Friday, March 29, 2013

Client's Kitchen: Sneakity Peek

 I wanted to share a little sneakity peek of a kitchen project we're working on.  My client moved into the house with the kitchen as you see it here...  She was SO ready to get rid of the pink formica countertops and green wallpaper...  I wrote about this project and its inspiration a little while back here.

And here's how it's looking now:

The cabinets& counters are in and the blue bead board has been installed.  I snapped this pic on my phone this week as we were bringing in the furnishings for the house.  (Hence, the plastic-wrapped chairs ;) The pendants for above the island came in wrong so we're waiting for them to arrive along with the barstools and a few more details.   I have to be honest, that this week's installation was THE nuttiest we've ever had.  It entailed me running down the street to pick up trash and not realizing I'd run back up to the wrong house...  As I struggled to get the locked front door open, a car drive up in the driveway to see me trying to get into their house.  hahah SO not good.  :/    I tried to explain but probably just scared her instead.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted and be sure to share final pics!! Have a great weekend and a happy Easter!!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ice Cream Can Birdhouse

I found this old ice cream maker last month.  My husband is making me a birdhouse out of it (I will post about it soon!) 
 So this is what we started with. 

Inside of it, was this rusty metal cylinder. A perfect shape for another birdhouse!

He made this cedar roof.
And cut off the top.

I found this metal bird at Hobby Lobby. A little bit of surgery to it and it became the finial.


 I used my trusty apple cider vinegar and steel wool process to age it.

I then sent it off to my dear friend Heather for her birthday!


Thanks for your visit!

I am linking to the following parties:


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I need your help!

Ok., so here's my post on chickens and before I start, I want ask for your help!! Hear me out before you say no and feel free to laugh but we want to get CHICKENS!!! It's illegal to have them in Fairfax County unless you have two acres (and then you're allowed 64!!) (We have 1 acre) Anyway, we have a major tick problem in our yard (they have embedded their nasty selves in even the baby!!) so we've spoken with an expert because we don't want insecticides sprayed on our property and he suggested chickens. After my initial reaction of no WAY no HOW,  (that's not the way I actually speak but it's way more typable thatn what I rpobably said .)  I did some research (they will get rid of all of our ticks and mosquitoes and are actually great friendly pets!!) and spoke to some friends with them and am convinced that we need our new pet chickens!! (these are hens we want, not roosters so no noise issues for neighbors) .. So if you're still reading... PLEASE help!! It's up for review in Fairfax County TONIGHT so the law could be changed with your help!! I had NO IDEA how good for you pet chickens were until I did the research... They're not at all what you might think. We are SO BEHIND other areas!! So please, laugh and then sign this PETITION FO CHICKENS!!!

As I was googling different chicken coops, I came across some really special ones & wanted to share with you...

Loooove this one:

{Gorgeous chicken coop built by Karen at The Art of Doing Stuff - whose blog I just discovered today.  She seems like so much fun & definitely brilliant. I want to be friends!!}

I dream of one day calling my "Girls!!!" to come running to me!! hahaha

This Youtube video is hysterical.  

To be honest, once the County makes a decision and rules one way or the other, we'll make our chicken decision then.  But either way, I believe in the right to be able to own these pets.  (Fresh eggs?!! mm)   Dave is even more into getting the chickens than I am.  (He did the research on the insecticides and wasn't happy with what he found.  Definitely carcinogens.  not good.  And with all of the deer we have, Lyme Disease is a serious concern.)  My biggest worry with the hens would be the "mess" ;) 

The image above & the next couple of images are from Southern Living.  Sooo beautiful... 

I love all of the gravel paths...

I love the modern look of this one...

{Modern chicken coop from Stephmodo-- omgosh she's amazing!!! The coop belongs to her sister}

I'm not sure what type of coop we'd end up with.  We were only thinking of getting around 4 "sisters" for our dog, Ashby, so we would probably have a fairly small coop.  I visited my friend Brooke Giannetti and loved her cute little white hens..

{ Brooke's (of Velvet & LInen)  coop at their previous house...  Dying to see what their new coop will look like!!}

Brooke stressed the importance of getting a friendly breed of chicken.  Safety with my kids is first.  (Doesn't make sense to bring in crazy chickens that could hurt them if the whole point was protecting them from harmful ticks.  We've been doing a little breed research but got stopped when we found out that our lots size was too small for hens.)

I love this gorgeous coop built by Heather Bullard:

She sells the plans to build this coop online.  I love the little fenced in area..  So pretty & we might have to do something like that to protect our garden from the chickies...

And finally, my friend Seleta recently adopted a little chicken named Lucky:

I've loved following her on Instagram and watching Lucky grow.

Anyway, if you're still reading and don't think I'm AWOL, and are in Fairfax Country, will you please consider signing  here??
love ya

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

So I accidentally...

...Posted a half-written post!! Sorry about that to everyone who received it in an email & was totally confused.  It's been one of those mornings.  I must have hit "publish" instead of "save" when I left for my meeting. ;) ;)

{adorable baby chicky photograph by Julie Persons}

Anyway, my post was about chickens & it will go up when I actually write it!  We're thinking about getting some.  Our main impetus for thinking chickens was the tick problem we have at our new house.  They were CRAZY this past Fall and were all over us & our kids.  (The poor baby had one embedded in his ear and it took 20 mins of screaming & crying for me to get the thing's head out of his ear.)  After speaking with an expert, we learned that chickens are amazing with pest control.  (We're not too excited about using insecticides on our property where we are planning a veggie garden and drink well water.)

BUT-- Sadly. right now in Fairfax Country, where I live, the law states that you can only own chickens if you have 2+ acres.  (You can have 64 chickens on 2 acres... crazy) But you can't have any chickens if you have less than 2 acres.  There's a group of us who are working to have the law changed so that home owners can have pet HENS (not roosters) on their property if they have less than 2 acres.  (And not a crazy number like 64!!;)  We have an acre, btw.  So... tonight, there is a meeting at the Fairfax Government Center to meet and plead the chicken case.  We're collecting signatures for a petition and today's the day, so pretty pretty PLEASE sign this if you're in Fairfax County!!


Thank you so much!!

Pretty pics and an actual post to follow!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What Makes a Great Garden Office

A garden room could be the ideal home improvement you were looking for. It creates an extra space away from the house, ideal for a home office or studio. The people at Gembuild Garden Offices have sent us this interesting Infographic. It makes people aware that not all garden rooms/offices are built to the same specifications and you could be paying more than you should for an inferior quality building.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Brighten up Your Home From the Outside in

With spring just around the corner, or so we hope with the dyer, cold and gloomy weather still hanging over most of us, many home owners will see the change in seasons as a convenient and timely opportunity to brighten up the home. Whilst a spring clean is planned, decisions are also made on which area of the home to decorate – whether it’s going to be new laminated flooring, a change in wall decorations or a new kitchen, a change is needed somewhere after we have endured the dull, long winter season stuck inside ours home!

But for many of us our focus remains in and only within the house! Many fear the garden at the best of times – but it’s time to move past this fear and get those hands dirty. A makeover for your home’s only garden should be your priority for 2013! Gardening really isn’t that hard, with solid, easy to follow advice widely available across the internet, top tips provided from retailers and specific choice plants now recommended for ease of growing, reasons to not brave the garden are running out. By simply adding some colour to your garden, you’ll find yourself much happier spending time there in the summer.

One basic fundamental aspect of gardening for newbies is to understand is ‘longevity’. Before you head to your local garden centre or laptop to shop online, know that plants typically conform to either being an ‘annual’ or perennial. A plant which blooms for one year only and dies is an annual, whilst a perennial will have an extended life cycle allowing it to come back year after year, if treated with care over the cold winter period.

If your garden is only a patch of grass from top to bottom, then consider creating some new borders to grow your plants in. If you wanted to create a border with good water retention to it, dig out 30cms of soil and if you have any old wood flooring or plastic lining, install it in your dug out area, ensuing you cut some drainage holes, and then add your soil back in. Use garden bricks for edging in order to contain your soil, or alternatively try starting with just some large pots. Get a good, multi-purpose compost to top-up your soil. Generally, look for a mid-range priced compost bag as its contents will sit fitter with your tender plants, providing important nutrients from the start.

For simpler and quick impact, typically head for anything labelled as an annual and which is supplied in small plant trays in garden centres or labelled as plug plants online. Growing from seed is much cheaper, but something to consider as your experience grows. For summer colour in your garden borders or pots, look to grow a selection of either bedding petunias, begonias or busy lizzies. These are three varieties known particularly for quick growth, bright bold colours and impact! Packs of 10 to 20 plants can often be purchased for five to ten pounds each, so buy and plant in abundance.

Once the last frost passes, typically dig a small hole 5 to 7cms deep, planting each plant 10 to 15cms apart on the soil floor. Be reasonably gentile but don’t be afraid. Press down firmly on the soil surrounding the roots and provide a good watering first time around.

Around June onwards you should begin to see blooms appearing on your plants. For a summer of vibrant colour ensure you water lightly every 2 to 3 days for annuals, but in exceptional heat, check daily. Any signs of dry soil then provide a top up.

Gardening has many levels of interest and knowledge to suit us all. Not only is it good to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, but its therapeutic and a great stress relief for our hectic, modern day lives. It can be educational to young children and great exercise for the elderly too. Consider brightening up your garden this coming summer now – you’ll impress your friends and family when they head over for those eagerly anticipated summer BBQs!

Pear Spinach Salad

Like I've mentioned before, eating is one of my absolute favorite things to do.  I feel a lot better about it when I'm eating fairly healthy and I love making easy things at home with my family.  I threw together a salad last week that I'm still thinking about, so I thought I'd share it with you:

I start out with the empty salad bowl & mixed in my family's oil & vinegar recipe for the dressing (Plain Olive Oil -Filippo Berio- and balsamic vinegar... More olive oil than vinegar.  Slice up onions (I used red this time) thinly & let sit in the dressing for a bit with a little salt & pepper.)

Once the onions had time to soak in the dressing (5 mins or so)  I tossed in:
~Baby Spinach Leaves (& a few leftover Boston Bibb leaves)
~Crushed Walnuts
~A Cut up Pear
~ Feta Cheese
~More Salt & Pepper

It was Heaven and so easy.

Now that the baby's a bit older, we're able to be a bit more organized about our meals again, which makes me so happy.  We've been making tentative weekly menus before grocery shopping & have been putting together some yummy meals.  There aren't many things I love more than making food at our big island and feeding my family.  (including feeding myself-- I'm no martyr ;) ;)

If I can get a tad more organized, I'll try to start sharing some of the recipes!  Have a great week!!
To check out some other easy recipes I've mentioned on the blog in the past, click here  (or under categories at the top, Click "Food")

ps- Thank you so much for all of the encouragement about the last project I shared!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easter Nests

I love making these nests for Easter. Everyone looks forward to them and they are so easy to make!

2 cups Mini Marshmallows
1/4 cup Butter
4 cups of Chow Mein Noodles
Jelly Beans, M&M's or Robin's Eggs to fill

--This recipe makes about 12 nests. If you want to make more, buy two bags of Chow Mein Noodles. You'll have plenty of Marshmallows with one bag.

In 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter and marshmallows. Stir until smooth. Take off of heat and immediately add chow mein noodles. Stir until coated with marshmallow/butter mixture.

Use a very clean 12 count cupcake pan. Rub butter in all cups.

Put butter on your hands. Spoon the coated chow mein noodles in each cup, then use your hands to form it into little nests.

Put the cupcake pan in freezer for an hour or so (or even overnight). To pop each nest out, I usually use a butter knife to gently pry it out. I use parchment paper or wax paper between the plate and the nests so they don't stick. Fill with candy and enjoy!

Sometimes I find the candies on the plate and the nests have all been eaten! They are delicious.
Thanks for coming by.  HAPPY EASTER!
I am linking to the following parties:

Friday, March 22, 2013

An Old Washboard for the Laundry Room

I love old washboards and was so happy to find one on our local Craigslist last week.
This one has great graphics and the glass is in perfect condition.  What better place for it than the laundry room.
I made these "Mod podged with Graphics Fairy labels" laundry detergent bottles a couple of years ago  HERE.
I collect scales and was going to redo the one on the end, then decided I kind of like it in here, especially with the rusty pointer.

  I filled some blue canning jars with old clothespins, clips and spools of thread.  The chicken wire basket holds dusting and mopping cloths.
Last summer I found this copper washtub.  We use it in here for dirty towels. 

Thank goodness I have a modern washer and dryer.  I can't imagine the work that was involved in  doing laundry back in the day!
Thanks for coming by! 
I am linking to the following parties: 

DIY Show Off

My Clients' Family Room Before & After

I'm so excited to share some of my professionally photographed work with you today!!  There is such a difference between photos I've taken myself to photos that have been shot by a talented professional.  (I love my photographer, Helen Norman!!!)  The past year has been crazy for me with the birth of my third son, moving and a busy life in general so I've been really behind on having my finished projects photographed.  As you can see from the "before" photo below, I first met with my clients over a year ago around Christmas time:

{unflattering pregnant photo of me with my sweet little friend}

Their family room is just off of their kitchen and is a beautifully sunlit, large, happy-feeling space.  My clients wanted a room that felt both relaxed & elegant.  They needed the kids to be able to flop on the sofa and play, read or watch TV in the room, but they also wanted it to feel like an adult space too, where they could entertain and relax.  My client's style is warm and classic, she loves blues and soft colors, and wanted to get away from the reds and golds she'd had previously.  When I presented my client with the design, I realized how receptive she was.  (I'm not positive, but I don't think we changed even a single element besides a discontinued lamp pair!)  Here's how the finished family room looks:

We replaced the wall-to-wall carpet with hardwood to match the rest of the home and added built-ins around the fireplace.  (Work by CarrMichael Construction)  The TV is mounted in a large cubby.  My clients have a formal living room and since one of the main functions in the family room is TV-watching, we decided to keep it exposed.  We had a seagrass rug custom cut to fit the room and layered it with a striped wool dhurrie.  We had the built-ins lined in a blue grass cloth which really warmed up the room and is probably one of my favorite elements:

Like usual, we used a mix of metals to keep the family room feeling more collected and casual vs. perfectly matched.  

Here's a close-up of the built-ins:

Below is the view of the family room into the kitchen:

We couldn't resist taking one of the photos with my client and one of her (completely adorable!!) daughters in the background.  They'd gone into the kitchen for a cup of milk and it was too perfect.  As you've probably noticed, one of the biggest changes was replacing the ceiling fan with an oversized lantern over the coffee table.  When large pieces like a massive lantern go in, it can often be a bit of a shock to clients but they took it in stride.  

Believe it or not, one of the most "off" elements in the room's plan - which you'd never know now- is one of the pillows on the sofa.  It's a blockprint by Michael Smith with mustard-colored flowers.  When you look at the fabric palette, it stands out as very "dirty" and orangey-yellow compared to everything else, but I felt we needed it to relax things a little and wander a bit off the palette.  My client of course was surprised by it's left-fieldedness but I asked her to "trust me" on this one, and I'm so glad she did because it's one of her favorite fabrics in the room.

Here's a view of the prints we hung, which feature oak leaves and are special to my clients because our area is  filled with oak trees. The massive chair-and-a-half is one of the only good-looking chair-and-a-halves I've ever found because it looks a bit more like a settee and has slim elegant English arms.  My client absolutely loves it.  She's commandeered the chair-and-a-half while the kids wrestle for the pair of ikat chairs in front of the windows.  (above)

I hope you enjoyed getting a peek into my clients' home and I'm so thankful to them for allowing me to help them.  Here's one last pic:

(Little House on the Prairie  is playing on the TV,  I've always wanted to have a picture taken of a project room with the TV on.  ;) ;)

*The professional photos in this post were by Helen Norman and the others/ close-ups were taken by me on my iphone.  (I'm mentioning this because I want you to know Helen took the perfect pictures and I took the bad ones. hahah)

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.