Friday, May 20, 2016

Combating Design Indecision

I kinda had a moment early on while S and I were discussing an expensive upgrade/repair we want need to make to the house. I was waffling back and forth, procrastinating like it’s my job, and just out right delayed calling for quotes/consultations as long as I possibly could. Picture me telling him that I’d call around for estimates tomorrow but “tomorrow” turned into next week and the “next week(s)” just kept on coming.

The problem? I didn’t know what I wanted. Therefore…I didn’t know what to ask for.
S is kinda the guy that would prefer an already “finished” house (one he doesn’t have to renovate, rip apart, just to put back together) – but he’s also smart enough to know that, for me (lover of all things interior and design), no house will ever be “finished”. Through this entire renovation journey, he is learning to love the process and realizing that no cookie cutter house could ever be as great as the one we’re creating with our own two hands. But he has moments where he gets stuck in that “what-did-we-get-ourselves-into?” and “I-can’t-see-the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” state of mind and just can’t grasp why I’m so frozen with indecision sometimes.

To him, a door is a door. Grey is grey. But no, my friends, it’s not. Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe.
So when it came time to make this decision I was undecided about what it was I wanted vs what we could afford and I just couldn’t - as he put it - “hurry up and decide”. At first he didn’t understand and was annoyed but I was feeling pressured and rushed into making a huge (not to mention expensive) decision about OUR house that I just wasn’t ready to make. I hadn’t thought it out long enough, gathered enough inspiration, researched all the options, the best materials, contractors…and frankly, I just wasn’t well informed.

After explaining to him that even though my indecision was stalling our progress and as he put it, “annoying”, it was for good reason. I want the decisions I/we make (especially the really expensive ones) to be well thought out and purposeful. The last thing I want to do is pour money into a decision that we end up hating or regretting. For the very first time in our lives we have the opportunity to give these decisions the time and consideration they deserve because when you buy a house, there really isn’t (and shouldn’t be) any rush. We’re here for 30 years.
He finally gets it.

I’m enjoying the renovation process and this stage of life that we’re in right now. As a renter, I never had the freedom or 30 years laid out before us to take all the time we could ever possibly need to make the right choices for us, for this house. By far the best thing about buying this house is that I don’t feel rushed. And I’m sorta digging it.

But if you’re like me a need a little help from time to time to get over that hump, here’s 5 ways I combat design indecision:

It’s always the first stop when starting a new room but it also helps pull me out of that funk too. I log onto my Pinterest boards to re-confirm that “hey girl, you got this”! Pinterest is a great source for inspiration and does a heck of a job compiling all my likes into one place. It’s a great at-a-glance tool to see that I pin a lot of light/bright/all white spaces and orange/red food (haha) so if I’m designing a super moody room and suddenly feel like this “isn’t me” betcha Pinterest will agree.

This isn’t to say that you can’t/shouldn’t divert from your normal aesthetic but Pinterest can also help you hone in on your evolving style too. It’s a great tool to really narrow down what you like but more importantly, what you don’t. I turn to Pinterest a lot when I’ve hit a wall and need another jolt of inspiration to push me over that hump.

Build a Board

I’ve mentioned this a few times before but after browsing Pinterest, putting together a design board is usually my next step. I’ll virtually build my room right there on the page and swap items in and out all day long. This can be very time consuming, sometimes taking me hours/days to get it to a good jumping off point. But the great thing is that it can be tweaked along the way and all my rooms usually end up with 3 or more versions of its original design after all is said and done.

Putting together a design board is a great visual road map that can be used to trigger product purchases for the room or what needs to be DIYed / hired out in order to complete your vision. Nothing is off limits here either. If in my searches I find an out-of-budget item that I just have to have, I’ll still throw it into the design and either a) find a more budget friendly look-alike option, b) scale back other aspects to afford that item, or c) save up until I can purchase my dream piece.
Sky is the limit here and when you’re paralyzed with making those design decisions, nothing’s worse than being strapped down with limitations.
When in doubt, try it out!

We’ve all been there.

You go to Target for deodorant and leave with one of everything. We take a detour down the home décor aisles, get distracted by the “pretty” things, and suddenly what started out as a $5 shopping trip turns into a $500 one. Target décor is on point these days and it’s OK to drink that Nate Berkus/Threshold kool-aide. I ain’t mad-at-cha girl!
This is by far one of the best ways to help me combat design indecision. I call it auditioning. While searching for a particular item I’ll bring home two, three, or even four options (because they’re just that good!) and audition them at home in their would-be-space. As a visual person, this helps me immensely! So go for it. Fill your cart up with 97 pillow options and then try them out at home. See what works and what doesn’t – what you like or don’t like. Your husband/wife might think you’re nuts but that’s what a 30 day return policy is for.  
It’s OK to change your mind

Even after I’ve done all the pre-planning and auditioning sometimes things still don’t work out and it throws me for a loop. Instead of getting stuck, I give myself permission to change my mind, course correct along the way, and you should too. Just because you put it in the basket and brought it home, doesn’t mean you’re committed to it forever. If you hate it, get rid of it. Most things aren’t that important to keep around for the sake of keeping around. You’ll love your space a whole lot more if you allow yourself a few do-overs along the way.
Spaces rarely come together over night and instead, the best spaces evolve over time. Don’t feel pressured to get it right the first time because for me, half the fun is trying.

Wait it out

Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was your house. There have been many rooms I started and then abruptly stopped because I just "wasn't feeling it" or didn't like the direction it was going. In fact, half my apartment sat semi-finished for most of the time we lived there and I'm prepared so sit on these rooms in our new house if I need to. That's life.

There's no reason to force your design choices or to make rash decisions. Some of the most well styled and put together rooms happened over time...not overnight. If you've hit a brick wall and don't know what to do, buy, DIY next...wait it out. Turn your attention to another room, space, project and inspiration will come soon enough and you'll have a clear enough vision to pick back up where you left off.

And that's it, blog friends! Sorry for such a wordy post this Friday but we've all been there before and sometimes we just need a little help to get over the fear and design indecision. Anyone out there been here before? What did you do to jump start that creativity and get the ball rolling again? Do tell...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

36 Flush Mount + Semi-flush Mount Fixtures You'll Love

Last week I showed you the plans for our entry way and over the weekend I was able to knock a few things off the entry to-do list. To re-cap, here’s what we had on our entry wish list:
  1. Create storage for coats, jackets, bags - hooks? Slim wall mounted shoe storage - like this?
  2. Add board & batten? Picture frame trim/molding?
  3. Paint interior of front door & add decorative trim
  4. Add art
  5. Install flush mount fixture
  6. Find a vintage runner
It feels good to start putting things back together even if it is only a small section of the house. Having a functional entry will go a long way to make our beginning and end of day routines run just a little bit smoother even while the rest of the house is still “under construction”.

One of the biggest changes to the entry will undoubtedly be the addition of a new light fixture. After paint, lighting is an easy (and affordable) way to transform any space. It’s like wearing yoga pants with your hair in a messy bun and then you throw on a pair of earrings, put on a little mascara, and suddenly it looks like you’ve got your life together.

And I want to feel like I have my life together. Don’t you?

Since our ceiling drops down a bit in the entry, I knew that we had to stick to a flush mount or semi-flush mount fixture that wasn’t too wide. The door swings inward so I couldn’t have anything that hung too low or the door would destroy it. Once I knew what we needed, the browsing began!

You guys! There are SO. MANY. OPTIONS. So many! Affordable ones too!! I literally couldn’t stop looking at fixtures. I was/am obsessed. It made choosing a fixture for our entry so, so hard! And guess what?! I’m still not sure what fixture will be there come reveal day. #spoileralert: it’s not the one you saw on the design board.

But!! I know you didn’t come here to listen to me ramble on about fixtures (or did you?). Lucky for you, I did all the hard work and am sharing ALL my favorite flush mount and semi-flush mount fixtures with you today! There’s 36 gorgeous fixtures all under $300 for your viewing pleasure! Without further adieu...

Antique Brass / Gold / Copper:

Nickel / Chrome:

How's that for options? Which one would you choose? And which one did I?!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Entry: The Plan

We’re in that awkward stage of renovation where if feels like we’ve got a whole lot going on but not a whole lot is actually getting done. Can any of my reno buddies relate?! To date, we’re still knee waist deep in flooring that needs to be laid, and only 1 of 6 room is 100% completed, floor-wise (!@#$). #pleasesendhelp #andcookies

So! Even though the majority of our spaces are only partially completed, we’ve got enough of the foundation laid that we can start living like humans again and begin to work on stuff like what I came here to talk about today: plans for our entry way!

The entry of any home is one of the, if not the most, hardest working area in any home and I don’t think anyone would argue with me about that. The entry way in our apartment could hardly be called a proper “entry way” but I did the best I could with the space we had in conjunction with the adjacent coat closet to make it functional for us while we lived there. It came as no surprise to me that in our new-to-us home, this was the first space I wanted to tackle.

I don’t know about you, but when I walk through the front door after a long day of work (or rush out on a hectic morning), the last thing I want to be greeted by is chaos and clutter. Just the sight of shoes, bags, keys, or mail, cluttering up such a high traffic area can make or break my mood for the day. After living here for 2 months without an ounce of organization in place, enough was enough!

The entry in our new home isn’t without its fair share of challenges. Albeit longer - not sure if that counts as “bigger” - it’s narrower and doesn’t even have a closet!! #holyheckbatman – how did I not notice that when we viewed the place?! That’s #nobueno. I have my work cut out for me. #again.

As I do with any makeover, I start by pinning some inspiration images. Here are a few that I was drawn to:

With inspiration in hand, I pulled together a mood board for the space. Doing this really helps me see how everything will come together in the end and more often than not I love the result a whole lot more when I take this approach rather than putting the design together as I go. For being such a visual person, it’s important for me to see the ideas that are percolating in my brain laid out on paper. That way I can play with color, texture, or finish combinations before I make any purchases and it results in less “buyer’s remorse”.

After swapping items and ideas in and out over the course of a few days, here's the final version of the mood board I ended up with: 

Aside from being one of the hardest working areas in our home, the entry will set the tone for our entire house. Colors, textures, and finishes seen here will be repeated throughout the main living areas to create a cohesive look and feel throughout. Some of what I've shown you in the above mood board are items we already own but will be re-purposed to work for our needs.

In an area that needs to check a lot of boxes, each item chosen serves a very specific purpose and will work really hard to make our entry way a whole lot more functional and organized. Let's dive right in and break it down a little further:

Light fixture:
          We only have a single can light in this area and aside from the fact that it doesn’t provide much             actual light, it just isn’t rocking my world. It feels very “apartment-esque” to have this type of                 lighting in our entry and adding a semi-flush fixture is the easiest way to class the joint up a bit.             Yuh feel me?

Shiplap walls:
          This house lacks so much character and adding shiplap to the walls here in the entry will right                that wrong. It's easy, inexpensive, and will bring interest where there is none.

          Because grown men and tiny humans know not what a hanger does or is. Hooks make life easier           for everyone involved. #mainlyme

           We may not have a closet but I scored a campaign dresser a while back and the dresser will                    accomplish the exact same thing as any closet would. There will be enough room for a mail                    station, our re-useable shopping bags, umbrellas and such.

            A lucky Goodwill find will give us a place to put on or take off our shoes. The concealed storage             is the perfect place to hold our shoe polishing kit too. 

Vintage runner:
            Because every space is more beautiful with a one of a kind vintage rug. And because the cat                   needs a comfy place to lay while waiting for our arrival home. #truth

Well, guys...that's the plan for the entry. Thoughts?! I'll be working on it over the next few weeks and will be sharing bits and pieces here on the blog and on Instagram but man...I can't wait to have a fully functioning (and pretty) space to call done! What's the one thing you need for your perfect entry? Join the convo and share below!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I'm a Fan!

With our house still in disarray (read: we’re a blow-up mattress away from glorified camping) and while we’re stuck in this waiting phase of the renovation – we’re turning our attention to what can get accomplished during the downtime. So while all the chaos happens below our feet, things are looking up! 

Today we’re talking ceiling fans!

One of the more offensive fixtures in our home was this ugly and outdated ceiling fan:

Not to mention yellowed and discolored...

Sure, it was operational but it definitely wasn’t our aesthetic and during our initial walk-through of the house, it was at the very top of the list of things that had to go because…well…I hate ceiling fans. #truthbetold

But! In the 2 months that we’ve lived here, we’ve used it nearly every day. In a house that has no air conditioning (yes, you read that right) we quickly found that the ceiling fan was definitely a necessity. It cooled the main living areas down rather quickly and we were quick to flip it on during some rather stuffy early evenings. The verdict: it had to stay. 

As much as I wanted to come in here and buy new everything, when it comes to buying the finishing touches – light fixtures, rugs, window treatments – we’ve allowed ourselves to live in our house as-is (despite how ugly or outdated) before making any of these strictly-for-aesthetic purchases just to see how we use the space and how it functions for us. Hello howdy-doody roman shade in the kitchen or the ugly vertical blinds in the dining area. #baneofmyexistence.

Had we not allowed our house this little trial run, we would’ve swapped out the ceiling fan for a hip new chandelier (because hello! #ihateceilingfans) and come summer we would’ve been dripping in sweat and cursing the day we took the fan down.

I did a little digging on Pinterest for some ceiling fan inspo – it’s always my go-to source whenever I’m stumped (or indifferent) about a design decision – and ended up pinning these images below:

After my binge-sesh on Pinterest, I quickly realized that not only are there SO MANY ceiling fan options out there (why?) but your fan needs to be properly sized to your room for optimal efficiency. I found this guide about how to properly size your ceiling fan to be super helpful.

Armed with my Pinterest inspiration and now fully educated on ceiling fan sizing, the search was #onlikedonkeykong. Determining my new-found ‘ceiling fan esthetic’ (thank you Pinterest) and what size fan the room required for optimal efficiency (thanks to this guide), I was able to narrow down the field of possibilities quite a bit.

Here was the criteria I was working with:
  •          A fan that leaned a bit modern
  •         No boob lights / 4 cluster lights – single light kits only!
  •         3 or 4 blades
  •        Little to no down-rod (even though I love the look of a suspended fan, our ceiling height can’t       accommodate)

After an exhaustive search – both in store and online – we finally chose a winner and I placed the order today! I never thought I’d say this, but I’m ‘jumping up and down’ level excited about it and I cannot wait for it to arrive! #ohhappymail day it will be!

While I’m eagerly waiting for my fan to arrive there are no after photos to share just yet. But in the meantime, enjoy this round-up of the perfect modern fans for $500 or less…because someone of them are just too good not to share – and I did way too much online shopping for it to go to waste!
From one ceiling fan hater to another – enjoy!

With Light Kit:

Without Light Kit:

Have you ditched the hater train and joined the fan wagon? Because you totally should. Fans have come such a long way aesthetically and these ain’t yo Mama’s fan! #wordtoyourmother

Psst – my fan is lurking amongst the picks somewhere. Can you guess which one we chose?