Porch Tales

 

I’m an autumn girl at heart, but I’ve really been enjoying the heck out of this summer! All of the bits and pieces of work that have been put into the back and front yards over the past two years seem to finally be paying off, and I’ve been spending much more time enjoying the outdoors than usual.

 

 

There were a few things I wanted to knock off my to-do list before the temperature starts to dip again – landscape the small front yard, replace the porch light fixture with something more modern, strip and paint the back deck, and repaint the porch swing.

The front yard is looking rough in these photos that were taken in the midst of a July dry spell, but I managed to plant some new things this spring! Three peony bushes, some white poppies, and a few others joined the hosta and irises that was already there. (Now to move all of those river rocks!)

 

 

I also potted a bunch of things for the porches – herbs, hen and chicks, and lambs ear just to name a few. Add in the indoor plants I’d brought out for the summer and I realized that what was lacking were a few accent tables to set them on top of. A pair of woven Kai Water Hyacinth indoor-outdoor tables were the perfect thing because they pull double-duty when I’m entertaining as a place to set drinks and things. Cheers to the current wicker trend because I’m loving it and they’re wearing wonderfully.

 

 

Can you tell I’ve been using the bench and tables as my potting area as well? I really need to get that situation under control, but also kind of like how all of those stacked terra-cotta pots look just hanging out.

Project Repaint the Porch Swing is about 50% finished after cleaning off decades of grime. Initially I’d planned on painting it a semi-gloss black to match the front door, but now I’m second-guessing myself and considering a stain. Either way it’ll be back in action by fall and – most importantly – out of my driveway.

Unfortunately we’ve had an incredibly rainy summer here in Pennsylvania, so I had to make the decision to put off redoing the deck until next spring.

 

 

I picked out a fresh new light fixture for the front porch – this matte black Vance LED Outdoor Ceiling Light that oh so modern – and that’s where the good news on that project comes to a full stop. After removing the ancient pendant that was up there, we discovered the wiring was a huge (RE: unsafe) issue and that this project may have been a blessing in disguise. The grounding wire was blackened and charred while the other two wires were both white, rather than one black and one white. Essentially the light that I used every evening could have sparked at any time, and now it’s turned into a rewiring project as well. I’m looking forward to getting it wrapped up soon so that I can share that as well!

 

 

In the meantime, I need to replant that little Meyer lemon tree in the yellow pot and keep all my fingers crossed that the herbs survive once I have to bring them indoors. But first I think I’ll go have some iced tea on the porch…

This post sponsored by Lamps Plus. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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10 Days of Design Crush Anniversary Giveaways: Day 3 Sherwin-Williams

 

Ten years ago this month I started Design Crush as a place to gather inspiration for my day job as a graphic designer, and five years ago it became my full-time job. To thank you all, as well as highlight some of my favorite sponsors from over the years, we’ll be hosting ten days of giveaways in celebration of ten years of this little site that could.

 

National Painting Week 2013: Inspiration Realized

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Sherwin-Williams more than any other sponsor, and this giveaway was the perfect reason to look back at all of the magic we’ve created together with their top-notch paint and my imagination!

First up was the front door at my house in Oklahoma City – did you know there’s a correct way to paint a door? I took the entry from builder beige to Energetic Orange in one spring afternoon and was thrilled with the outcome. It made my home stand out in a neighborhood full of blah.

 

National Painting Week 2014: A Little Less Blue, A Little More Light

The next year, as I was preparing to make my move halfway across the country, I was in the process of getting my home ready to put on the market. I partnered with Sherwin-Williams to downgrade the level of blue in the hall bath with a gallon of Mountain Air. The house sold in SIX DAYS, and I just know that relaxing spa-like space had something to do with it.

 

Custom Color Matching with Sherwin-Williams

When I bought my home in Pennsylvania that fall, I reached out to Sherwin-Williams for their expertise once again. After living in a home with rooms painted several colors I knew I wanted this space to be the exact opposite – as in all the same. I had a vision of a gallery-like space in my mind, one that would let my collection of art do the talking and fade away beautifully into the background. I was able to take a chip of paint from the baseboards into a Sherwin-Williams store, where they spent half an hour patiently helping me color match an end result that’s as unique as my 117 year old home.

 

National Painting Week 2015: The Office Reveal

Two springs ago we partnered once again, this time to give my home office a modern update. It had already been painted the aforementioned Sherwin-Williams customized color and I wanted to give it a pop of personality that felt like Design Crush’s brand. I settled on a diagonal accent wall in Cosmetic Pink, which is similar to the pink of this site and love the spike of energy it can give during afternoon slumps.

 

Bringing Poised Taupe Home

Last fall we took Sherwin-Williams‘ Color of the Year – Poised Taupe – off the walls and put it in some unexpected places instead, namely on the legs of an end table and a pattern on a seagrass basket.

In select markets Sherwin-Williams has a team of ColorSnap Consultants who do in-home consultations to help you select the right color palette and products for the projects you’re dreaming of taking on. In addition to five gallons of paint, they’re offering one reader a free ColorSnap consultation if he/she lives in a consultation market. (If not, they’ll provide a gift card for design services.) A value of over $500.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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My House Got a Facelift

 

While I’ve shared plenty on the updates of the interior of my old, partially-flipped house, there hasn’t been nearly as much done on the exterior. Why? Simply put it’s more intimidating. But back in January I vowed that this is the year that things would get done, and I’ve started off by partnering with Mid-America to replace and add shutters to the front of my home. Mid-America is a leading manufacturer of siding accessories, and they also offer the largest selection of exterior home products in the industry, so I knew both me and my house were in the right hands.

 

 

Prior to now only one window had shutters of any kind, the large one on the first floor, front and center and a little to the left. They were wooden, measured incorrectly, and too short. The attic windows looked fine as they’re a more interesting design and flanked by shaker wood siding, but the trio on the second floor just looked… sad.

 

 

But no longer! From the street it looks like my house got a facelift. The good kind.

Every window was measured correctly this go around and the shutters installed like a dream with just a drill, screwdriver, and hammer. Mid-America offers a wide range of shutter styles and colors, all low maintenance with no painting required. They’re impervious to moisture and insects, which is something I highly value as the owner of a house that’s 117 years old, and made right here in the United States. I chose their straight top all louver shutter in black for all four windows and couldn’t be happier with the quality or end result.

 

 

On the list for 2017:
• landscape the small front yard, dispose of one hundred river rocks
• replace the porch light fixture with something more modern
• strip and paint back deck
• sand and repaint porch swing

Longterm plans:
• build wooden porch up to door height, railing, stairs
• have slate roof repaired
• landscape backyard
• replace porch roof support columns with a sleeker design

 

 

Get a load of the full-on before and after! Looking back the house seemed so incomplete without Mid-America’s shutters. Eventually I’d love to add sets to the windows on the back and east-facing sides for the full effect, but until then I can’t help but smile each time I pull into my driveway. Onto the next project!

 

This post sponsored by Mid-America. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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Master Bedroom Makeover Bits + Pieces

 

How happy am I with the makeover Quick•Step flooring and I worked on? So happy that I basically never want to leave my bedroom. I’ve never been a morning person and I now find myself waking up with a smile on my face. It’s utterly ridiculous and I’m completely head over heels for what I feel like is the first bedroom design that truly matches my aesthetic.

Here I’m spilling about how I pulled it off and the items I picked up to give the room a great refresh, and over on Quick•Step Style I’m sharing more about which flooring I chose for the RoomUP Challenge, as well as five tips for making your space feel bigger (trust me, they’re really good ones). Head over there then meet me back here… I’ll wait…

 

 

Okay, let’s start with those lamps. (Oh, if you need a refresh of what the master bedroom looked like before, here you go.) I loved the old lamps hard, but it was time for a change that blended more seamlessly with the rest of the room. This pair of Helene white ceramic table lamps* match the boho chic vibe I was going for. Their basketweave-patterned bases and linen shades add a nice touch of texture and the size isn’t too overwhelming for the Penelope nightstands.

 

 

 

 

When it comes to dresser mirrors I’m more of a leaner than a hanger. I finally upgraded the round vintage mirror that sadly cracked in half and that I sadly kept using for more than two years with a larger 36-inch one, the HUB Mirror. It’s rubber rim fits snuggly against my mid-century 6-drawer dresser‘s surface, leaving me unafraid of a crash in the middle of the night. You can’t beat the price of this piece either – it’s huge and quite a deal when compared to other large mirrors.

 

 

 

I’ve been on the lookout for a great floor mirror for years, and that’s not an exaggeration. The Payne antique gold full length floor mirror* got my number and called the next day. Its windowpane style has an art deco feel to it, and the gold calls out some of the other metallic accents in the room. I made space in my mini gallery wall for it, because it really does feel like a piece of art.

Speaking of art, my very good friend who is also a very talented artist – Jaime Derringer – made me four pieces of 4 x 4″ art for the revamped space. I have a few more things I’d like to do in this bedroom (new light fixture, different floor rug, adding a bench, etc) and framing these is at the top of the list. I love her abstract style and am thrilled to add these minis to my ever-growing collection of her work.

 

 

This piece, Stormy Drive, used to be a huge statement over my headboard. After relocating the bed to under the windows, I chose to lower the gigantic frame to be level with the door and let it own the entire wall. It’s so striking from this angle!

 

 

 

I’ve been toying with notion of painting this room the same pale pink as the accent wall in my office, and to ease into the idea I added this Mongolian pink fur pillow* to the mix on my bed. The texture is fantastic and I’m so much closer to pulling the trigger on that paint job.

There’s only about twenty feet between my house and the neighbors’. So when I first moved in I picked up some tension rods to get curtain up ASAP and, well, never replaced them. This trio of brass Cappa adjustable single curtain rods look at least one hundred times better. At least.

 

 

The vintage light fixture fit in much better once I removed the ornate decorative rims – dare I say it looks modern even? It ties the curtain rods, the fixtures on the dresser and nightstands, and the edging on the floor mirror together oh so nicely.

The last addition is the Murray modern mahogany platform bed*. I was honestly pretty nervous about mixing mahogany with the other two wood finishes in the room, but it fits in seamlessly and actually manages to set off the Quick•Step flooring. I love having such a low-profile bed more than I expected I would, it just helps the room feel that much more open and airy which was my number one goal in this project.

If you ignored me above, click over to Quick•Step Style to read more about the transformation and process, the amazing flooring, and five tips for making your space feel bigger. And then enter the RoomUP Sweepstakes for a chance to win up to 500 sq ft of Quick•Step flooring for your own project, as well as see other transformations from other RoomUP bloggers!

 

 

This post sponsored by Quick•Step. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content! Get more inspiration from Quick•Step on Facebook and Pinterest. You can also download their Style My Floor app to visualize their floors in your own home.  *product provided by Lamps Plus

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Wall to Wall Be Gone

 

If you asked what my biggest interior design pet peeve is it wouldn’t be ceiling fans, it would be wall to wall carpeting. I despise the stuff with the fire of a thousand suns, which of course means it’s covering the majority of the floor on the second level of my house. So when Quick•Step flooring reached out to me about participating in their RoomUp Blogger Challenge it was a no brainer to say (and not scream) yes!

 

 

Aside from flat-out not liking wall to wall carpeting, most rooms upstairs weren’t an issue. The guest room door stays closed, the bonus room stays relatively pet-free, the bathroom is tiled, and my small office was floored with the leftover laminate from downstairs. But the master bedroom is a different story altogether, because that’s where my two elderly cats spend most of their day and I’ll say no more about it than that. The carpeting either had to be replaced (no!) or new flooring put down.

 

 

I requested four different flooring samples from Quick•Step‘s extensive collection, and once they arrived let the pieces sit on the floor in my bedroom for a few days before making a final decision. Pop over to Quick•Step Style to read more about which option I went with and to see more transformations from other bloggers participating in the RoomUP Challenge! I’m looking forward to revealing my full bedroom makeover with you next, and you can see a little sneak peek below.

I truly love this product and would love for you to love it, too. So make sure to enter the RoomUP Sweepstakes for a chance to win up to 500 sq ft of Quick•Step flooring to transform a space of your own!

 

 

This post sponsored by Quick•Step. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content! Get more inspiration from Quick•Step on Facebook and Pinterest. You can also download their Style My Floor app to visualize their floors in your own home.

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Holiday House Tour

 

Some of you mentioned wanting to see more of the house after our curb appeal preview and office tree – ask and you shall receive! (Well, some of the time at least.) I’d mentioned keeping things more minimal than usual this year, and I have to admit just how good it feels. It doesn’t feel like the entire place has been upended and I’m not dreading the breakdown of it all next month. Am I onto something here?

 

 

 

I made room for a few of my favorite decorations on the bookcase in the living room, two pink bottlebrush trees that I’ve had for more than a handful of years and a few unfinished wooden trees with my reindeer friend who can’t stand on his own.

 

 

The hall closet door has become the place where all holiday cards are gathered as they arrive. I love watching it fill up and overflow onto the wall! It brings a little dose of joy into an otherwise neglected corner of the house.

 

 

 

The mantle and hearth are simple yet festive. My favorite shade of poinsettia – faded red – sits atop the mantle and a strand of battery-operated mercury glass lights are strung below. The mercury glass gets carried down to the floor with the addition of my growing tree collection, I’m currently up to four with the tallest standing around two feet.

 

 

 

A little bit more mercury glass on the dining room table and a big pitcher full of eucalyptus and greenery. It lasts throughout the season and then some when watered regularly! The little canvas snowman on the credenza makes me smile, which is the only reason I looked for when decorating this year.

 

 

The bathroom off the dining room has one of my favorite wreaths on its door, a grapevine decorated with pinecones and felt mistletoe. There’s also a vase on the counter with a bunch of dried evergreens that I’ve left up since last Christmas, simply because I like them.

 

 

Last year I bought my friend and I this same wooden owl, and mine is proudly perched near the cooktop in the kitchen. He brings a much needed dose of color and merriment to an otherwise undecorated room as well as a reminder of her.

 

 

And finally – the tree. This is the first real tree I’ve ever had, a Norfolk Island Pine, and insisted that it be potted so that I can either plant it outside or keep it potted indoors once the season is over. It’s giving off a lot of Charlie Brown vibes, but I really love it. It has not one but two tops, can’t hold heavy ornaments, and can barely support the two strands of lights on its branches. But the charm. In spades, for days.

So there you have it! Not the most heavily decorated place, but all the things I love which is really what it’s all about.

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A (Belated) Housewarming Party

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Hello, my name is Kelly and it took me just over two years to have a housewarming party. It’s a ridiculous thing and maybe I should have called the party I had last Saturday an open house, but a housewarming is what it was. Aside from my immediate family and friends there haven’t been a ton of guests and plenty of people were curious, or so the past 26-months would lead me to believe. So last month I decided I was ready to entertain on a larger scale and invited fifty people over for November 19th. Not only would everyone get to mix and mingle, but the timing also meant my place would be clean and ready to host Thanksgiving Thursday! Two birds, one stone.

 

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I knew I wanted to do as little cooking as possible, which meant it was going to be heavy snacks and appetizers. Everyone knows those are the best parts anyway. But the thing I was most excited about it, aside from seeing everyone, was getting to use all of the serving pieces I’ve collected with World Market generously filling in the gaps (source links following the post). In fact, I pulled out all of the Type A stops by laying everything out a few days before and labeling them with Post-Its so I knew where all of the food was going to go.

 

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I made up a delicious apple cider sangria and infused water with citrus fruits, both were set out in decanters in serve yourself fashion. There was also a selection of Italian sodas for underage guests, a variety of beer, and so many bottles of wine! Let’s just say I’m set for the entirety of the holiday season thanks to my guests and their generosity.

 

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A non-negotiable for hosting any party is the presence of cheese. Well, at least it is in my book. I picked up six fancy varieties as well as plenty of sharp cheddar, gouda, swiss, and pepper jack to go on crackers and mini toasts. Oh, and there was a parmesan spread as well because cheese is delicious.

 

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Minted, one of my favorite ongoing partners, is currently running a promotion where all of their digital invitations are free though December 31st, so I was fast to hop on the train and email out this type heavy invitation. My timeline was a little too tight to order their fabric table linens, so I went with the prettiest gold foil-pressed table runners for both the dining room table and buffet instead. Not only did they protect the wood, I was also able to roll them up for later use since there were no spills! I also customized some of Minted’s Inkblot foil-pressed place cards with foods that might need some explainging, like my Mom’s addictive cracker candy. All it took to use them in a new way was some toothpicks and tape!

 

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My stepdad made his famous poppyseed cake that’s actually a recipe from my Mom’s grandmother. At the end of the night there were only three pieces left, which made him plenty happy. I’ll be sharing the recipe here in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

 

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I picked up the florals here and there throughout the prior week and kept them well watered until I was ready to put together the arrangements Friday night. If your table is longer than 96-inches I recommend going with two slightly smaller, yet equally tall bouquets for more of an impact. Some empty places on the table were filled in with produce – apples, acorn squash, oranges, and persimmons. It’s a great trick, just use whatever is seasonal.

 

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Recently I had picked up some lavender extract paste that I was anxious to try, so I baked up a batch of lavender cakes with lavender-honey cream cheese icing in some cute paper cups. I’m not sharing the recipe because I think they forgot an ingredient or two, but they looked so pretty!

 

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The party got started around 4:30 and I think the last guests rolled out around midnight. I had such a great time playing hostess that I basically forgot to eat and the only thing I drank was coffee, but I’d call it a success! My house was filled with so much love and laughter, and just maybe the first snow of the year that happened during the party was a sign of good to things to come.

Charcuterie Cutting Board // Marble Paddle Cutting Board with Copper Handle // Oval Wood Tray with Copper Handle // Woven Bamboo Salad Bowls Set of 2 // Mid-Century Creamer // Bamboo Salad Tongs // Small Olivewood Spoon // White Frosted Glass Pedestal Stand // White Rectangular Lacquer Serving Tray // White Coupe Oval Platter // Black and Gold Double Walled Ice Bucket  // Mid Century Bottle Stoppers Set of 2

A special thank you to Minted and World Market for providing product to help turn my party into a reality! And thanks to you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content.

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Charming the Doors Off

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This is big, you guys. My front door no longer opens with a knob meant for the interior but an actual entry set! If I lived anywhere other than this sleepy little suburban town it would have been the first thing I replaced after closing. Now not only is my front door deadbolt safe but the rest of the doorknobs in my home are something other than boring builder’s grade, all thanks to Nostalgic Warehouse. (Oh, and ignore that staircase full of carpet, that’s on the project list as well!)

 

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I painted the street side of the front door black to play down all of the gingerbread detailing in preparation of installing this gorgeous Fifth Avenue C Grip Entry Set in vintage brass. The house side is in dire need of a new coat as well, and that’s going on this week in preparation for a very belated housewarming party I’m throwing this weekend. (More on that to come.) But just look at that brass!

 

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For the past two years it’s been a bit of a thorn in my side that the door hardware didn’t match the character of the rest of the house. (Get a peek of the befores here and here.) For the downstairs bath that’s directly off the dining room I wanted something with a little added pop, so I chose the Soleil Rosette with Georgetown Lever in vintage brass. I went back and forth with the finish because it doesn’t match the shiny nickel in the rest of the room, but in the end I decided it didn’t matter. The brass picks up on the other warm tones and it all pulls together nicely in the end.

 

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On the flip side, I chose the Rope Rosette with White Porcelain Knob in satin nickel for the pantry door in the kitchen because it does match the fixtures and hardware. The white porcelain knob manages to look both classic and modern at the same time which I notice every time I open the door.

 

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Upstairs there are six doors in a relatively small hallway so it made sense to make all of the knobs the same, and I have to admit that these Rope Rosette with Black Porcelain Knobs in antique brass are my favorite in the house. I can’t. Stop. Staring at them. There’s just something so sleek about these beauties and their super smooth touch. I also chose this design knowing that eventually I may paint all of the doors black and they’ll still look just as amazing.

 

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I fibbed a little though because there is one exception. The third floor attic is finished though lacking ductwork, and one day I hope to remedy that and move the master bedroom up there. For some reason I felt like that door needed a little something special, a denotation of sorts, and the New York Plate with New York Knob in antique brass was calling to me. By sticking with the same brass finish as the other five knobs the doors still feel cohesive as a group.

 

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This particular upgrade has been oh so satisfying! Door hardware pulls together a space like few other things can and I’m so thankful to Nostalgic Warehouse for partnering with Design Crush on this project.

This post sponsored by Nostalgic Warehouse, you can shop their entire collection through ATG Stores! All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content.

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DIY Halloween House Monster

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I always decorate for Halloween, but there’s no formula. Some years it’s only a porch full of pumpkins and others it’s something a little more. This year I decided that the windows in my guest room were begging for eyeballs.

 

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And that’s how it started, with six dollars worth of poster board and a pair of scissors. My first thought was that I’d like for them to be a bit larger, maybe even bigger than the windows themselves, but I was happy. I shared this photo on Instagram and Facebook as an afterthought.

 

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And that’s when the design by committee began! Several friends and followers suggested that the large living room window directly below needed teeth. And they were 100% correct, so back out came the scissors and leftover paper scraps.

 

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A window full of neon yellow snaggleteeth later and more suggestions came pouring in. Friends who live in town started driving by with their children in tow and I even caught a few snapping photos.

 

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The last suggestion that I entertained was the addition of some mean eyebrows with the last two scraps, which definitely made this DIY Halloween house monster complete. All-in-all it was a blast to create and I can’t wait to see the looks on trick-or-treaters’ faces in a few weeks!

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Artifact Uprising Float Frames

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I’ve had the same piece of art hanging at the top of my stairs for nearly two years and have been wanting to change things up. I actually have a folder on my desktop of my favorite photos I’ve taken, with the hope that one day I’ll print and frame them as art. So when Artifact Uprising reached out about their brand new floating frames I was ready, willing, and completely prepared.

 

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After some hemming and hawing I narrowed it down to this shot of a group of surfboard blanks that I snapped in San Diego a few years back. It’s a really muted photo and I love that it blends in with the wall color so well. I uploaded my iPhone image to Artifact Uprising and a week or so later a very safely packaged framed print was on my doorstep. (A huge deal, I’ve had several pieces show up broken from other companies.)

 

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After watching a video and using the handy template they sent along to hang the float frame we were all set. So sleek, right?! The frame grade acrylic is thick without weighing a ton like glass, and the brass-coated bolts give the entire piece such a polished look. Such an impact!

 

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This post sponsored by Artifact Uprising. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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