We are having a costume party here in the office today.  There are only two of us.  And we're having a contest. 

{I am Pumpkin Head}
..And yes, that is a torn open bag of candy that I got into...
...And yes, I am pregnant...

And Meghan...
Is a ghost.

We're taking votes.

The winner will take this beauty home:

No, I'm just kidding.  I'm not giving Meghan my dog. 

But the winner will get THIS:

Happy Halloween!!  Feel free to cast your vote in the comments section.

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love and you are not frightened away by this post, contact me about our design services.

pps- We just moved offices a week or 2 ago & are in the midst of redoing it.  Will be sure to post pics as soon as we have them!

Terrariums- Why Not?

I saw a couple of interesting terrariums at High Point Market that I just loved.  You might remember that although I love plants & flowers, I have a black thumb when it comes to indoor plants.  (Although there is 1 plant in my house that has been alive for a year now!)  I've always liked terrariums and have never given them a shot.  After seeing some "easy" (according to their owners) beauties at Market, I think I'll try them out. 

{Europe 2 You's terrarium filled with a gorgeous oregano that looks like flower blossoms- who knew??)

Here's a more modern version filled with succulents & tropical plants:

{At Bevara Design House}

I love this one:

{image via Design Sponge}

...And I can actually do moss.  Sort of.

This one is whoah:

{image via theoptimisticmuse.blogspot.com}

...And this little ferny fern I could maybe handle:

{image via weegohome.com}

My window boxes are half dead ( I have plans to add in some mums to replace the ferns I killed) and maybe when I've finished with that I'll get some terrariums in the plant hospice (my house).

Have a great one!! 

xoxo, Lauren

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

Home from Market

Whew!  We're home from a whirlwind few days down in High Point North Carolina for the Furniture Market.  Before I was in this business I had no idea something like it even existed.  High Point is literally a little city of showrooms.  In the 3 days we were there we didn't even see half of it.  But we did get to my favorite restaurant, Printworks Bistro, at the Proximity Hotel:

{Seriously the most gorgeous restaurant ever: light, airy, fresh & completely unexpected (see the Louis dining chairs in chartreuse toile??)  They have curtains separating the dining areas and hanging boxwood balls and textural drum shades add interest.  The colors are perfection (go green!! ;)  and the food is HEAVEN. 

We found some really amazing new-to-us companies & artists:

{Owen Mortenen creates works of art out of the natural things he finds on walks. }

I'm crazy about his Golden Raintree Studies made out of seed pods found from a tree that grows in Utah:

Natural & organic-feeling yet totally modern.  To read more, click here.

I loved this sconce by Luna Bella:

Some of the showrooms had the most amazing displays:

{Luna Bella}

{Spicher and Company}

The next few are of the Karen Robertson Showroom: 

I loved seeing so many of these detailed pieces jam-packed on the walls.  Totally jaw-dropping and they made me want to do a beach house STAT.

and switching up to...

{Halo Styles}

As far as showrooms/ booths at Market go, I really love going into the "more is more" type showrooms that are jam-packed because they feel like trasure troves.  Even if they're not at all my style, I appreciate them.  Check this one out:

{Genesee River Trading Co.}

And another view of the same showroom:

I loved some of their old games tables & kitchsy things.

The best part is, I was with my partner in crime pretty much the whole time sans-kiddos.  (Although we did really miss them!!)

And we got to see some of our favorite people!!

{Me & Michele of My Notting Hill.  Michele was one of a group of bloggers invited to Market to see all of the lastest & greatest.  She sweetly invited me along with her to an Architectural Digest party as her "plus 1" where we saw lot of big designers & industry people including one of my favorites Margaret Russell.   I also met Bunny Williams (more like stalked her as she was leaving the party and she seemed to be one of the kindest, most genuine designers I've met.  She asked what my name was & where I was from (go VA!  If you know about Bunny, you might know she's from Charlottesville, VA) and  } and was just very nice. 

{scaaaary red eyes on me with my friend Paloma of La Dolce Vita & Visual Comfort.  Paloma is also an old blog friend & I've loved watching her career evolve.  She's now the director of marketing for Visual Comfort, one of the best lighting companies in the industy.  }

{Roxanne Lumme, one of my good local design friends.  We ran into so many people from home!!! }

{Me with one of my first & closest design buds, Eddie Ross.  My camera ended up going out on me that night and I didn't get a group shot Dave & I with both Eddie & Jaithan.  We're always all pretty much laughing the entire time we hang out. }

I also got to see  bloggers (but didn't get pics with- arggg!) Erin of House of Turquoise, Stephan of Architect Design , Jen Sergent, and Traci of Traci Zeller Designs.  We got to hang with Traci for a while at a party one night & it was so good to catch up.  At a Hearst Magazine party we saw our good friend Matthew Talomie of Elle Decor & got to meet the team from Elle Decor Magazine, who were all really sweet & down to earth.  We also ran into a bunch of DC Designers & friends throughout the weekend: Patrick Sutton, Erin Paige Pitts, David Mitchell, Victoria Sanchez, Barbara Franceski and Sally Steponkus.  It was SO much fun.

We got a TON accomplished at this market.  I found so many new great sources for projects that I can't wait to use.  Even though I'm exhausted right now I'm feeling pretty charged design-wise.

xoxo, Lauren

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

10 Things to Do to Cozy up your House for Fall

When the seasons change, I get a little excited (ok, sometimes a lot excited) & have the urge to bring that feeling into my home.  I think most of us who really love our homes do.   And if you think about it, when we're little kids, we pretty much start doing this right away in preschool.  Every year I remember doing crafts with leaves in the fall and making cheesy things out of pinecones at Christmastime & so on. 

 This year has been particularly crazy for our family with work & time (& the lack of it) and I haven't gotten the chance to really do much around the house, so I thought a little refresher list of 10 easy things to do might get me in gear to make some small changes around the house for Fall.  

{a tree in our neighborhood, last year}

So here they are:
1.  Switch out throw pillows to ones with warmer tones & cozier-feeling materials

{Image via pinterest & I couldn't find the original cource}

2. Add more throw blankets around the house or switch out existing summer throws to thicker, cozier ones.  I really love my faux fur throws, especially for napping and bringing outside onto the back patio at night. 

{image from homedecorators.com}

3. Even if you don't have time to bake, you can fake that Heavenly smell with candles and/or diffusers.  I have pumpkin pie-scented candles & diffusers all over the house (and vanilla cake too!) and I want to eat them!!!

{image from Country Living}

4.  Have healthy seasonal food around for the munching.  (so you don't eat your candles}  Bowls of walnuts or apples in the family room and/ or kitchen invite everyone to enjoy seasonal goodies.  I'm always more likely to eat something when it's within reaching distance.

{my vintage peanut stocked with almonds}

{little bowl of walnuts}

5.  Art & Accessories:  There are certain places in my house where I'll switch paintings around or swap out accessories.  The mantle is one of the easiest places to do this because you can just prop artwork & don't have to put holes in the walls. 

{our mantle for Fall}

Bookshelves are another good place for this.  Before I had two kids, I used to really rearrange our books by color seasonally. 

{Some of my old "fall"-colored books...  My English teacher husband doesn't approve of my seasonal genres.}

(I know it sounds like I must have been on crack, but I really kind of miss the book rearranging. ) In the Fall, I'd make the orange & browns & golden books stand out more by placing them most prominently and in the Spring & Summer, I'd pull out the blues & aquas.  Now I'm lucky if the books are even on the shelves. 

{our super-crammed living room bookshelf...  not much rearranging happening here these days...  I've now realized that by the time I have the time to do that again, I'll probably be missing my kids.}

6.  Bring in leaves & branches from your yard.  (or your neighbors' yards! ;) ;) hee hee.  I found these cool orange-needled branches last Fall:  (I told you I hadn't gotten much done this year ;)  I love going on walks with the family & collecting things from outside.

7.  Pumkins & gourds:  They usually last a really long time & I pretty much always have pumpkins & gourds leftover from Halloween on the Thanksgiving table.  Piling them on your porch and around the house makes it really feel like Fall.  Kids love them too.

{Last year's Thanksgiving Table}

8.  Have fires when you can.  With a toddler in our house, our fires are a little few & far between but when we do have them, I'm in Heaven.  It just seems to lead to good family hang-out time.  On Fall nights, we love doing fires outside & roasting marshmallows.

{mmm mmm I loooooove s'mores!!}

9. Bedding:  In the Fall we add extra blankets to our bed including a down comforter & a throw blanket for napping at the foot of the bed.  It's been a fairly warm Fall so I do end up kicking them off a lot of the time at night.. maybe I made the switch too early this year?? 

{I love the faux fur blanket on Tia Zoldan's bed in this pic}

10. And finally... (you know I'd have to include some real eating in here)- Soup!  We try to make weekly batches of soup or pasta sauce in the Fall & Winter.  It feels so good on a cool day to be warm & toasty inside eating soup.  My mom makes an amazing pumpkin curry soup in the Fall:

{I'll have to get the actual recipe from my mom but the amazing-looking pumpkin soup pictured above is from Sweet Peas Kitchen and you can view the recipe here:  http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2011/09/16/harvest-pumpkin-soup/ }

Anyway, would love to hear about the changes you've been making in your house for Fall.  I'll keep you posted on my progress!!

xoxo, Lauren

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

Sneakity Peek- Vignette

(ignore me in the mirror ;)

Here's a little pic from an install we did this summer...  I'll be sure to take better pics when the artwork is installed in the next couple of weeks but I thought this little {unstyled} vignette sums up the style of the rooms pretty well.  These particular clients have been a dreeeeeeam to work with and the results are very personal & comfortable & natural with the teensiest hint of a modern edge.  I want to go hang there and am slightly obsessed with the soft, comfy braided jute rugs we used.  :)

The dining room is beyond the living room and you can spy a bit of the green grasscloth on the walls. 

xoxo, Lauren

**update**  I've received lots of emails about the jute rugs.  We had these custom bound and the jute itself is from Stark Carpet.  Thanks!! :)

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

Happy Fall Sunday

Hope you're loving this perfect Fall Sunday!!
(And I guess that would mean not reading this until Monday!! ;) ;)

It's crisp & cool here and finally dry.  We've been loving our lazy weekends lately... hiking, laying around & eating.  (Is that bad?? )  Today we're headed to the Renaissance Fair in Maryland for some turkey legs and steamed artichokes.... oh yeah, and to see costumes & such.

Have a good one.

xoxo, Lauren

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

Patina Style

I've been meaning to write about this book for a while now.  When I first got it in the mail, I pretty much devoured every page & picture.  Patina Style is written by my good friends, Brooke & Steve Giannetti, and is one of the most beautiful, insightful, honest design books I've ever read. 

Patina Style is all about Brooke & Steve's unique design & lifestyle philosophy.  It's about celebrating the imperfect, appreciating the marks that time & age leave on your home & on your things, and juxtaposing masculine & feminine, curvy with straight.  Their look is full of soft muted colors that just sort of surround you rather than call attention to themselves. 

I first discovered Brooke's blog, Velvet & Linen, around the same time I started blogging & reading blogs.  I was seriously drooly over it & all of their work.  Everything the Giannaetti's do is just beautiful & has a soulful quality.  Brooke is a designer and Steve is a renowned architect & together they own Giannetti Home, a shop in LA.  We visited them & their kids last Winter at their home & it is one of the warmest, most personal & "real" feeling homes I've ever visited.  (Of course they are too!  Leila & Nick were so good to Christian and put up with him tirelessly chasing them around with toy cars. ;) ;)  But almost everything I touched just had a solidarity & a history about it. 

In this day & age, it's sometimes hard to get people to see that imperfect is beautiful.  (Read about creating "imperfect" spaces here.)  So many people out there want shiny & new and don't understand how beautiful pieces with history & patina are.  One of the first things I did when I got the book was show it to my dad.  If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that we butt heads design-wise a LOT.  We're almost finished restoring my grandparents' old cottage and it's been a tug-of-war the entire time.  He watches a lot of HGTV and sees them constantly adding granite countertops, buying new furniture, etc.  and is constantly wanting to go there.  Showing him Patina Style was a breakthrough for us.  He started to get that there is beauty in the imperfect, that floors don't have to be shiny & new, and sratches & dings are okay.  (He is always telling me to get out a table cloth so we won't scratch the kitcen table- gah!)  But after looking through Patina Style with me, I got no more nagging for table cloths on the table and I think it made him a bit more open-minded about what we can & can't do to the house. 

{I love their aged natural pine floors}

Brooke & Steve definitely think outside of the box & love repurposing old things into new ones. One of my favorite examples of this is the dining room light fixture made out of an old industrial metal fram lined with linen:

The book is basically a manual on how to create the Patina Style look & incorporate it into your own home, making it personal.  It's full of real details and specific sources for things like paint, materials, shops and furnishings.  One of the things that has always struck me about Brooke is how willingly she shares information & how she genuinely wants to help others love their homes.  She's been a great friend to me & constantly inspires.

Congratulations to Brooke & Steve on a perfect (-ly imperfect! ;) book.  Love yas!!

To order the book, go here 

xoxo, Lauren

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