finger on it, but she looks fantastic”.  That kind of facelift.  

Many of our clients struggle with paint choice.  It seems as though it would be so simple to walk into a store, pick out your favorite shade, and slap it on your walls. However, paint has proven to be quite more complex than that.  With undertones, lighting, furniture, flooring, and space playing a vital role in how you choose the best color, where do you begin? 

First, let’s squash the BIGGEST misconception in paint etiquette. You can’t walk into your friend’s neighbor’s brother’s house, ask what color is on the walls, and then put it in your home and it’s perfect.  Maybe…but rarely ever. Paint is like your youngest child of three (I speak with personal experience), picky about everything, doesn’t listen to what you want, and changes personalities morning, noon, and night. What I mean is: you must sample paint on your walls FIRST. It needs to be put in several places in the area you plan to paint and you need to check on it… morning, noon, and night.  Why? Because every home offers different lighting; maybe you have more windows, maybe you don’t, maybe you have a small space, or maybe you have some existing paint color on the wall that will change the color you plan to put up.  So many factors can play into the way paint color looks on your walls. Trust me, you don’t want to paint or pay for a painter to do your entire home and then hate it.  That’s when paint becomes an expensive facelift.  That’s when the compliment becomes “Man, she put on a lot of makeup today, but she still looks tired”. Don’t be that home.  

We help our clients through this process, but if for some reason you don’t have a designer’s help, take your top five suggestions, get samples, and start painting away in different areas.  Don’t put up more than five samples at a time.  And remember that if you love the tone of a color, your local paint store can lighten or darken that color by different percentages! 

Here’s a list of our top five paint colors currently in our clients’ homes: Sculptor Clay- Behr, Revere Pewter- Benjamin Moore, Shiitake- Sherwin Williams, Accessible Beige- Sherwin Williams, Repose Gray- Sherwin Williams. 

Fireplace Remodels

Kim and I both live in the same neighborhood where the houses were all built in the 80’s. This meant both our homes had original red brick fireplaces that needed major overhaul. We each just completed our fireplace remodels and did them separate ways. We are so happy with the way they turned out and for the most part they were simple projects.

Renee’s Fireplace:

The original fireplace to my home looked something like this:

However when I bought my home this past summer the past owners had taken the brick down and replaced it with a brown fake marble tile:

This was definitely not my style and not the type of look I had in mind for my fireplace. I searched all over Instagram and Pinterest trying to decide the type of look I was going for. I really wanted a simple white mantel and some sort of gray tile for the surround. The picture below was what I was envisioning.

The biggest problem I ran into in this design was my window directly next to the fireplace. It left me no room for the beautiful pillars on the side and the mantle surround. The design I had planned simply wouldn’t work for my space. So it was back to the design drawing board. I also liked stone fireplaces and my husband pushed for stone as well. I had to find a mantle that could be a custom size and stone that would compliment my neutral decor choices. 

As I have said from a previous blog post, I love the Shanty-2-Chic sisters. We used their plans for our kitchen bench and I’ve seen their floating shelves used in so many other ways. We decided we would build a large floating shelf using their plans for our mantle. It was a fairly easy project and my husband had it done in a day. We stained the wood in Briarsmoke by Varathane and hung the mantle up. 

Next came the stone and the vast number of choices I had to choose from. We started our search at a local stone  supply store. They had tons of options and the one I liked the best had a 6 month lead time!! No way was I waiting 6 months to get stone in. We went to Lowe’s and I found a white stone in the back splash aisle. I liked this particular stone because it had hints of gray and pretty sparkles. We started the install from the ground up.

In all, the stone took about a day to install. It was a fairly easy project even if you don’t have experience laying tile. We are so happy with the outcome and love the finished product:

Kim’s Fireplace:

Kim had an original red brick fireplace and wood mantle in her home. She also had 3 different types of flooring choices in the same room.

Kim began a major overhaul of her kitchen and dining room this summer. They removed a wall separating their dining room from their kitchen and laid a beautiful wood-look tile throughout their room. The original fireplace was placed directly in the center of both the dining room and the living room.  The fireplace opening faced the dining room, which seemed odd considering most people like to cozy up on the couch near a fire. Originally they hadn’t planned on doing such an extensive remodel of the fireplace, but good thing they did because it’s spectacular and much more functional. Kim’s husband convinced her to do a “peek-through” style fireplace, which would make the fireplace now visible from both rooms. With a small amount of wood framework and beam reinforcement, they restructured the face of the fireplace, cut the opening, and reinforced it with beams to prevent any structure issues.  

The fireplace vent was completely removed and they decided to do an ethanol burner instead of the typical gas fireplace. Ethanol burners are clean burning and do not require the use of a traditional chimney or ventilation.  They had white quartz installed around the opening and the hearth. Kim and her husband also debated between using stone to finish the project or doing something different. They even ordered four boxes of stone which they later returned! They ended up buying Stikwood ( and installing it from top to bottom. Installation was really easy to both cut and install since it has stickers on the back that attach easily to any surface. The adhesive is guaranteed for 10 years! The finished product is absolutely beautiful and truly makes this room standout from an ordinary fireplace.

There you have it, our fireplaces done two ways. Both different and unique to our homes and styles. We hope you enjoyed and if you have any questions or comments let us know!

Thanksgiving Tablescape

This fall we decided to do a complete Thanksgiving table to help people find inspiration for a simple, yet beautiful way to decorate.  When we began our search for our own inspiration, it was hard not to get wrapped up in all the new things stores were putting on display.  How do you keep up with the trends without spending a ton of money? The answer is….you don’t.  If you have enough money to buy new stuff every year, then I say more power to you, but if you are like us and don’t have a money tree in your backyard, then you have to find ways to be creative.  

First we had to decide our color scheme.  Fall is always so full of different colors, it’s near impossible to incorporate them all.  So we didn’t! We used a simple palette with white dinnerware, black and white napkins,  gold AND copper decorative accents. Yes, we used both! Gold is so classic and timeless; it will never become obsolete in the decor world. Copper, however, is the new trend.  Will it last? Hard to say, but our bet is you won’t see it around forever.  But for now, we are LOVING it.  

White dinnerware, Black & White napkins, Copper accented flatware, Copper leaf accent on pumpkin

The entire table was set using these place settings pictured above as well as a floral arrangement that incorporated some of the normal fall colors.  We used a florist our floral arrangement, however, you can make your own or find a faux floral arrangement that suits your style and taste.  The decorative pieces including a glass pumpkin from Pottery Barn which was one of our personal favorites from their fall collection.  We also used both their gold rimmed flutes and gold rimmed hurricane candle holders with their Premium Flicker Flameless Birch Candles. The copper accents were hammered copper tea light candle holders from Anthropologie, leaf accent on the pumpkin from Paper Source and the copper handled flatware from Pottery Barn.  Subtle displays of both made for the best combination.  We can’t forget the amazing coconut twig placemats from Cost Plus World Market.  We used these in place of traditional wood slice chargers.  We felt this brought in some of that earthiness without using something we have already seen time and time again.  

But what is Thanksgiving without dessert?! Obviously can’t be real without some sweet treats to share with all our out-of-town guests. So naturally we had to style a dessert buffet which incorporated some of our favorite fall flavors: apple and pumpkin. YUM!  As much as we would like to take credit for these delectable little treats, a HUGE thank you A Nouveau for making the tastiest and most beautiful desserts.  As you can see not much work had to come from us as they are already so beautiful.  

Brown cake styled with some fall florals.

Pumpkin Mousse with Sugar Cranberry and mint

We had so much fun doing this stylized shoot, we hope that you walked away with some inspiration for your Thanksgiving table.  Stay tuned for our TWO Christmas tablescapes that will incorporate some of the pieces from Thanksgiving! That’s right, how to reuse some of your decor for multiple holidays! 

Sources: BEST Photography EVER: Kimberlee Miller Photography, Dinnerware, Flatware, Flutes, Hurricane candle holders, Birch Candles: Pottery Barn, Black and White Napkins: Williams-Sonoma, Coconut Twig Placemats: Cost Plus World Market, Hammered Copper Tea Light Candle Holder: Anthropologie,  Gold Leaf accent: Paper Source, Free Leaf printable: Ella Claire Blog, Amazing Fall Floral Arrangement: Bell of the Ball Designs, Table and Venue: Maravilla Gardens, Desserts: A-Nouveau. 

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