I’m partnering with Walmart Home today to share some of my curated Fall updates for the kitchen. Now having two little ones two and under, it’s important for me to be able to get lunch and dinner on the table quickly while still making sure it’s something Georgina will enjoy. I put together an easy meal with a cute fall tablescape on our breakfast table, and created a fall-inspired coffee bar so you can take some time to make a seasonal coffee for yourself in the mornings. Take a peek at them both above and below…
One of the things I look forward to most each day is coming out to the kitchen and making my first cup of coffee at my little coffee bar. I like doing this before Georgina wakes up so I can have a moment to myself; I take my cup outside and water my flowers, scroll Instagram, or check my texts and emails. Now having two children age two and under, it’s my little bit of self-care each day. In honor of September being Self-Care Awareness month, I’ve partnered with Walmart to share products you can use to style a Fall coffee bar.
Whether you’re like me and need a little moment to yourself before you begin your day or you just want a pretty space to offer guests a cup of coffee, these items will add plenty of fall texture and flavor to your kitchen. Best of all, I’ve found that many Walmart items ship fast and free so I can get what I need in time.
Walmart has put together an interactive coffee machine buying guide if you’re in the market. You can take a look here.
I already had the idea for Georgina’s second birthday some time around her first birthday. Both my mom and I love hosting themed parties and especially children’s parties; sometimes I think we have as much fun as Georgina does. When I found out I was pregnant in December of last year, I knew I still wanted to throw Georgina a little birthday party this summer… In my mind, it was the last event I could give her as an only child and I wanted her to feel extra special before her little brother arrived. So here I was… Nine months pregnant with our ten-pound son, hosting a birthday party in the middle of August with an air quality advisory going on!
I played “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic” song for Georgina in the spring and she loved it; she would ask our Alexa to play it while she ate lunch and asked me to read her the “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic” book before bedtime. So I knew she would love having a party with teddy bears, dolls, and picnic-style food with her friends. As for the decor, I pictured pastel pink and blue gingham, floral bows, and teddy bears. During our last trip to Palm Beach, we went to the LoveShackFancy shop and I saw the most beautiful giant floral fabric bow there; I snapped a photo and saved it to show to the florist for our floral arch inspiration.
We started the party with a ventriloquist and puppet show, then passed out teddy bear ears to the littles and moved outdoors for lunch, cake, and presents. We even invited the littles to place their teddy bears or dolls on a quilt nearby for their own mini picnic while a family of bears (my own vintage VanderBear family) looked on. As our guests left, we gave them picnic basket party favors full of goodies. And everyone left with plenty of sugar from Suga Me Sweet!
I made a Teddy Bears’ Picnic playlist to play during the party – you can listen to it here!
It was such a special day for our little girl. Seeing her stare in wonder at her balloons going up before the party, admire the flowers with her grandparents, and squeal in delight when she saw her darling teddy bear cake made me so happy. As any mama knows, I will never forget the day she was born and I’m thrilled to be able to celebrate it with her and make her feel special.
I’ve seen people discussing whether formal dining rooms are unnecessary – do we really need one when we have breakfast tables and kitchen islands? But I can’t imagine not having one in a “forever home”. My family’s dining room is full of my childhood memories – holidays spent together, birthday celebrations, friends surrounding the table until the wee hours of the morning. We can’t wait to make memories as our own little family around this table.
We had been wanting to redo the dining room at our previous house, but decided to wait until we moved to the new house. And it was worth the wait; it has become one of my favorite rooms in the house. I am in love with the beautiful trim and moulding in this space. And the extra built-in storage was welcome for someone like me who adores tableware and table linens. (I even have a little room to expand my collection!)
When I saw the room for the first time, I pictured a specific wallpaper in my mind. I had browsed online and when our decorator pulled this wallpaper out of a suitcase full of samples, I instantly knew it was the one I had envisioned for our dining room. I love the chinoiserie design, curious birds and butterflies peeking throughout, and the pop of color to add a little life to my otherwise neutral decor palette. Each time I walk through this room, I feel happy.
We chose a table and chair set from Kindel Furniture; they are one of the last furniture manufacturers to make their pieces entirely in the United States. Everything about this dining set makes me swoon; the shiny lacquer finish is elegant and timeless, the inlay work is beautiful, and the upholstered chairs are as comfortable as they are gorgeous. We hope to make many memories as a family around this table in the years to come. If you are looking for a less pricey version of this table and chairs, I suggest searching “Duncan Phyfe table and chairs” in your local area – either eBay pickup, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. This style is a bit more scarce out West where we live, but there is a treasure trove of beautiful pieces at fantastic prices, especially on the East Coast and in the South.
Small changes I made were having the ceiling painted to complement the wallpaper (Sherwin-Williams “Light French Gray”) and switching to these more ornate gold knobs. I also switched the hardware on the painted sideboard to create a more cohesive feel, although I’m wondering if a matching Kindel sideboard wouldn’t be the perfect touch in the future. I kept our old wool + silk rug, which adds a fresh contemporary feel to this traditional room. And after finally receiving our dining set, I’m considering switching out this chandelier… Wondering if all-gold would be too much? Would all-crystal be too formal? The saying is true… Decor/design is never truly finished. We just keep tweaking our spaces as time goes on.
Here’s for formal dining rooms; may they never disappear, despite what the current trends say.
When I first saw these darling DIY playhouses, I knew I wanted Georgina to have one! My playhouse was one of my favorite things to enjoy as a little girl and since Georgina already loves playing with dolls and her kitchen, I had a feeling she would love a playhouse too. We decided to surprise her with it for her 2nd birthday.
We went with a soft cream paint on the base of the house to better blend with the colors of our older brick home. (It helps the white trim stand out as well.) I love the pink-accented versions of these darling playhouses but since we have a lot of blue incorporated into our patio area with chinoiserie garden seats, hydrangeas, and a baby boy coming soon, we went with a light blue.
Georgie was so surprised and excited when we brought her out to the little playhouse. She loves playing with her kitchen set, watering the little flower planter outside her window, and drawing on the chalkboard panels. Seeing my little girl run out to her playhouse and spend the morning playing pretend just melts my heart.
Sand all stain off before priming or painting. This step alone took my husband a couple of days to finish, but if you don’t sand first all the paint will flake off.
Prime with the best exterior primer you can find at your paint store. My husband swore this made all the difference and was able to use only one coat of exterior paint on top of the primer.
Use spray paint to paint any plastic pieces on the playhouse.
Roof: Benjamin Moore “Balboa Mist”
House Base: Benjamin Moore “Cotton Balls”
Door and Eaves: Benjamin Moore “Blue Bayou”
Gold, White, and Blue Spray Paint for Plastic Pieces
When I had Georgina in 2019, I had just begun to hear about gifts for labor & delivery nurses at the hospital. I thought they sounded like a fantastic idea to thank the people ensuring my baby girl arrived safely, so my mom helped me put some together. You can see them and read more in my post on Nurse Gift Ideas. My nurses loved these little goodie bags and after having a baby, I can’t think of anyone who deserves a little gift more than the people who help you deliver your baby and care for both you and your baby after. It’s such a vulnerable time in a woman’s life (empowering, yes, but also vulnerable!) and the labor and delivery nurses are the people who will make you feel like a human again.
It seems every hospital varies on the number of nurses each patient will have during their labor and delivery experience. When I gave birth to Georgina, I had 2-3 nurses for every 12-hour shift. I stayed for two nights with my c-section as I had a fairly easy recovery, so I only needed about 12 gifts. This time, I think I will stay in hospital a bit longer because I have a toddler at home who loves jumping and crawling on Mommy! So I prepared 20 gift bags just in case. About 10 goodie bags fit in each of the blue bins I ordered.
Since we will be welcoming a baby boy this time, I decided to switch up my color scheme a bit. Here are some ideas for items you could include in your nurses gifts:
Lip Balm or Masks
Coffee Shop Gift Cards
I think bringing a small bin of snacks to your hospital room is a good idea because you can quickly grab something if you need it. It’s nice to leave another bin at the nurse’s station for them to share. The hospital I deliver at does have a fridge stocked with snacks on our floor and the little convenience shop is almost always open downstairs, so ask about this at your hospital tour before you pack. We didn’t order meals in because the restaurant on site was great and delivered our meals to our room. They even prepped a little take-and-bake family meal for us to make the night we returned home. You can always leave any individually packaged snacks at the nurse’s station when you leave if you find you don’t need them – they will be appreciated!
This time, I’ve also ordered cookies from Suga Me Sweet here in Denver. They do a beautiful job at custom sugar cookies; they made cookies for Georgina’s 1st birthday party (blog post here) among other events we’ve had the past few years. This time, they’re creating some baby boy themed cookies with our sweet little guy’s monogram to hand out to my nurses and we will also leave a small bin of cookies at the nurse’s station for staff to enjoy as well.
We’ve been spending so much time out on our patio this summer and with a little one in the mix, I needed to look for more durable and affordable tablescape options for our outdoor dinners. Here in Denver we often have pleasant days well into October, so I felt like now was the perfect time to get my alfresco tablescape in order. With so many items being delayed or backordered, I was happy to find everything here in stock and available for fast 2-day shipping through Walmart.
All items in this beautiful blue and white tablescape are under $65 and available for fast shipping through Walmart. I love how this tablescape turned out; it arrived quickly, gives my patio table a beautiful new look, and the plastic tableware and flatware have already proven to be winners with my toddler.
If you’re looking to update your space or prepare your home for summer guests, take a peek at more summer items from Walmart in this lookbook.
I couldn’t resist coming up with a blush pink and green tablescape as well; it’s one of my favorite color combinations and I think you could easily add some deeper garden roses and even some fall-tinted hydrangeas (ours turn a deep mauve come September) that would bring this tablescape into the cooler months. Just love this color combination and the feminine, vintage-inspired table it would create! I would love hosting a girls’ night with some rosé on the patio… Or maybe just a special night with cake and ice cream (how cute is that pink ice cream/yogurt maker?!) for Georgina. All of these items are under $70 and available for fast shipping through Walmart.
It’s that time of year again, when we flock to our local Nordstrom (or laptops) to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I know there’s so much hype and panic-buying surrounding the sale, but it’s truly a great time to pick up some things you need to restock and even snag a few early holiday gifts. Below I’m curating my favorites; items I’ve actually bought before or am currently shopping this year.
If you haven’t shopped the sale before, the reason so many of us are a bit addicted to it is because the sale offers new fall items and often exclusive colors + larger packaging at discounted prices. Many items quickly sell out, which is why “Early Access” to shopping the sale (through being a Nordstrom cardholder) is a plus. Find details on Nordstrom card application and benefits here.
Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2021 Dates: In 2021, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale could be previewed by everyone on July 6th. Icon status cardholders can shop the sale starting July 12th. Ambassador status cardholders can shop the sale starting July 14th. Influencer status cardholders can shop July 16th. And the public can shop the sale beginning July 28th before prices increase August 9th.
Below I’ve linked my favorites and what I’ll be shopping this year…
This is the only lip plumper I use consistently; not only does it work, I find it makes my lips plumper over time. I love layering the lip gloss over the lip balm. They give lips the most perfect pink glow.
This creamy eyeshadow set sold out quickly last year and for good reason. The colors are gorgeous, wearable neutrals and the formula is easily blended into both shadow and liner applications. This set has saved me so much time getting ready as a busy mama with limited time for makeup.
I love stocking up on this nail polish remover because it’s the only one I’ve tried that has a pleasant scent. Since I had Georgina, I often do my nails myself because I don’t have the ability to pop into a nail salon as much. This set comes with a tap-pump bottle and a large refill bottle.
I discovered this fragrance last year and fell in love; it’s a sweet floral without being too candy-sweet and has a hint of sensuality to it. This set comes with a full-size fragrance, shower gel, and body cream. Fragrance notes: Turkish rose, lily of the valley, rose, lychee, bergamot, rhubarb, nutmeg, cashmere wood, and musk.
Such a fresh, clean, yet still feminine fragrance. This set gives you two small bottles of each; perfect for travel. Would make a great gift to tuck away for someone as well. Fragrance notes of Eau de Parfum: ginger, tuberose, and sandalwood. Fragrance notes of Eau Poivrée: pink peppercorn, tender rose, and patchouli.
I swear by this dry shampoo for its light, fresh scent and its impressive absorbing power. It’s so nice to have a bottle this large; my previous jumbo Nordstrom Anniversary version has lasted me an entire year!
Oribe products give you that full, sexy-scented hair so many of us want but few of us are born with. The dry shampoo is great, but the Dry Texturing Spray is my favorite. I spray it toward the bottom half of my hair when I’m done styling it, then tousle with fingers. Such a great set to grab on sale or gift to the hair-obsessed woman in your life.
This is a great skin cream if you’re looking for something to plump skin with moisture and create a luminous glow. The full size Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream alone is usually $210, so at $155 this is a great opportunity to experience it while getting to try out travel sizes of the Black Rose Cream Mask and Black Rose Precious Facial Oil as well.
If you treat yourself to one thing this sale, let it be this mirror! I consider mine a game changer when it comes to skincare and makeup and have gifted this a few times. The first time I took mine home, I think I spent an hour tweezing hairs and doing pore extractions I had missed in my regular mirror.
I passed up this set either one or two years ago during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and regretted it, so I’m putting them on my list this year. I love using body oils, especially ones with just a hint of shimmer during the summer months. This set comes with two travel-size bottles in golden and bronze shades.
I had heard such great things about this deodorant and finally bought the set during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale last year. The reason for the hype is… It just works so well! I have no idea what they put in this product, but it’s better than any other deodorant I’ve tried. The scent is pleasant but not overpowering; I wear it every day and it doesn’t clash with my perfume. This set comes with three deodorants and a travel-size Cashmere Mist perfume.
Georgie wasn’t a big fan of her infant car seat. Once she had outgrown it and we finally switched to a Nuna brand toddler seat (the Nuna EXEC All-In-One) it was so much better. I was recently in Nordstrom and I saw this car seat, lifted it, and could not believe how light it was compared to my last infant car seat. It made my decision easy and so I purchased this car seat a few weeks ago! I wish I had known it would be in the sale just a few weeks later.
Georgie is obsessed with these jelly shoes. She outgrew her first pair and kept going into the spare bedroom where I was gathering her outgrown clothing and shoes and putting them on, desperate to keep them around! I stocked up so she’ll always have a pair of jelly Mary Janes that fit. This pair is so darling, I had to put them on my shopping list for the sale.
One of the Duchess of Cambridge’s favorite brands, Smythe has beautiful fabrics and flattering feminine tailoring. This wool blazer is timeless and feels like the type I would wear for years to come. One of my favorite go-to fall and winter outfits is to throw on a blazer with a hint of English influence like this over a tee or silk blouse, jeans, and boots.
These jewelry boxes are so beautifully made, they’re like little works of art. I had this on my wishlist for years and my husband gifted me one for Christmas last year. They look beautiful displayed in a closet or on a dresser and hold so much jewelry. Depending on the size you order, they come with a travel jewelry case and a smaller jewelry box for tucking into a safe or lockbox for safekeeping. If you have a little less room, take a peek at this Medium version.
My favorite leggings of all time! Thick material, great compression, a flattering fit, and fabric that holds up wash after wash have made these my #1 choice the past few years. They run true to size and come in maternity leggings as well, which are great for pregnancy and postpartum. I usually pick up a fresh pair of these during the sale and have gifted them to friends as well.
I couldn’t curate my women’s favorites from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale without mentioning the Moonlight Pajamas. Soft, stretchy, and in a flattering classic silhouette, these pajamas will quickly become your favorite. I have had mine for years and they are one of my favorite items to gift as well. Order true to size for a loose fit and order one size down if you prefer your pajamas more fitted. (Not pictured in collage – I ran out of room!)
It took me about ten minutes after walking into our house for the first time to completely fall in love with it. One of the biggest reasons was the thoughtful layout, centered around family life. We were told it was built by a large Catholic family and all of the details they added make so much sense. This sun-drenched room was perfect for a children’s playroom; it has large built-in storage cabinets and a bathroom around the corner and I can see Georgie playing while I’m doing laundry and cleaning up after breakfast. It even has a cozy fireplace for chilly winter afternoons.
This was the first finished room in our house. (You can read the House Q+A I wrote from your questions submitted on Instagram.) We realized how much we utilized the playroom in our last house and we knew we would need a spot for Georgie to play during moving, unpacking, and all the repair/maintenance appointments that followed; I felt like they never ended and it was key to have a designated spot for her to be able to play without being underfoot!
My mom and I decorated this on our own but my decorator came up with the idea to paint the ceiling in Sherwin Williams’s beautiful “Little Boy Blu”, evoking the feeling of blue sky peeking through. The walls are Farrow & Ball’s “White Tie” and the trim is Sherwin Williams “Ivory Lace”. With a view of the outdoors, this room feels like a little garden oasis. In the future, we may do a trellis wallpaper or painted garden mural on the walls. And once the children need more of a study area versus a playroom, they will be relegated elsewhere and this room will become my office and craft area. (And I already have my sights set on a chintz-filled theme Mario Buatta would approve of!) But for now, it’s an ideal spot for Georgie to read and play while I’m still close by.
I feel badly using the real estate listing photo for the “before” photo, but I’m afraid this room was always so taped off during home improvements, I had difficulty getting a good “before” photo of my own.
A few tips I picked up while decorating this playroom…
Stick to neutral colors. I always lean toward soft neutrals when decorating a playroom; the colorful books and toys infuse plenty of color into the space.
Organize books by color. Speaking of books, one of the best things I’ve learned from watching The Home Edit is to organize books by color. It’s not only pleasing to the eye, it makes my mid-day and nightly tidying go so much faster.
Reduce clutter… Constantly. When I moved in, I needed/wanted to purge Georgie’s toys. I did this by asking myself how long she played with an item (stuffed animals were excluded as littles can be quite fickle with these). If she played with the item for less than five minutes, I donated it. Something tells me this will be a lifelong process, so when things feel cluttered again, I try to take a look at what I could rid out.
Contain small toys in bins. Bins seem to be essential for containing small toys and little toy collections like Georgie’s stuffed bunnies. I love these stacking bins, but you should be aware they come in rows so you will have to purchase the number of stackable rows you need. (We have three.) As a result, you’ll need to utilize the included hardware to attach them together and tether them to the wall for safety.
Store stuffed animals in baskets. Every mom I talk to mentions the dreaded stuffed animal collection… It never stops growing! But they’re darling, so I am happy to find a place for them. I love these stacked baskets for storing stuffed animals. They’re beautiful, light, and you can organize the stuffed animals by size.
Add some area rugs. Someone asked me if the rugs shed as reviews mentioned. I have not experienced shedding yet after nearly three months of use and this is in a very high traffic of our house. That being said, I don’t get down on the floor often as we have a shedding dog and I’m usually trying to keep my clothes clean. Maybe this process occurs in the future… But I haven’t seen shedding yet.
Tidy daily. “How do you keep it tidy” was a popular question. I try to tidy when Georgie takes her nap and after she goes to bed at night. I think it’s the only way to keep your sanity with a toddler. Some days I’m just too tired or have other things to do during those times and I always regret skipping it because I end up spending so much more time tidying later. If it’s too much to tackle at once, just set your timer for fifteen minutes and see what you can tidy in that amount of time.
You seemed to love the “bunny brunch” we had in the playroom the morning before Easter and had so many questions about this space, so I hope I answered most of them!
Thank you so much for submitting these questions via Instagram. It was fun to reflect and answer them for you! I truly love finding inspiration and then seeing the way decor transforms a space; I know so many of you love interior decor as much as I do. I can’t wait to share more about the decor progress as we continue to get settled in our new home.
1. What made you decide to move?
The decision to move was one that took us a while; my husband and I aren’t the type that enjoys moving every 3-4 years. We really love investing in a home, making it ours, and filling it with memories. Both our parents live in the same houses we spent the majority of our childhoods in and we would like to recreate that for our own children.
Ultimately, we simply outgrew our previous house. I know I could probably expand into a 20k sq ft space if given the opportunity, but… We really did run out of space for our needs. It felt like things were just exploding out of every drawer and corner. We needed an additional bedroom(s) and a bigger playroom for our growing family, more storage space for decor and children’s items, and more general space for the family to spread out and relax. After living through lockdown and the pandemic, we realized we preferred to be in a safe, quiet neighborhood with a larger yard for our children to play in. We were tired of city living and felt that a more quiet, distant place better suited our current family lifestyle.
2. Anything about the old house you will miss?
It was nice to be so close to everything – especially before we had Georgina when we wanted to go out a bit more. And I will miss my big, beautiful dressing room I created in an extra bedroom that was all mine! It was fun to have a designated closet space like that. But again, that was my pre-mom life and my priorities were different and I had more time to get dressed and play in my closet!
I will always cherish that house because of the memories we made there; it’s where we began our little family. We bought it just after we got engaged, came home to it after our wedding and honeymoon, planted the garden together by hand, brought our newborn daughter Georgina home from the hospital and celebrated her first birthday in that garden, and I said goodbye to my sweet dog Lola there this past year. Seven years of memories!
3. Did you know you were pregnant when you were house shopping?
Actually, we didn’t! We started our last round of house hunting in September and we found our house in October. A couple of months later, we closed on our house and found out I was pregnant just a few days later! We were both so shocked and excited! It was the best surprise ever. During the negotiation process, I was getting frustrated and told my mom I felt like the little girl in A Miracle on 34th Street who asks Santa for a house and a baby. I guess Santa certainly delivered on that wish!
The timing was difficult in the first trimester, but I’m so glad to have the most difficult parts of renovating, packing, moving, and unpacking behind me. We did about two months of home improvement projects, then moved in and put our old house on the market. I can’t imagine doing that in these last months of pregnancy. I’ve started nesting and now I just want to organize, finalize projects, and work on the nursery.
4. How did you decide to buy vs. build?
We did about 2-3 rounds of house hunting and we did consider building; we looked at both lots and houses. But we felt both of us having only owned new construction builder homes previously, we just didn’t have the experience necessary to build a custom home from the beginning. (I have to say, simply going through these minor renovations and home improvements has reinforced that!) And we didn’t want to wait so long to move – now knowing I’m pregnant, thank goodness we didn’t!
My husband and I love traditional, classic, older homes which are rare here in Denver so we knew there was a chance we might have to build what we wanted. Luckily, we soon found our perfect home and completely fell in love with its classic character and charm. We both got “that” feeling and knew it was ours from the moment we set foot in it.
5. How did you find your house?
My husband saw the listing for our new house online and it was in the area we had been hoping and praying to be in… So we made a showing appointment with our realtor and drove up to the house, surrounded by all of this gorgeous fall foliage and leaves gently falling down around us. It was so picturesque, I felt like we were in a Nancy Myers film or something. As soon as I saw the interior and we walked the layout I was positive this was the house for us. I would go to sleep looking at photos of it every night; I was completely smitten. Since moving in, John and I have both noticed how it immediately felt like “our house”; we instantly just felt at peace here, so I think it was meant to be.
6. Will this be this your “forever” home?
If you ask my husband, he will say we will move one more time and build our retirement home. But I truly despise moving and having all of our things out of place, so I honestly don’t know if I could go through a major move again. I also think it would be hard for me to leave the house where our children grow up and make so many memories. I’m too sentimental!
Instead of moving again in the future, I would love to have a vacation spot in a warm weather location. That way, we could spend time with our family there over the years while keeping our home base. Maybe escape these lengthy Colorado Spring snowstorms! But never say never…
7. Where do you find your traditional furniture and decor? What is the title of the painting (pictured above) and the artist’s name?
There are so many places to search if you love traditional furniture! We do take a lot of hand-me-downs from parents; great pieces have great bones and can easily be reupholstered or updated through the years. It’s one of the most sustainable things you can do! There are amazing finds to be had at estate sales, local antique shops, eBay Local Pickup, and even Craigslist. I am never above hunting for the right piece.
If you love to travel, bringing home a beautiful piece of art or a special antique can help you cherish those memories forever. Compared to prices in the US, I’ve found that antiques in the UK and France are priced comparatively low which gives you a little wiggle room to pay for shipping. Walking through the Cotswolds and Provence was one incredible antique shop after another. They have such lovely pieces, I would ship home entire shops if I could!
The painting you’ve asked about (pictured above) is new and called “Luscious” by Stephanie Birdsall (website here) a talented artist of whom I now consider myself a devoted fan for life. The way she captures the femininity and softness of flowers is breathtaking. Another artist I would recommend is a young, up-and-coming artist named Anna Rose (website here) from Denver. I’m lucky to have one of her pieces and find myself admiring it all the time.
8.What were your priorities for renovation? Would you recommend your painter/contractors?
One of the major selling points of our new house was the fact it was in such great condition – especially for being an older home. And we were so grateful none of the previous owners had altered the classic details that made it so special to us; the beautiful trim and millwork throughout. So many elegant old houses here in Denver have (attempted to be) converted into modern houses and they just look and feel strange to me. This house has all its original charm intact and we truly cherish it! We didn’t want to change it in any material way or take the character away from it.
I would say a list of priorities is the most important part of starting a renovation because you never know what is going to eat up your timeline and budget. My top priorities were new paint throughout, new carpeting, and then simple things to freshen it up like new light fixtures, new can lights/exhaust fans, and new hardware here and there. Then came wallpapering Georgie’s bedroom to recreate her nursery and freshening up her bathroom without doing a full reno. The current projects are wallpapering the powder room and dining room, starting the new nursery and nursery bathroom, and replacing the tile in the kitchen. Down the road we will replace the tile and wallpaper the guest bathroom; this project left the priorities list once we found out I was pregnant!
We had a fantastic carpet layer who did our carpet throughout and even figured out a solution to complicated custom staircase runners. Our wallpaper installer is incredible; he drives down from the mountains to do our projects and is a true perfectionist when it comes to wallpaper. The person who did our painting and contractor work would be great for any painting or handyman projects you have; he’s affordable and knows how to do everything from plumbing to electrical work, so it’s nice to have all of that done with one person. I may reach out to someone else for the tile/bathroom projects specifically, because I simply don’t know much about that and I don’t know if I could properly direct/supervise the person we’ve been using for everything else. Happy to share these contacts if you need.
9. What was the process like for your trim work? Would you recommend doing this?
Since our trim is all original to the house, we didn’t have to do much! We had absolutely everything painted before we moved in and we chose Sherwin Williams “Ivory Lace” in semi-gloss for all the trim, doors, and cabinetry. It’s a soft, warm white and it just looks beautiful on the details in the trim.
I personally love trim and crown moulding. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I do think it adds such charm and elegance to a space. Even adding it in a few certain areas like your dining room or staircase will make a major impact.
10. What paint color combinations did you use in your house? Paint advice? What paint color looks best with gold gilt frames?
The importance of paint color combinations is one of the things I had no idea about before we renovated this house. I painted two ceilings pure white before my decorator got her hands on me and said, “No no no!” Hahaha. You don’t want stark white, boring ceilings or walls… There’s so much warmth and feeling you can bring in through paint colors and I’ve learned so much through this process.
We listened to everyone else who suggested satin and eggshell finish for the paint, but regretted that decision every time. I recommend using a matte finish on your wall colors (trim is a different story and needs to be semi-gloss) because it looks much nicer; we even had a few rooms repainted in a matte finish because we hated the sheen of the satin finish so much.
You also need to test and retest paint colors in different lighting; paint an entire wall, watch the way the colors change throughout the day and evening. I made this mistake in Georgie’s bathroom and the color is much too saturated; I think we will have to repaint this space all because I didn’t take the time to paint the entire wall and keep monitoring it throughout various lights. These are all lessons learned and completely normal during the renovation process!
As far as gold frames go, I don’t think you can go wrong… They are my personal favorite! But I have to say, gold really pops on the creamy white of Farrow & Ball’s “White Tie” and looks incredible against the soft blue of Sherwin Williams “Sleepy Hollow”.
Master Bedroom: Sherwin Williams “Maison Blanche”
Master Bathroom: Sherwin Williams “Sleepy Hollow”
Family Room: SW “Clary Sage” on walls, SW “Colony Buff” on ceiling (was supposed to be SW “Patience”)
Playroom: Farrow & Ball “White Tie” on walls, SW “Little Boy Blue” on ceiling
Kitchen, Hallways: SW “Natural Linen” on walls, SW “Honied White” on ceiling
Piano Room: SW “Pavilion Beige” on walls, SW “Colony Buff” on ceiling
Dining Room: Schumacher “Brighton Pavilion” wallpaper, SW “Light French Gray” on ceiling
11. One thing you learned while renovating/doing improvements?
Always plan for your projects to cost more and to take longer than expected. And as I mentioned above, I learned so much about the importance of paint and getting the color and finish just right.
Another thing I learned… It’s so tempting to do little bits of projects; a light fixture here, painting that room over there. But suddenly you’ve spent so much time and money and no one room truly feels finished. I was told I couldn’t take a section of tile out from Georgie’s bathroom and now I’m wishing I had looked for someone else to do it; the room will never feel finished to me until I do. Jenny from Tallwood Country House (@tallwoodcountryhouse on Instagram) once said to focus on one room/project at a time and do it well. This may mean you live with some spaces in need of updating, but that’s okay… I personally enjoy always having a project ahead of me!
12. Are you finished with renovations or do you have more projects in store?
I don’t know if a house is ever truly finished; especially if you love interior decorating. By the time you’ve finished your current list, it’s time to reupholster a few chairs or renovate a bathroom.
My goal is to take a little break from major projects once the new baby is here! We’ve talked about doing a full kitchen reno down the road in 3-5 years, but kitchen renos are so beastly I will put it off for as long as possible. The idea of littles and no refrigerator or oven for a couple of months sounds brutal.
13. What is the mud room/laundry room organization like?
We don’t have a mud room in this house. But we do have built-ins in our garage, a garden shed, and a coat closet. I do love a mud room, but it seems with these other areas we don’t really need one right now.
My previous laundry room was more like a closet and when I was pregnant with Georgie I could barely get past the doors with my bump and a full basket of laundry! We now have a proper laundry room with plenty of storage and it is so nice. I have been working on organization in this area so I can share it with you. I think it’s an area we all struggle with in terms of organization.
14. What is your home office/command center organization like?
This is one piece I sacrificed when we moved here! I used to have my own office, but once I had Georgina I found I was much more likely to grab my laptop and do some work from the sofa or even my bed. It was much more important for John to have a nice office to work from home and the children to have their own space for a playroom. My desk and computer are currently in our cozy family room where I will be able to watch the children more easily. And the large antique piece I use for office storage is in the piano room, so I dart in there if I need my camera charger or a stamp. Once the children are older with less toys and prefer to be away from us to study we will make an area for that and I will get to decorate a feminine space for my office in their former playroom.
15. Your favorite part about your new house?
Oh my goodness. Everything! Aside from our neighborhood which I have completely fallen in love with, I would say the traditional layout is my favorite part of the new house. It just fits our needs perfectly and feels like a truly cozy family home. In our previous open floor plan house, we felt we just lived in one main area the entire time. Most of Georgina’s toys were always out in our main living space and I couldn’t hide them if someone popped by. Now everything seems to have its own space. Lots of natural light, lots of great built-ins for storage, and space.
16. Does Georgie like the new house? What is her favorite part?
Georgina has always been such a great sleeper, so we were terrified she wouldn’t sleep at the new house! But we moved her crib in first and she actually sleeps better here than at the old house. She settled in right away and loves wandering around, exploring the rooms.
I think Georgie’s favorite part of this house is her playroom. She loves coloring and making her little play dough creations at her table. And I love peeking around the corner and seeing her looking through one of her books in her little armchair. I’m working on a playroom post with all the links for you – it should be posted soon!