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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Let’s Talk Shelves

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I despise the term shelfie, but I do love a well-styled set of shelves. I have three in my home that serve as both organizational epicenters and focal points. The built-in in my dining room (above) corrals favorite serving pieces and barware, along with a few other things like candleholders and glove molds. (Trays, party decor, and other odds and ends live in the cupboard underneath.) The freestanding set on wheels that resides in the kitchen holds most of my cookbooks, a collection of vases, and stacks of white dinnerware and glasses that I pull out for entertaining. And lastly, the shelves in my living room show off most of my books. (I want to get away from the organization by color, but haven’t been able to let go just yet!)

What’s your stance on shelves? Do you like them stacked full or sparse?

 

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Michele Anderson via Apt 34-Design Crush
Michele Andersen via Apartment 34

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Eve Wilson via The Design Files

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Bart Kiggen via The Spaces

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Emily Henderson

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Amber Interiors

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The Master Bedroom

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I began sharing photos of my current home shortly after moving in last September, not all at once but as things came together. The master bedroom has been pulled together for over six months, but I kept putting off posting about his room for some reason. Maybe because a bedroom is about as personal as a home gets, or at least that’s my best hypothesis.

My bedroom has always been my sanctuary. Ever since I was an only child growing up it was the one space my introverted self could escape to, where I might pick up a book or draw for hours on end. I guess some things never change.

 

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My favorite thing about this space is all of the natural light it gets through the west-facing windows. I painted the walls the same custom white-grey/grey-white as the rest of my home and hung simple white curtains to capitalize on it.

To be completely transparent, I’m bored of my metal bed frame that weighs approximately 300 pounds. It was my taste when I bought it nine years ago, but like many things that’s changed. Thankfully it’s rather plain, so I’ll deal with it for awhile longer. The same goes for the matching lamps, but I just haven’t come across the perfect ones to replace them yet.

What I love are my matching Penelope Nightstands, throw pillows from Rebecca Atwood and Kristi Kohut, and the art – Float by Betty Hatchett. I chose this piece for over the bed specifically because it was so calming and reminded me of dreaming.

 

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I also love my mid-century 6-drawer dresser to no end. Until this one came into my life last year I was still using the two cherry wood chests my grandparents bought me when I was ten years old. They’ve been relegated to the guest room for the time being and will probably be schlepped up to the finished attic eventually. Becky Simpson’s Be Present print hangs right next to the door as a reminder every morning.

 

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Jewelry is kept in order mostly where I can see it. Sentimental pieces and things I don’t wear on the regular are kept in the box on top of the dresser.

 

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And here’s the dirty little secret that resides in the second floor hallway and bedrooms. Not Bebe, rather the wall to wall carpet. (Blech.) I couldn’t be less of a fan, but at least it was new when I moved in and it’s not an offensive color. To combat it I’ve gone with the rug-on-rug approach and laid down an 6×9 flat-woven rug by Safavieh that makes the space feel more pulled together through color and texture.

 

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On the wall opposite the bed is the door to my walk-in closet, which I don’t know the history behind but am guessing was added at some point after being built in 1900. I really like how large and clean this wall is and didn’t want to clutter it up, so instead I settled on these three pieces – Staredown by Amy Carroll, Salinity Now by Denny Holland, and Find Your Bliss by Kristi Kohut – that are united by white frames.

 

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I’m slowly becoming a crazy plant lady and experimenting with what I can keep alive longest. This guy is the first of many floor plants that will be added through the next few months.

And that’s that! I’m hoping and half planning to get the guest room up to speed this spring, so hopefully I’ll be able to share that will you then.

 

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Penelope Nightstands c/o West Elm // Shibori pillows from Rebecca Atwood // striped pillow c/o Kristi Kohut // Float, Salinity Now, and Staredown art c/o Minted // Mid-Century Six Drawer Dresser c/o West Elm // Be Present c/o Becky Murphy // rag rug (discontinued) c/o Rugs Direct // Find Your Bliss art c/0 Kristi Kohut framed by Simply Framed

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Outdoor Living

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This summer has felt like a dream. After spending summers in triple degree heat, being back in Pennsylvania this season has been better than I remember. When living in Oklahoma City I always felt like I was jumping from one air conditioned space to the next, spending the shortest amount of time in the sweltering heat in between as possible. I was determined to get my two (yes, two) backyard decks whipped into shape for some outdoor living as soon as possible.

 

 

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I teamed up with the folks at Overstock to make it happen since I’d either sold or donated the majority of my outdoor furniture before moving last summer. My first goal was to create a space that was functional for entertaining 12 to 15 people at a time, my second was to make the area comfortable during summer as well as fall.

It all began with a few Eco Concrete Samai Planters. I love their industrial look and that they’re heavy enough not to topple over if and when the wind picks up. The plants I’ve used seem to love them just as much and have flourished like crazy.

 

 

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The most important addition to the upper deck was a patio set. I knew I wanted something constructed primarily out of wood and ended up going with the Carlisle Rustic Metal 3-piece Outdoor Dining Set from Christopher Knight Home. It easily seats six people and I plan on adding chairs to both ends to accommodate a few more.

Smartfold outdoor folding serving cart from COSCO is the outdoor equivalent of a bar cart. It’s on lockable wheels so I can push it around serving and park it when done. It’s also come in handy when potting plants and making s’mores on the lower deck.

 

 

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I’ve always been on the fence when it comes to outdoor rugs, but I couldn’t really tell you why. The upper deck is in major need of a fresh coat of paint (next summer’s project!) so I thought a rug might offer a solution. The stripes of this black and bone indoor/outdoor rug by Safavieh do a great job of carrying the aesthetic of the interior of my home to the outdoors. And I have to say, the dogs absolutely love lounging on it.

 

 

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The last touch on the upper deck, or the deck that connects directly to the house, is the Laguna Park Bench. The geometric backrest is another extension of my style and the wood and metal of the piece tie in perfectly with the patio set and folding cart. I love sitting here watching the dogs while they’re on squirrel patrol in the yard, especially in the mornings with a cup of coffee in hand.

 

 

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But I have to admit, the lower deck is probably my favorite. When I bought this house almost a year ago I had no plans for its use. Was it built before the upper deck was put on? After? It was and remains a bit of a mystery, but its location right under a gigantic shady tree is just perfect.

 

 

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I’ve wanted adirondack chairs for years now, in fact I can remember telling my mom that they were one of the first things I’d buy once I had my own home. It didn’t happen quite like that, but these Acacia Square Back Adirondack Chairs now live in perfect formation on the lower deck. They’re super comfortable and I love the pop of light blue against all of that brown. Add a few blankets and we’re all ready for the cozy evenings soon to be spent out here.

 

 

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The yard itself is mainly the dogs’ domain and I didn’t want to take up their space with a fire pit, but I knew I wanted something similar to gather around come fall. I instantly fell for the Corvus Aviano Black Enamel Finished Wheeled Fire Pit. Again, I love the mobility of this piece. I can wheel it into the yard should the party get too big for the deck.

So, when are you coming over?!

This post sponsored by Overstock. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Design Crush creating fresh new content!

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The Office

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After sharing the first floor of my house here last fall, I’d planned on doing the same with the second floor this spring. As you can see… it’s taken a wee bit longer. You got a glimpse of the office earlier this year when it got a new paint job, but today it’s the whole deal. (The master bedroom and guest room will follow in the next few months.) Ready?

 

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If I’m being honest with myself, I’m 110% surprised at how much color is in my office. It’s tempered in every direction you look by white and black, but it’s still more than I ever would have guessed.

 

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I upgraded my desk to one that would afford me a little bit of storage. The closet in this room is teeny tiny and triangular in shape, it’s located directly over the angled staircase below and has to accommodate its high ceiling. I went with the Prairie School Desk. (Do you just associate Land of Nod with kids? You’re wrong, they’re so much more.) I love its sleek and modern profile and the way it coordinated with a few other things I already had selected for the space.

 

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The VITTSJÖ shelving unit bears the burden of a lot of what a closet would normally be responsible for. The tempered glass and metal are super sturdy, so I’m able to hide a lot of clutter in boxes as well as design books and the blank journals that I can’t seem to stop collecting. Do you like the pops of brightness my yellow accessories bring to the table?

Plants give any space life, and I was determined to make my office feel as light and airy as possible. Modernica’s Case Study planters have been a longtime favorite and this seemed like just the place to use one. (Please note that I have the stand turned upside-down here to add some extra height.) The sturdy ceramic pot and wooden base add a nice earthy touch to an otherwise empty corner.

I debated whether or not to put down a rug in this space and ultimately decided it needed it. I embraced the opportunity to pull in some more color and pattern with this Surya Frontier design from Rugs Direct in salmon, light grey, and navy. It pulls in the light pink accents around the room all while remaining surprisingly neutral.

 

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While I’m all about hanging art everywhere, I deliberately wanted lots of open wall space here. Aside from a few mood board-type things over my desk, the only other thing on the wall is this Never Read the Comments print by Serif & Script. Always a good reminder for anyone with a presence online, no?

 

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I plan on sandwiching a few things under this I Can See Clearly Now Desk Mat. I’m thinking favorite photo booth shots, important notes, etc. Bonus: It does double-duty as a surface protector for my desk and laptop!

 

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I finished things off with a curtain rod sporting ball finials and Little Arches curtains (More color! More pattern!) I was nervous that it might be a bit much and clash with the rug, but the pattern ended up complimenting the rest of the room better than could have been expected.

I’m thrilled with the way this space has come together and can’t wait to see how it evolves. Time to get back to work!

 

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Prairie School Desk c/o Land of Nod // VITTSJÖ shelving unit // Case Study planter c/o Modernica // Surya Frontier rug c/o Rugs Direct // Never Read the Comments print by Serif & Script // I Can See Clearly Now Desk Mat c/o Land of Nod // curtain rodball finialsLittle Arches curtain c/o Land of Nod

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A Welcoming Front Porch

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While the inside of my 115 year old home has been fairly easy to make my own, it’s been a bit more of a struggle with the outside. I’m in love with the facade but not the siding, the porch swing but not the steps. It’s been a process of learning to love all of the quirks and character that come with living my chapters in this place, all while putting my aesthetic mark on it. This set of DelRay Bay Chairs add a great pop of color and good lines to the house’s first impression from the street.

 

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I plan on replacing the porch light with something low profile, but more modern. And I’ve toyed with the idea of boxing in the porch posts with cedar. I can’t wait to put black shutters on the second floor windows for a more cohesive look, but that will have to wait a bit longer.

 

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Other plans for the coming weeks include painting the front door a semi-gloss black, as well as giving the swing a fresh coat and replacing the rusting chains. I have yet to figure out what to do in the small yard area that butts up directly against the sidewalk. Enclose it in black wrought iron fencing and plant wildflowers? Add more hosta from the backyard and keep it as is? I’m undecided and impatient but very optimistic.

Product provided by Lamps Plus in exchange for this post. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Crush.

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Pinking Up the Office

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Hus & Hem

I’ve been dragging my feet on getting the second floor of my house into shape in a big way. Plans have been underway for months, but the puzzle pieces have been slow to fall into place. Right now the focus is on my office because I’m desperate to break a bad habit I’ve developed since moving last September – working from the couch.

 

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My Scandinavian Home

I painted the smallish room the same custom white-grey/grey-white that I covered the rest of the house in, but I want to add something inspiring and different. This is the room where Design Crush gets put on the page after all, so I think it needs to reflect the personality of the site.

 

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Max Attenborough

As you can surmise from my inspiration here, I settled on a pale pink – SW 7110 Cosmetic Blush to be exact – and a play on an accent wall design. It started out as one thing and as I got to taping off turned into something so much better. I can’t wait to share the redesign with you all next week for Sherwin-Williams National Painting Week!

 

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Brooke Holm

I received product and compensation from Sherwin-Williams in return for this post. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Crush!

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