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!


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.




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.




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


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.


Pinking Up the Office

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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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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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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!


Custom Color Matching with Sherwin-Williams

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When I moved into my new space this past September it was painted the universal house staging color of buttercream. While a lot of people might be okay with that – it’s a neutral, isn’t offensive, etc – it may as well have been neon green to me. It was the very first thing I knew I had to tackle to make this place feel like home.


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I’ve always had dreams of an entirely white and bright home. One that radiates light and would be the perfect gallery-like backdrop for the myriad of art I possess and love. After obsessing over paint chips I came to the conclusion that a ready-made color wasn’t going to be the answer, so I teamed up with Sherwin-Williams to do a custom color match.


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I pried a piece of shoe board off in a doorway and headed over to my local Sherwin-Williams to get their expert opinion and advice. The assistant manager, Jared, gave me a few different color match options after scanning the piece of already painted wood. The two of us spent about fifteen minutes tweaking things until I was 100% happy with the shade. I opted for the darkest to create a small contrast between the walls and 10-inch molding that’s present in the whole house.


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I went with Sherwin-WilliamsEmerald line because I’ve used it several times in the past and love the coverage and low odor. Jared also made sure I knew exactly which brushes would be best for the different areas of detail, as well as extension rollers that would help 5-foot-two-inch me reach the top of the 10-foot ceilings. After about thirty minutes I left with the confidence and know-how to tackle this project – did I mention that I’m painting the entire house this shade? Because yeah. The whole enchilada. The end result was a shade of not-white-grey/not-grey-white.


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One long weekend and four helping hands later the first floor, staircase, and half of the second floor was done! I’ll be knocking the other two bedrooms and finished attic off the list as soon as it warms up a bit this spring. I’m thrilled with the result so far and guests who have seen the before and after love the look, too.

(See the entire first floor – living room, dining room, and kitchen.)

Photos: Quelcy Kogel

Product and consultation provided by Sherwin-Williams. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush going!


The Kitchen



Today I’m sharing the last room on the first floor, the kitchen. (The second floor bedrooms and office will be along come spring when I can get around to doing some more decorating.) We’re also going from my favorite room to the one I fight with most often. The kitchen has more “fast fixes” in it than any other part of the house, at least that I’ve found so far. If you look at the doorway floor above you’ll see that the floor of the entire room has been built up about an inch, and both doors into it require you to physically step up. It’s been missed by many a person, many a time.




So here we are, and that’s alotta tile. Someone must’ve scored a serious deal because half of the kitchen is covered in the stuff. The plan is to tear it down in a year or so – when those painted 1950s cabinets gets replaced – and instead do a half wall of white subway tile.




One of my favorite parts of the room is the Tetra Pendant from Lamps.com that I put in about a month after moving it. With all of the spaces quirks and problems I feel like this pulled a lot of things together and gave it at least a touch of my sensibilities. It’s the first thing that everyone sees when they walk (or trip) into a room that really needed a focal point.




The kitchen in my last house had about twice as much cabinet space, it was the room that sold me the house when it came down to it. Here I had to downgrade to a standard fridge from a double-door as well as bring in some additional open shelving. There’s also a small closet/pantry next to the back door that I plan on adding shelves to after the new year.




My biggest pet peeve might be that there’s no stove, only a separate oven and cooktop. An old cooktop. That someone spray painted black. There actually wasn’t even an oven when the place went on the market, it was a contingency I added during negotiations. The exhaust hood is equally ancient and I can’t stand that the microwave has to be where it is. But at least the oven is brand new and white.




I really like being able to have my cookbooks at arm’s reach, and because there’s not much wall space for art the covers act as just that. I’m also able to display my little vase collection and the ridiculous amount of tea that I rotate through.

There’s definitely a ways to go with this room before I’m satisfied, but I’m also happy with what I’ve been able to do with it on the budget I’ve allowed myself while saving up for bigger renovations.



Tetra Pendant c/o Lamps.com // Whitewashed Wood + Metal Shelves c/o West Elm // Edith Bar Chairs – Lulu & Georgia // Le Creuset Red Tea Kettle // The Humble Egg c/o Minted // white sweater knit vase – Target, no longer available

Photos: Quelcy Kogel


The Dining Room



You’ve seen the living room, now it’s time to get a little more formal.

But first you’ll have to excuse me while I go absolutely ape over my dining room. I love this room more than any other space in any place I’ve ever called home. Everything about it. The huge windows, the stunning light, the floor to ceiling built-in… I could go on.

There are pocket doors between the living and dining rooms (seen here), but they’re blocked off for some unknown reason. I’ve done some investigating (and removing of pieces of frame), but can’t figure out where the problem lies. Looks like it’s a job for the professionals.

I’ve never had a dining room before, and I’ve longed to be the kind of girl who had dinner parties and holiday get togethers at her house without the room to do so. The dining room turned out to be more than I could have hoped for with a mix of old vintage pieces that have followed me around a bit and some new.




I was worried the built-in was too busy with my treasures, but a friend reassured me it was a-okay since I stuck to black and white. In the cabinet underneath I store about half of what I refer to as my “entertaining ware” – or the things that only come out a few times a year. I’m thinking I’d maybe someday like to paint the back of the built-in a color like deep turquoise or goldenrod to add a pop, but I’m fantastic as is for the time being.




In my last house this vintage mid-century credenza was in my living room, holding my television, records, DVDs, etc. Here it’s serving its rightful purpose as a buffet and hiding the other half of that “entertaining ware.” (Fist pump.) I’m bound and determined to cover it from edge to edge in plants to take full advantage of all that glorious light I mentioned. In fact I’ve added an aloe plant and a Christmas cactus since these photos were snapped a few weeks ago.




Another piece that’s followed me a few times is this Depression-era kitchen cabinet that I use as my bar. It’s been one of my favorite possessions for a long time now and it feels so right in this house that’s full of character since it has plenty as well.




The original bath (the first of two) is off of the dining room, which is definitely strange. But it’s been renovated and now features a killer glass bowl sink and vanity that you can just see in this shot. I can’t really imagine making overnight guests use it as theirs, so for the time being I mainly use it to bathe the dogs. Since I plan on staying here for some time I can see maybe eventually tearing out the tub and making the pantry that butts up against it on the kitchen side larger. Time will tell.




That floor rug just makes the space, don’t you think? I love how it adds a hit of pattern to my otherwise minimal dining room. The mid-century table and chairs set the tone for many dinners to come and the light fixture might as well be a piece of art in itself. (A huge, massive thank you to West Elm for reaching out for a collaboration!) I gave it all a test run last weekend for a birthday party and people gravitated towards the room like a magnet, I don’t think I’ve ever received so many compliments on decorating before. Like I said, OBSESSED.



Parker Expandable Dining Table c/o West Elm // Splat Dining Chairs in pecan c/o West Elm // Torres Wool Kilim Rug c/o West Elm // Mobile Chandelier c/o West Elm // credenza (vintage) // bar cabinet (vintage) // large green bowl – handmade // large glass vessel – Pier 1, no longer available // aqua bamboo bowl – Target, no longer available // Sonneman Level Table Lamp – Lamps.com // Male and Female Socialites Busts – immLiving // silver trunk vase – Target, no longer available // Grass with Seeds – Minted

Photos: Quelcy Kogel


The Living Room + a Lamps.com Giveaway



I posted a sneak peek of the kitchen last week, but this time it’s the real deal. I’m finally beginning to share how my new (old, built in 1900) house is shaping up. I think I’ve said before that I bought this home knowing that it was a flip, and fully expecting all of the weirdness/issues that normally accompany such a project. We’ve already done some updating to a few things – roof repairs, a plumbing issue, bringing outlets up to code, etc – and there are of course still things that need done and yet others I want to do aesthetically. But I’m really starting to feel like this house is much more me than the last one in Oklahoma City. There’s character, there’s charm, there’s quirks. I plan on being here for years to come and I’m so happy to share a bit of the journey with you.





The living room is directly to the left of the foyer area. One of the main attributes that had me laying down my money for this place was all of the lovely light – 31 windows! – and openness. My last home had 11 windows and it was a big problem area for me.




The fireplace isn’t functioning, but I’m hoping to change that once I talk to a professional about what the deal is. I really love the stonework. You can’t tell from this photo, but it’s not all flush and they stick out randomly for some fantastic texture. The interior is black which works really well for featuring other pieces (aside from that MIA fire). My old home had a gallery wall in the living room and it feels really nice to be able to break up my collection a little more here.




Before I made the move from Oklahoma back to my home state of Pennsylvania, I sold and donated several things that were no longer my style or not what I saw working in this space. My photographer, Quelcy Kogel, asked me while we were shooting whether minimalism came naturally to me and I had to admit the answer was no. However, I’m loving this more pared down lifestyle that I’ve aspired to for years and am attempting to make it my mindset going forward.




I keep going back and forth on whether or not to remove the shutters on the windows flanking the fireplace, but settled for ripping out the old greying lace curtains that came with the house before the movers even had a chance to arrive. I have an unspoken rule that there will always be fresh flowers in this room because they add such life.




Another old house quirk – the floors are most definitely not even remotely close to being level, as my bookshelves can attest. While I still find it charming and funny I’d eventually like to invest in some sort of built-in for my library collection that would be slightly more sturdy and, well, level.




This is my view every evening as I settle down with the pups and attempt to unwind. There’s a beautiful fir tree just outside the window there and I can’t wait to see it covered with snow.




So are you all ready for a giveaway? I thought so. Lamps.com is giving away the 5 x 8′ Tasman Shag Handwoven Rug that I have in my living room. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this thing. We didn’t have any floor coverings for several weeks when I first moved in, and the moment this beauty arrived and was laid down both I and the dogs lost our minds. It feels so soft underfoot and Bebe and Piper love sprawling out for a good nap in front of the couch. And if you spy another rug you love on Lamps.com (yes, way more than lamps!), know that every one comes with a free rug pad. Essential for not slipping and giving your piece a good base.



To Enter:
1. Simply follow @designcrush and @lampsdotcom on Instagram! Then leave a little comment saying you did so along with your Instagram handle.
2. We’ll choose a random winner next Monday.
3. Good luck!

Reeve Mid-Century Coffee Table c/o West Elm // Gold Wire and Wood Accent Table // Stoneware Cylinder Vase (similar) // Basque Steel Brushed Nickel Arc Floor Lamp (similar) // Heywood Triple Natural Wood Bench // Samantha Armchair // Darrin Sofa // Still Not Scared by Kristi Kohut c/o Minted // Tasman Shag Handwoven Rug // Frontier Flatweave Handwoven Rug c/o Lamps.com // 14″ Globe Pendant c/o West Elm // A Helpful Reminder by Annie Clark c/o Minted // Sometimes I Wish Beginnings Were Ends c/o Jaime Derringer // You’re the Best and the Mostest c/o Read Between the Lines // Ellen by Tuesday Mourning // small painting on mantel by Pippin & Pearl // bar cart no long available

Photos: Quelcy Kogel


Win It: Lulu & Georgia



Today I’m finally sharing a small part of my new home with you! I’ve been eagerly awaiting this day for a few months. Today it’s just a tiny slice, but starting in a few weeks we’ll be moving on to the entire first floor (I hope you’re half as ready to see it as I am to share.)




So yes, this is clearly the kitchen. Well, about half of it really. I’m going to save the what I love I love/what I hate/what I’ve done/what’s left do rant for the full post on the room, but one of my very favorite parts is this incredible set of Edith bar chairs. They’re easy on the eyes as well as the rear with a generous seat and slim cushion. I’ve never had an island or breakfast bar in any previous kitchen, so I was really excited to find these guys over on Lula & Georgia. They’re perfect for the mid-century vibe that I love and aim for in most of my decor and I know they’ll be a part of my kitchen for years to come.




I’m also eyeballing the Henry Vase, Taman Lamp, Rizzo Bench, Ombre Moroccan Rug, and Monica Minimalist Side Table for my home as I figure out what I still need to complete a few of the other rooms.

So I’m about to get to the good part here… which is that you have the chance to win $100 to spend at Lulu & Georgia! Maybe you’re looking for a new throw to keep warm this winter or want to put it towards something larger like a piece of furniture. Whatever you the case, good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Holidays at Design Crush HQ

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In a normal year my Christmas tree goes up the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year it went up the Friday before, I had the itch to decorate and scratched. I blame it on the perfectly chilly day full of sleet that that Friday was, but think it had just as much to do with the abbreviated holiday season we’re experiencing in the U.S. this year.


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I love pulling out all of the ornaments I’ve collected over the past ten or so years. All pink, blue, silver, and white for the most part. For 2013 I changed things up a bit by adding silver garland to the mix, a first ever for any tree I’ve ever decorated. (If I’m too crazy for you, I totally understand.)


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When I decorate for the holidays I don’t like to disrupt everything, but rather add here and there to enhance. A few ceramic faux bois platters on the cocktail table, a bunch of eucalyptus in a hippo vase, and of course some seasonal candies. A metallic snowflake hanging from a lamp, a few pomanders, and a candle on the credenza… we’re getting there!


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The fireplace and mantel were strung with Edison bulbs and a banner begging for snow, as well as a few mercury glass and bottle brush trees. A set of silver finials and some woodland creatures help round it all out.


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A few bits on the kitchen cabinets and a bauble on the hall closet door, a favorite card over there in the guest bath, and some gold tinsel hanging around a frame. That’s how we do Christmas at Design Crush!