Stylin' Mamma: New Uniform

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Every Stylin' Mamma knows that sometimes you just gotta make some changes in order to keep yourself sane.  Maybe it means hiring a cleaning service once a month or signing up with Instacart (trust me on the Instacart, BTW -- game changer).  Maybe it means a new nanny, a new job, a new investment in a gym membership.
For yours truly, that time is now.  It's August and I'm officially Self-Employed, a move both frightening and liberating as I sit in my living room in my gym clothes on a Monday morning and tap away at a freelance job.  

I did a rather unsentimental closet purge yesterday, forcing myself to consider this new identity from a wardrobe perspective.  I need to be prepared to look good for work, but suddenly the basics are more in-demand than the Big Meeting one-offs.  

I'm taking LittleMan back-to-school shopping on Friday (hello, Kindergarten!) and as I ponder what I might need to throw in the bag for myself I'm obsessing over flexibility and comfort -- what can I wear at home, wear to a lunch meeting, wear to the park?  After all, this is about simplifying our lives...

Blazers:  1 black, 1 white.
Shift Dresses: 1 edgy, 1 conservative
Trousers: 1 skinny stretch will go the distance.
T-shirts: find your perfect fit and buy one in each of black, white, gray.
That Special Something...that takes it up a notch: Top, necklace

DESIGN BLUEPRINT: urban country

Monday, August 25, 2014

Do you love country style living, but you're a modern city girl at heart? Don't worry, there's a design solution for this. In fact, there's always a design solution for mixing styles.
This dining room, found on Studio Paterakis, is the ideal result of pairing modern and country style dining rooms. It's chic, yet comfortable.

Mid century modern chairs, plus the all-white palette help ground the space in a modern aesthetic. While the trestle style table, banquet seating and pitcher vase make this room perfect for casual Summertime meals, year-round! 

You can also spice it up with cool lighting to add a finishing touch.
Framed Art /
Chandelier / MGBW Home
Pitcher / Target
Table / Blu Dot
Chair /  Dot & Bo
Banquet Bench / Sears

CURATED NEST: Sweet Yellow

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In an attempt to hold on to the very last bit of Summer, I took a cue from one of Summertime's favorite desserts and curated a collection of yellow decor and fashion items. Yellow is such a fun bright color, for closet and casa!
Oh, and you can find this yummy recipe over at The Kate Tin. She puts a little twist on your typical lemon meringue pie and turned it into a cheesecake!

1. Hang All / Schoolhouse Electric
2. Cord Pendant / West Elm
3. Shelving / Room & Board
4. Watch / Bluefly
5. Dress / Mod Cloth
6. Serving Bowl / Ikea
7. Stool / Urban Loft
8. Sandal / Shopbop

How to Transform a Kitchen with Paint

Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm sure a lot of you have noticed that I've been seeking out various other projects now that our house is basically done on the interior.  I've been gardening like a maniac and much to my husband's chagrin I have been trolling Zillow like a maniac as well, hoping to find the next great house ripe for a revamp.  Of course, it's next to impossible to find something for the right price that is reno-worthy that also has our amazing proximity to town, trains, park etc.  But I have to keep looking so that opportunity doesn't pass me by!  In the meantime Zillow also has this amazing function Zillow Digs which is a great place to get and save design ideas for when that project does strike.  So when Jennifer from Zillow approached me about a guest post, the timing seemed perfect. Of course, kitchens are the best place to put money into a home from a value standpoint, and there is no better and cheaper way to transform a kitchen than with paint. Jennifer, take it away:

Kitchen remodels are expensive, often costing homeowners tens of thousands of dollars for complete overhauls. Some kitchens struggle cosmetically, but still have good structural integrity and layouts that don’t need rearranging. In these instances, dated cabinets, countertops, appliances and d├ęcor can be upgraded with one simple material: paint. 

Consider repainting the following four surfaces to freshen lackluster kitchens. 

Paint the Walls
Source: Greg Fischer
Select neutral shades, like off-white or light grey, to welcome natural light in the kitchen. Going too dark might make the space feel confined, and potentially deter real estate buyers in the future. Patch any wall divots or damages before priming. Using a high-quality applicator, apply smooth, even strokes of paint. Make sure to regularly dip rollers, otherwise the paint might dry out in bristles and cause fading.

Refinish Existing Cabinets
Rather than replace, reface cabinet doors and drawer fronts with paint. First, remove doors and wipe down the insides and fronts of cupboards. Cleaning is a crucial step in the process, since years of fingerprints and food splatters might compromise a smooth paint job. After thorough cleaning, prime the wood so the paint adheres correctly. For a high-gloss finish, use a sandable primer. Research paint types before selecting brand-specific colors. For instance, oil-based paints are best for long-term durability, but can be messy to handle. Latex paints specific for cabinetry emit fewer fumes, but don’t set as evenly as oil paints. Regardless of paint type, opt for a sprayer to ensure a smooth finish.
As long as they are in solid condition, keep cabinet boxes and frames. If doors and drawers have dated embellishments that can’t be sanded out, consider replacing them. Paint boxes and frames using the steps above to match or complement new, design-friendly doors.

Revamp Old Appliances
Source: Lexie Longstreet
Paint dirty or chipped appliances using specialty epoxy paint, one 6-inch foam roller, a foam brush and painter’s tape. First, wash appliances down with warm soap and water or an ammonia-based solution. Scrub nonmetal surfaces with steel wool to remove deep stains. Use the roller to apply paint and the brush to smooth out any air bubbles. Wait at least a few hours, preferably overnight, between two coats. This process can be applied to any dingy or dated fixtures, including refrigerators, range hoods, stoves, dishwashers and toasters. Match appliances for a polished, put-together look.

Create a Chalkboard Wall
Source: Martinkovic Milford Architects
Make to-do lists handy and messages visible with chalkboard walls. Choose locations close to the fridge or pantry door, so when items run out they can be easily noted. Leave important reminders about appointments and commitments for family and friends. Lightly sand shiny metal surfaces, like stainless steel, before applying chalkboard paint. Use painter’s tape to mark off the desired location, and allow curing for three days before use. Consider adding molding around chalkboard walls to conceal borders. “Season” the board by rubbing the entire surface with white chalk. Erase with a wet cloth or disposable towel.

According to the 2014 Cost vs Value report by Remodeling Magazine, major kitchen remodels cost an average of $109,935, with a resale value of $69,973 – meaning homeowners only get 63.6 percent of their investments recouped. Paint is extremely low-cost and especially beneficial for staging homes. Although basic, fresh paint modernizes culinary spaces temporarily to benefit existing residents and potential buyers alike.

Stylin' Mamma: Beating Blues with Blues

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sometimes you reach a point when you are just DONE.  

This morning, after a fabulous dinner party with old friends and with three days to go until our official summer vacation, all four of the people in our family woke up DONE.  DONE with work, DONE with camp, DONE with the muggy, foggy weather, DONE with the 5:30am gym routine and the lunch boxes and the rushing everybody through brushing their teeth and putting on shoes.  

It's time to go.  But we have three days to fight through.  So we moped through breakfast and I dropped off the kiddos, glum faces staring up at me, and then raced home to get dressed for work.  It's summer casual in the office and I found myself reaching, as I always do, for denim.  Beat the blues with blues, I say.  Beat the blues with blues. (And neutral shoes.)



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Now that Jessica's family is growing, I thought it appropriate to feature a really cool playroom.

This awesome space, via Depto 51, could either be just a really fun living room or a great playroom. It's like a great animated movie that event the parents enjoy.

There's that modern sofa that looks great, but would also be fun to sprawl out on and watch a movie. All the decorative pillows just pile on the personality. And the lighting... wow!

Here's how to get this cool look, for you and the kids....
Typographical Art / Lamps Plus
Framed Art / Crate & Barrel
Pendants / 
Nesting Dolls / Precious Little Things
Wall Light / Lamps Plus
Sofa / All Modern
Area Rug / Loom Rugs
Coffee Table / Danish Design Store
Accent Chair / Ikea
Pillows / 

The Front Yard and Porch

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Now that we are in the depths of summer (although it's only getting up to 81 degrees here today), I thought I'd give you a little update on our summer plantings and front yard projects. We haven't done much since the mulch project and I haven't really done that much planting in the front except for the melons I planted in the spring. That said, it's been very impressive to watch them grow.  Here is what the area between the walkway and the driveway looked like when we were doing the mulch project.
As you can see, the watermelon plants had really just started to leaf out and there was a lot of bare dirt.  Well, here is what that area looks like now. They are really doing a great job acting as a ground cover.

I love how the purple plum I planted this spring along with the purple coral bells and barberry contrast with the yellow door. And the grasses are starting to frame the entry nicely as well.

Here are some of the melons up close. We have seven total so far (we harvested one but realized it wasn't ripe so we are waiting for these to get a bit bigger and hoping that Floopy the cat continues to fend off the squirrels).

On the other side of the yard we have some cantaloupes growing.

And earlier in the summer we hung a porch swing which my mother painted yellow to match our door. I got some fun bolster pillows for cheap from Target that add a bit of pattern and tie into the color of the swing, the blue ceiling and the black floor.

Lucy's favorite activity is sitting on the swing and looking over Puo-puo's shoulder at the hydrangeas that are starting to bloom.

How is your summer shaping up?

CURATED NEST: Geometric madness

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I saw this triangle shelving from The Design Files and fell in love! I love all things geometric, but lately it's triangles. They're everywhere, whether you're shopping for your home or your closet!

If you love them like I do, check out these goodies...
1. Shelving Unit / All Modern
2. Necklace / Asos
3. Accent Pillow / Ferm Living
4. Poster / Society 6
5. Desktop Wallpaper / Design Love Fest
6. Blanket / Fine Little Day
7. Napkin/Paper Holder / Ferm Living

Looking ahead: Organization

Monday, August 4, 2014

Now that we are about 2/3 of the way through summer, I'm thinking ahead to the school year and fall projects. While I'm still itching to do more planting, the heat and my schedule haven't been very conducive to digging in the dirt, even though I am very excited to share some of my fruit and veggie harvests with you once I start reaping them.  Despite the fact that our house is essentially done - or perhaps because it is done - clutter has been gradually making its way onto bookshelves, into closets and pantries other collecting places.  I call this crap creep.  Granted, some of this existed before, since my focus prior to now was mainly on getting things looking good and not on the contents behind door or drawer fronts.  And I've done several cleanouts but with a new baby and all her accompanying accoutrement and other folks around who don't put things back where they came from (ehem...), it's hard to keep things organized. 

SO.... late summer and fall are going to be focused on organizing around Chez Davis.  Here is the state of affairs and my thoughts:

There is so much stuff shoved in here. And we have an excess of dried fruit and nut snacks (although not nearly as many boxes of pasta as my friend Leda over at Hipster Hausfrau).  I'm thinking just some simple organization, backstocking elsewhere, and labeling will do the trick. Really any chance to use my label maker is most welcome and I think this will solve the problem of people putting things back in the wrong places.
This area was not intended to be storage but the ledge on the left side was the perfect spot so it just sort of happened naturally.  But the paper bags hanging over into the stair can be super annoying. I'm thinking some narrow DIY shelving, cubbies and baskets for extra foodstuff would really clean up this area and make it more useful.
We have two of these closets - one on either side of our living room built-ins. This is the left side and it houses a lot of off season stuff.  This photo was taken before I jammed a giant pack of toilet paper and paper towels in the top.  I think adding a temporary shelf to the top area would help a lot and maybe going through the coats and getting them to an attic wardrobe would help as well.

I've blogged about updating our linen closet before but still haven't gotten around to it. It's not horrible but updating the organization a little bit, adding a little paint, new drawer bottoms and some new hardware will take this pretty far (and how about some hooks or a little bulletin board on the inside of the door?)

Finally, the master closet. Again, not horrible. Scott needs to go through his clothes and do a Goodwill run.  And I need to figure out how to get lighting into this cave. That would do wonders.

Updates coming as I tackle each space - be patient with me though. I'm always over ambitious. 

What projects do you have planned for the rest of the year?