Increase Curb Appeal with James Hardie

 

As you may have noticed, there’s been a lot of emphasis on the exterior of my house lately. While I’m forever futzing around with things inside, the outside deserves a little more love because it doesn’t quite match my more modern and minimal aesthetic. I’d love to make it magazine ready by updating the facade and I’m hoping James Hardie siding is the golden ticket!

 

 

My place was built back in 1900, and underneath the mishmash of siding and cedar shingles lies the original yellow brick. My hope is to one day pare all of this down to one material, in one color, going in the same direction – dreams! – so I checked out James Hardie’s line of plank siding.

The James Hardie product line offers a great collection of profiles, textures, widths, and colors with character in the tradition of American home design, while their commitment to artistry and innovation allows for timeless designs and performance. My home deserves to stand out on the block and yours does, too.

 

 

I ordered a selection of their HardiePlank siding samples – North America’s #1 brand – to check out in (left to right) Evening Blue, Pearl Gray, and Iron Gray. I desperately want to do a super dark gray monochromatic facade, but the idea of how much summer heat it will trap makes me nervous, so I also grabbed a light gray similar to what’s currently on most of my home. The blue is my wildcard (SO CRAZY). While the Iron Gray and Evening Blue have a wood-like texture, the Pearl Gray is smooth.

James Hardie lets you express your personality through hundreds of inspiring color combinations with a color collection featuring both national colors and regional specialty colors. Advanced technology coats surfaces, edges, and features of each siding plank uniformly while multiple layers of color are baked onto each board for a great finish and a strong bond that resists chipping, peeling, cracking, and fading for years to come. James Hardie allows you to enjoy the peace of mind that comes from a single manufacturer covering your home’s finish with a 15-year limited warranty, and siding with an industry best 30-year non-prorated warranty.

 

 

While I’m not at all into the way the current siding on my home is mixed and matched, there are better ways to do it. I love the monochromatic look of this place that combines three types of light grey siding in different designs. It’s such a nice architectural callout that adds loads of appeal and interest, so consider mixing profiles to accentuate your homes’ best features. (i.e. You can add distinction to traditional-style homes with authentic keyways in staggered edge and straight edge designs.)

 

 

While I’m looking into ideas to update the exterior of my place, I’m not currently ready financially to undertake such a big project. Instead I’m focusing on smaller things that are more affordable yet still add curb appeal.

• landscaping my small front yard with perennials that will come back year after year
• potting colorful seasonal flowers for both the front and back porches
• buying quality outdoor furniture that has a modern design

You might also consider:
• painting your front door to change things up
• adding solar lighting to walkways
• changing out any porch light fixtures

 

 

I have a solid idea of what I’m looking to do on my home, but if you need some help check out James Hardie’s site for additional design inspiration. And if you’d like to check out their siding in person be sure and order some free samples to compare – choose from textured, smooth, or beaded. Their fiber cement products are engineered for climate, HZ5 products resist shrinking, swelling, and cracking even after years of wet or freezing conditions while HZ10 products resist damage from hot, humid conditions, blistering sun, and more. James Hardie’s products won’t be eaten by animals or insects and have been proven more fire resistant than wood or vinyl siding. With all of that assurance you can feel good about how you dress your home.

 

 

This post sponsored by James Hardie. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Design Crush create fresh content! Follow James Hardie on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Houzz, and YouTube.

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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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Accounting Confessions of a Businesswoman, Part 2

 

Time once again to drop all pretense for part two of my yearlong financial journey with FreshBooks! In part one, back in April, I shared how I’ve approached the financial side of my business up until this year – in short, it’s not my strong suit and I’m doing all I can to remedy that.

In the past three months I’ve gained so much more confidence when it comes to invoicing, and I’ve also saved time thanks to all of the features I outlined in part one. I love how easy it is to access recurring client’s information as well as the visual representation of how much I’m earning. In the name of transparency blogging is going through a season of change once again, and the green is not as prevalent as in the past. The number one rule of being a blogger is being adaptable, and diversifying my income is a huge deal.

 

 

One way I’m doing that, aside from writing for larger corporate sites, is contacting sponsors directly more often. For a long time I didn’t have to pitch brands, but over time that’s changed and FreshBooks‘s estimate feature helps me navigate the steps that follows. After talking to a new brand – and them hopefully falling head over heels for my pitch! – it’s time to spell out my proposal with a dollar sign in front of it. It’s here that I’m able to outline deliverables Design Crush will be providing and the breakdown of pricing for each.

Estimate features: know when a client has viewed your estimate, add discounts, automatic tax calculations, transform your estimates into ready-to-pay invoices, client approval with one click

 

 

After signing a contract I can kick things off, whether it’s for Design Crush or a graphic design project on the side. With FreshBooks‘s time tracking feature I can map out my day and make sure I’m accounting for every billable hour. This is super helpful to me in a number of ways, especially when it comes to do future estimates for similar projects. I’m forever trying to become more efficient – the thought of hiring someone to feed me three square meals a day while I work has occurred to me – and time tracking is valuable in showing me where I can streamline even further. I can literally start a timer and hit stop when I’m done! When the project is wrapped up I can pull all of the tracked time into an invoice and send it off.

Time tracking features: team time tracking, clear breakdown of your day, view team members’ time, easy to use timer, detailed time entry notes, automatically bill for tracked hours

 

 

I’m already digging deeper into FreshBooks and am looking forward to what the quarter brings in terms of making me feel more like a well rounded businesswoman. If you have any questions about FreshBooks I’d love to try and help get answers for you from their award-winning rockstars in customer service. In the meantime, you can sign up for a free monthlong trial right here!

This post sponsored by FreshBooks. 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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June Favorites

 

1/ Super Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes
I’ve been doing container gardens for the past few years, and this summer I ventured into the world of cherry tomatoes, Sweet 100s specifically. They’re a vining variety that are deliciously meaty and sweet. Last week I was able to start picking a few day as they ripen and my salad game has gone up a notch!

2/ Mom’s Stuff All-Purpose Piñon Salve
I started using Mom’s Stuff a few years ago after meeting Mom’s daughter and trying out a sample. Each jar is handmade from all natural ingredients that deeply moisturize, soothe, and protect your skin and there are no filler ingredients like water, cheap oils, or stabilizers. Lately I’ve been dabbing some on bug bites for comfort.

3/ Illume Candles Vanity Tins
Illume Candles first entered my life back in college, when I bought two delicious smelling candles for more than I could afford. I’m loving the design of their Vanity Tins and the scents are just as good as ever!

4/ Pineapple Sage
It was the pineapple-scented leaves that caused me to pick up one of these to plant this year. In late summer they bloom bright red, tube-shaped blooms that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

5/ La Colombe Draft Latte
This is the treat I’ve been reaching for on hot summer mornings! Lactose-free milk and cold pressed espresso make for a slightly sweet drink without any added sugar.

6/ Kristin Ess Instant Lift Thickening Spray
Forever on the search for the perfect hair product that will give my fine hair more oomph, and this spray has become the top contender. You don’t need to use a ton, it’s not super sticky, and the smell is amazing.

7/ Lou & Grey Linen Racerback Tank (50% off!)
I picked up black and grey ones a few weeks ago and have been more or less living in them. They hit my short(ish) torso in just the right spot and the cut is super flattering.

8/ Carmex Comfort Care Colloidal Oatmeal Lip Balm
As a lip balm-aholic you can take my word that this stuff is the real deal. Its blend of natural colloidal oatmeal and cold-pressed antioxidant rich fruit seed oil provides long-lasting moisture for visibly smoother lips.

9/ Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
A collection of poetry and prose about survival, about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. And how to find the sweetness in all areas of life.

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A Long Weekend

Selena Kirchhoff

I was down and out all day with a migraine yesterday, so I’m taking it as a sign that I need to make it a three day weekend and take today to get back to 100%. I’ll be here bright and early Monday with a few posts before taking the day to celebrate the 4th Tuesday. Happy weekend!

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10 Days of Design Crush Anniversary Giveaways: Day 10 Fashionable

 

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.

 

 

Over the past few years I’ve have the pleasure of working closely with two incredible companies who have business models built on investing in and empowering women in impoverished countries. The first of which was Fashionable, and in 2016 we worked together to create a line of table and kitchen linens.

 

 

Fashionable works with women, both locally and globally, who have overcome challenges ranging from prostitution to addiction to a lack of opportunity. With your help they work to give opportunity to women where there is often little, and then they effect change.

The line has grown from a collection of handwoven scarves to include leather goods from around the world and jewelry made in Nashville, Tennessee. Now just this month Fashionable has added apparel and shoes to their shop!

 

 

Like the rest of their collections, Fashionable‘s apparel and shoes are perfectly pared down versions of everyday styles. I’m aching to get my hands on the Cecilia T-Shirt Dress a pair of Pamela Platform Sandals for the perfect summer outfit. I can see layering some of the other tops in different colors over the dress to mix things up and create new outfits, too.

 

 

With lovely collections of leather, jewelry, apparel, and shoes, you’ll have no trouble spending the $250 gift card Fashionable is gifting one reader for our last day of giveaways! You have 22 ways to enter to win and 48-hours to get crackin’.
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10 Days of Design Crush Anniversary Giveaways: Day 9 Cursive Design

 

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.

 

 

I first met Sarah Fox, founder and jewelry designer of all things Cursive Design, what feels like ages ago. After falling for her work we connected online (oh gosh, it was such a smaller place then) and then became pals. Her Chicago-based jewelry line was created in 2005 and is inspired by Sarah’s background in art – she received a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a focus in Sculpture, Color Theory, and Lighting Design. Triple threat!

 

 

Cursive Design‘s ever-evolving collection strikes a balance between everyday wearable pieces that also create a statement. Her jewelry designs are characterized by their playful shape composition, relaxed geometry, and use of targeted color combinations. Sarah takes great time and care when sourcing the materials involved in the creation of every piece, and each is made by hand in her studio.

 

 

 

I’ve had the pleasure of attending New York Fashion Week twice, and in 2012 I took Sarah along with me to work on a sponsored project! She created the most incredible art deco-inspired reversible necklace featuring cast brass shapes with the help of a little input from Design Crush’s readers.

 

 

I must own at least seven pieces of Cursive Design‘s jewelry, and every time I wear one I’m complimented. Everything is so wearable, I’ve dressed it up and dressed it down and love the versatility of Sarah’s designs. She is generously offering one reader a mini collection of jewelry – color theory no. 7 necklace, dalmatian jasper supermoon necklace, primary circle earrings, triple triangle stud, and circle stud. All pieces can be seen above! You know how it goes, this time there are 24 ways to enter to win but only 48-hours to do it.

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10 Days of Design Crush Anniversary Giveaways: Day 8 Kristi Kohut

 

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.

 

 

Krist Kohut is a longstanding favorite artist of mine who has been featured on the pages of Design Crush more than once. Her mixed media art makes me smile time and time again, whether it’s a piece from her intricate Agate collection or the more freestyle Color Field body of work. I feel like I just get Kristi’s work and in turn she must get me – and that’s a great feeling no matter where it comes from!

 

 

Krist‘s multi-media art is inspired by nature and she uses any number of mediums to create it, including acrylic, watercolor, ink, pastels, and glass beads. In 2007, in addition to her art practice, she founded Kristi Kohut Home, a design studio dedicated to making high-end fabrics, pillows, poufs, and wallpaper featuring her signature work.

 

 

 

 

 

“My work is influenced by color and pattern in the world all around us. A permeating crack on the sidewalk, the vibrant layers of agate rock, the exotic clothing of a faraway place, are my muses. I love the color and effect created when unexpected colors and textures are combined. The glossiness of an acrylic paint next to the chalky texture of a pastel. Or an iridescent blend next to a thick, velvety smudge of oil pigment.

My process is an intuitive dance of play, working until I find just the right combination of color and texture. I know when it is done, when it elicits a feeling inside, a zing, a ping of joy or pleasure that often comes with that final touch or pop of color, suddenly transforming the piece. That feeling is a connection to something more, something that is not of the day-to-day routine of life. The antithesis of routine. A hint at what’s on the other side of this world.”

 

 

 

I own three pieces of Krist Kohut‘s art, as well as a pillow and a scarf. Since releasing her line of wallpaper it’s become a goal to deck out one of my bathrooms with some of her pattern there as well. Of course we’re not leaving you out of the fun – Kristi is kindly gifting one reader with their choice of either one huge 37 x 57-inch print OR two 22 x 30-inch prints! You’ve got 22 chances to enter and 48-hours to make it happen, you know the drill.

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10 Days of Design Crush Anniversary Giveaways: Day 7 Lamps Plus

 

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.

 

Sayner Black and Antique Brass Swing Arm Wall Lamp Set

Lamps Plus, the nation’s largest lighting retailer, has a rather deceiving name – because the Plus is quite impressive as well. Working with them over the years, I’ve added several pieces to my own home from several of the different lines Lamps Plus houses under their proverbial roof. And over the course of time a few lines began to separate themselves as I found myself going back to their pages when I was in need (or want) of something new.

 

Helene Ceramic Table Lamp

So, I thought I’d share my two favorite Lamps Plus brands with you.

First let’s talk about lighting since that’s what they’re known for, my favorite being 360 Lighting. What really draws me to this line is the breadth of their design offerings, which leans in the bohemian, mid-century, industrial direction. Table lamps, floor lamps, wall lamps, and pendants, they’ve got it all and in finishes that I’m drawn to like a moth to a flame. I have a pair of the Helene Ceramic Table Lamps above on the nightstands in my bedroom and love the texture they bring to the space. Lately I’ve been eyeing a replacement for the arc floor lamp in my living room and keep coming back to pharmacy lamps as a possible option. The Dawson below is number one on my list, and you really can’t beat the price!

 

Raleigh 17-inch Oil-Rubbed Bronze and Antique Brass Pendant

 

Dawson Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp

 

DelRay Bay Outdoor Accent Chairs Set

Now, let’s get on to the plus because it’s just as fantastic. Doing a quick inventory of my home I realize I own a bench, a bookcase, an armchair, two dining chairs, and a throw pillow from Lamps Plus. And that’s just on the inside! I may love the outdoor pieces even more, two of which are from Teal Island Designs. A few years back I picked up a set of red DelRay Accent Chairs (above), and they adorned my front porch before moving to the back deck this year to act as extra table seating. This spring I took full advantage of the current wicker trend by adding two Hyacinth Accent Tables (below) to the porch for plants. (More to come on that in the next week!) Teal Island’s pieces are made to be used, meaning they can take some wear and tear. Such an important quality when it comes to furniture that’s going to be exposed to the elements.

 

Kai Water Hyacinth Indoor-Outdoor Accent Table

 

Fletcher Adjustable Back Adirondack Chair

 

La Jolla 5-Piece Wicker Sectional Soft with Firepit

If you’ve seen something you’d love to add to your own place, or want to browse Lamps Plus a bit, you’re in luck because they’re kindly giving one reader a $250 gift card! Check it out, there are 22 ways to enter but only 48-hours so get going!

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