Monday, October 13, 2014

Styling Sessions: Building a Vignette

The other day I had posted a photo to Instagram and I realized that I had a styling lesson to share with you. I'm hoping to post a Styling Session each week or so to give a few tips on styling various areas in the home. Obviously I love the creativity in design, but I also really love the technical aspect to design. There really IS a reason why we do the things we do...let's demonstrate on a recent mantel vignette in my home.

Here is the photo that I had posted about a week ago.

This is the right side of my fall mantle. Maybe next week I'll show you the left but for this week let's focus on this image above.

I had anchored the mantel with that large round basket that you see there at the far left of the photo.
When I clear off my mantle to re-style I always start with a large object to anchor (tip #1). You could anchor in the middle, on both ends (think lanterns), or just on one end. I chose the middle anchor in the example above.

Then I build vignettes to either side of my anchor object. The trick to building vignettes is to keep the eye moving using various heights or haphazard movement (tip #2) and to vary your texture (tip #3) - smooth, shiny, rough, natural, round, angular, etc. And here's the method to my madness: I balanced the height of my round anchor basket with the height of the large rectangular wooden frame. And then I layered in my framed botanical print in front of that. I needed to bring the eye down a bit and add some warmth, so I stacked a small box on top of a book and topped it off with a plant. Bringing the eye even lower, I added that awesome mini basket given to me by my Mom. And to finish off the look, I added the candlestick at the end (Sheila put that candle in there - nice touch).

Layers, layers, layers.

And notice that I've kept my color palette fairly consistent - neutral with red/orange/green accents - my ode to fall if you will.

Now I want to demonstrate how changing 1 single item can change the entire look. I'm always changing my plants around - usually when I'm watering them I'll move them around the house. The other day I just happened to switch out my jade plant above with another plant and look how it changed my look...

Longer, dustier green leaves mimic the leaves in the framed print. The movement of this plant works a bit better and makes my eye happier. And the ceramic cream pot jives with the box and book - keeping the palette consistent. Eeeek...I LOVE this look - and all because I simply switched my plants around.

Here are the two looks side by side:

I hope you've enjoyed my Styling Session for today - I am certainly excited about this and I hope to bring you many more of these mini lessons.

And before you leave, here are my tips again:

What I'd also like to add is that you can apply these tips to various places in your home - it's not limited to a fireplace mantel like I've shown. You could use these tips for a coffee table, shelves, a console - the possibilities are endless.

I'd love to hear what you've been working on and of course if you have questions or ideas that you'd like me to post about let me know.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fall Curb Appeal

Yes, I have been MIA but I was feeling the pull and wanted to show you this little color lesson or "aha" moment. We have 2 exterior doors on the front of our house - one that we consider our "main" door that you enter from the walkway and takes you into our living room and then the other door that goes directly into our lower level/family room (we rarely use this door but it can't be ignored, right?).

Both doors are painted the same color - not sure what it is since we haven't touched it since we moved in but it's very similar to BM Wythe Blue.

Here is a photo of our lower level door.

Not so bad, right? I've had the wreath for a while now (purchased at Home Goods about 4-5 years ago) but it never really said "wow" to me. The colors in the wreath are yellow/orange/red but predominantly the yellow is the most noticeable, do you agree?  

Then a few weekends ago my Mom brought me a new wreath which was very thoughtful of her so I promptly put the new wreath on our front door and brought the one that you see above down to the lower door. Here is a photo of the other "main" door that we use mostly.

Much better, don't you think? The wreath that my Mom brought me is all red/cranberry and really looks nice against the blue/green door - and we all know that blue or green and red is a great complimentary color combination. 

So there is your color lesson for today - wreaths should compliment the front door too! 

Here is a side-by-side so you can see them next to each other.

The lighting is a little off but I think the door on the right looks much crisper and more pleasing to the eye than the left (ignore the nasty brick - that's a BIG project for the future) - the advantage to the door on the left is that we have room to the side to add some other eye candy with the planter :)  That will distract me while I look for another red wreath.


When I'm not writing on the blog, I love to connect via Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I was thrilled when a few of my favorite bloggers joined Instagram recently as well - it's been fun to connect with Erin, Fran, and Camille through a different outlet.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Thrift Store Hunting Files

It's no secret that I love to shop thrift stores, consignment shops, and flea markets. I really really get the urge to go on the hunt. And it's a very budget savvy activity for anyone looking to decorate a home (although I must say I have friends that despise going to such stores so I know this isn't for everyone but I know a lot of you know where I'm coming from here). I've even started doing a little Craig's List hunting, even though that's still probably my last go-to unless it literally pops out at me on a quick search like this small vintage stool I picked up a month ago.

I love to find new spots (such as the St. Thomas barn sale) but I also love my old favorites too. One of my favorites is Impact Thrift. It's like a toy store of fun and I wish one of these days all of you will be able to come with me sometime.

Here is my loot that I picked up the other day...all for under $10.00.

I guess I have a thing for baskets and wicker these days because I picked up another basket a few weeks ago as well (I'll show that on another post). 

There was an entire 3 or 4 shelves dedicated to baskets, but these two caught my eye. The fish was quirky and of course textural, and the octagonal shaped plate of sorts I thought could be used on a mantle or coffee table at some point.

I always go over to the book section first when I walk into the store (the store is huge). This book, Furniture and Decoration - Period and Modern by James Aronson, caught my eye. Design basics never go out of style and this book is full of the fundamentals of design. For $1.75 I couldn't pass it up both to read and to use as a prop at some point.

The cups and saucers (I bought 2 sets for $2.75 each) were the real pretty finds for the day.

They are a discontinued Fitz & Floyd china pattern (Pareille) and I love the Hollywood Regency glam look that they have not to mention entirely functional for morning coffee. It was funny because quite a few women were glancing over the pieces as I was standing there as well.

I have a lot more items to show you that I've been accumulating - remember to follow me on Instagram for more updates.

Are there certain items that you keep an eye out for when you are out at flea markets?

**Local Friends - the St. Thomas barn sale is being held on a special night - tonight! From 5-8pm. I'll be there - let me know if you will.

***This post is not sponsored. I will always let you know if I have a sponsored post. I just really love going to Impact and find it to have great price points.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Framed Photos in Our Living Room

Today we celebrate my youngest little loves birthday. Hard to believe she is a year old already. I feel like we just brought her home from the hospital.

Maybe it's just me but I feel like when we just had one child it was hard to do anything, but now that we have 2 kids I find that I want to do everything (and try to do more with the girls). I don't know if that makes sense at all, but one specific thing I've been trying to be better with is photos. I wasn't great about getting family photos done when Sheila was an infant, but I really want to make a point to have family photos taken at least once a year.

We had some photos taken this past spring and I was so happy with them. My friend Jill did a really great job and I knew I didn't want to waste any time getting these printed, framed, and hung up on the wall. My prints showed up last week and I went out to AC Moore to get my frames.

(For any local friends, Jill is doing mini-sessions in the fall. They are a half hour long and perfect if you have little ones. Jill is awesome!!)

I'm SO happy with how this turned out. I've used these specific frames from AC Moore a few times and was really pleased with them. They are so easy to use - the glass just pops out of the frame and pops back in and they are only $8.00 (and I didn't even have a coupon - shame on me). Plus, I really love the slim line of black with the white matted photos.

Not only am I thrilled to have these on the wall but the girls love to look up at the photos as well. We still haven't really done much to this room but it's slowly coming along.

Here is another shot for transparency purposes of this wall - there are toys everywhere!

Our goal eventually is to have built-in shelves installed on either side of the fireplace. Oh and that pile of coloring supplies that you can see to the far left has been rectified for the time being. 

I've been on an organizing rampage with a first birthday celebration coming up. I'll share some photos next week.

How are you with printing and framing photos? I'd love to know any photo organizing strategies.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What You Can Find at a Local Flea Market

Part of the fun of going to a consignment shop or flea market is never knowing what you will find (at least that's fun for me and if you're reading this then I'm thinking you might think it's fun as well). I recently discovered a "Barn Sale" about a mile down the road from our house. The sale runs the second Saturday of each month from May through October. The favorite part of the sale for me is the bric-a-brac room which is all of the housewares, but this past month's sale drew me to the book portion of the sale for the first time.

There weren't a ton of design books but there were plenty of gardening and botanical books. This little book entitled Wildflowers caught my eye (my photo is the one on the right). It's small and I liked the vintage look that it had to it and the soft color palette on the cover. For 50 cents I figured why not. The Coffee Talk book intrigued me and that small chest of drawers is going to be part of my coffee station some day.

Now do you have any idea where I found the photo on the left? That is the photo of prop stylist, Ginny Branch, and I invite you to take a look at her website when you have a chance because you might recognize a few of the projects she's worked on.

I was browsing Pinterest this past weekend and saw one of Ginny's gallery walls. Isn't it great? I popped over to her site and browsed around for a bit, and came across the photo (above left) and grinned when I saw the Wildflowers book. Not that I needed any validation of my purchase, but it's pretty darn cool when you see one of your flea market finds popping up in a stylist's vignette.

Photo courtesy of ginnybranch.com

And this is why I wrote this post because I knew that my readers would appreciate something like this. Am I right? Who else would understand how cool of a discovery this is? 

Friday, June 20, 2014


I recently picked up a great new bench off of Craig's List and thought I'd share. I'm an occasional Craig's Lister, meaning I'll go on every so often looking for something in particular but every now and then I just pop over to the antiques section to see if anything catches my eye. This $10.00 bench selling in Jenkintown caught my eye. I popped over a few weeks ago to pick it up and loved it as soon as I saw it. Here's a photo of it in my the turned legs. That's what originally caught my eye.

The nailhead trim is a nice touch and I didn't think the needlepoint was so bad either. Certainly adds character to it that's for sure. We've already started utilizing it in our living room. It transitioned nicely as a small ottoman to put books on but also functions well as a small foot stool.

Here's a photo of the needlepoint on the top of the stool.

Can't really beat $10.00 for a sweet little piece like this with loads of character and function. I'm very happy with the purchase.

I've also been tinkering around with the mantel as well. Always moving things around and switching things in and out when the mood strikes. Here's my latest look that I've been enjoying. It's hard to get a good shot of the entire thing.

I really wish I had gotten another one of the lanterns that you see there on the right to balance that one out, but I just try to vary the heights on each side. The lantern and large round basket are both from Home Goods from a few years ago.

I had gotten the hanging plant a few weeks ago when we were down visiting my brother in NJ. I originally had it in our sun room but since it's not finished yet we don't spend any time in there. I wanted to bring it up to the living room where I could enjoy it. It didn't come with a tag at all with a name or care instructions. Does anyone know the name of it? It won't stay here forever but I love the element that it brings to the side of the fireplace and sort of draws your eye down as it cascades.

Here's a closer shot of another one of the plants that I added here. This is a Wandering Jew plant or also referred to as Purple Heart. It's really easy to care for and doesn't really require much attention.

At some point I'll get a better shot of the entire mantel.

We're headed to the Manayunk Arts Festival this coming weekend. It's sort of become a birthday tradition (at my request). I'll try to post some photos to Instagram. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Decorating Our Home - Main Level

We're coming up on a year of being in our home, which is really hard to believe. There are many things that we want to do to our house but we know they will take time. We've done some not-so-fun things like added a new roof, added insulation to the attic, new windows for our sun room, new lighting in our family room and living room. I suppose that's a lot.

I'll be honest, we really haven't done much cosmetically to our house. I really think it's important to live in a home for a while before making decisions. For instance, we haven't painted the main living area at all because we're simply not ready for it yet. We have a long list of wants but will need to prioritize them when the time comes.

What I have created are "moments" in our home, which are small areas that have been spruced up until the big projects get done. You know what I mean, don't you?  (Sidenote: you must read Melissa's post from the other day on decorating your home. It's really well written and so many great points made that I think you would all enjoy).

Here is a small tour of our main level living area and a few of my "moments" that I've created to enjoy until the big picture gets worked on more...

Remember my love seat that I had reupholstered? It's currently in our living room on the main level of our split level home, and it will most likely stay put when we get the rest of this room in order.

This is one of my favorite spots to sit and read and have coffee. The side table I had picked up at Target last summer, and the 3-tier plant stand on the far left was a consignment store find that I love. Here is a more recent photo of my plants - another area that might not look like much but makes me very happy.

I've also spruced up the pillows a little bit. The floral pillow in the back was a Target purchase, and the leaf pillow is by Chanee Vijay which is a favorite of mine. I love how it looks broken in and casual. It was one of her early designs and I always admired it. And then the animal print pillow in the middle was crafted by Therese Marie Designs for my Habitat room and I love what it adds to my pillow vignette here. Therese added a faux flange to the sides, so I've actually flipped it around so that the trim is seen at the top (I change my mind like that sometimes - tomorrow it will be on its side again).

We have a large window behind the love seat that is currently bare, so I've picked out some panels to use on either side of the window and I'm pretty excited to see them installed. Here is a photo that I took with a hint of the window panel fabric on the right.

I think the horizontal stripe is a nice contrast to the other prints that I've added with the pillows. And the panels are neutral enough that I could use them elsewhere as well. There is a sliding door opposite this window that will get a treatment as well and I've contemplated using the same panels to keep the look cohesive. The panels are the ivory jute striped Sahaj curtain panel from World Market and they are on sale now (maybe I should buy more). They are great from what I can see so far, but I'll do another update once they are up.

I also picked up this wingback chair below this past winter and it sits next to the love seat for the time being (minus the cabinet which I just sold so envision the chair pushed back more to the corner). I'm not sure if it will stay here or not, but it's a very comfortable chair and we enjoy having it in this room. It will need to be recovered eventually, but I love the shape of it.

And then to the left of the photo above is our fireplace which you can see a glimpse of below. I'd like to beef up the mantle at some point and give it a mini-makeover, but I'm enjoying playing around with the mantle for the time being (who am I kidding - I move things around weekly I think).

There you have it - just a few of my favorite moments from around our living room. By bringing in plants, pillows, and some meaningful objects, you can create a look that can be tweaked easily once you're ready to really dive in. Our progress is slow and steady, but the process and the journey (as Melissa puts it so perfectly in her post) is really a lot of fun. Mixing items both new and old and meaningful to create a look that we love and that is home.

I'd love to hear about some of your favorite moments at your house.