Accounting Confessions of a Businesswoman

 

Just like clockwork, I filed for my yearly tax extension yesterday.

See, I have a bit of an admission to make which is that I really hate numbers and money or any combination of the two. Design Crush has been a business for nearly ten years and an LLC for more than half of that, and I’m honestly just getting a hold on my books now. It’s always felt extremely overwhelming to me, and so I’ve never made the time to fully understand and grasp what was going on behind the scenes. Money in the bank? Great. Set aside enough of that payment for taxes? Done. And that’s basically the extent of what my plan has been until this year.

Accounting got to the point of being a constant source of stress, a point of mental wellness that needed addressing. So I reached out to FreshBooks after sitting in on one of their workshops, they made accounting seem both easy to tackle and far less overwhelming than it had up until this point.

 

 

I’ve teamed up with FreshBooks to bring you the story of my journey this year as I tackle the financial side of Design Crush – and what better time to start than Tax Day?

Let’s start from the beginning.

When I first logged into my free one month trial I was immediately impressed by the clean layout. One thing that’s always kept me away from other accounting software is the sheer amount of information being thrown my way visually. FreshBooks was actually designed to be simple to use for the self-employed and easy to navigate, and that’s actually what it is. It became apparent – quickly – that I was about to be far more streamlined as a business as soon as I familiarized myself with the system. (On average users save 16 hours per month!)

 

 

I played around backlogging invoices from January 2017 to the present, marking the paid ones off and entering the information of the brands I work with most often for future billing. FreshBooks helps you to create a professional looking invoice that includes your logo, as well as sends out reminders when one goes overdue – basically taking you out of the role as the bad guy. (I love this.) You can even personalize a thank you message that goes out once each invoice is paid. Now this feature is like magic to me, you can set up your account up to accept credit cards! *mind explodes* If you’d like to dig even deeper you can add additional charges for late payments and request deposits from clients. Everything can be automated, making invoicing as painless as humanly possible.

Invoicing features: customization, payment reminders, automatic late fees, accept credit cards, recurring invoices, flexible due dates, handle received invoices, discounts, deposit requests, preview before sending, multi-currency billing, multi-language invoices, duplicate invoices, automatic tax calculations

 

 

Next thing, I photographed receipts and uploaded them to mark as expenses. Being a visually-driven person, it really helps that I’m able to see both the actual receipt as well as the file in FreshBooks. Nearly all of the functions include a line graph spelling things out for those of us who comprehend information better in that form. In this case I can tell immediately how much I’ve been spending and how profitable Design Crush is at any moment. Goodbye shoebox of receipts and manual entry! My accountant is already thanking you because he won’t be receiving a handwritten list for my 2016 taxes. *cringe*

Expense features: receipt attachments, tax-friendly categories, easy to read summaries, remembered vendors, multi-currency tracking, easily editable

 

 

So, this is the start of my journey. I’m looking forward to sharing more of what I learn along the way as I step out of my comfort zone and tackle this neglected area of Design Crush. 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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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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#365quotes2016 + Mixbook

 

2016 was the second time I completed my 365 quotes project on Instagram, and it would be a shame not to document it after all the time put in. So I teamed up with the creative folks over at Mixbook to help make it a reality in the form of a hardcover photobook that I can have as a longtime reminder.

 

 

After deciding on a square 8.5 x 8.5″ photobook I chose to start with one of Mixbook’s templates – Minimal White – rather than work from an entirely blank slate. The platform is really simple to use and allowed me to change page layouts and fonts once I began, as well as add pages (up to 399). There’s also the option to add things like stickers and backgrounds to further customize your project, so all-in-all you have complete control over your design.

 

 

Each page of my photobook has the same vertical off-center layout because I wanted all 365 quotes to have the same weight and presence with the exception of the cover. This seemed like the obvious choice since they were all the same shape when initially shared on Instagram and I wanted to retain that integrity.

 

 

I was also happy to learn that Mixbook uses only the highest quality heavy-weight papers that are ethically sourced from sustainable forests and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Rainforest Alliance. Huge bonus!

The end result is just as I hoped it would be, clean and minimal with each quote stealing the show from the page before. (Now what else can I make a book of?)

 

 

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

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An Easy Holiday DIY for You + Your Cat

 

If you share your home with a cat (or three) they’re in the Christmas tree half of the time it seems. I took a cue from them and created this two-for-one DIY project inspired by their antics and Fancy Feast Feastivitieshandmade gift guide for cat lovers.

Fancy Feast Feastivities is a celebration of the ultimate ways to delight cats and cat lovers during the holidays. This year’s theme is all about inspired holiday entertaining, so you’ll find the gift guide contains plenty of gifts for the cat-loving hostess in your life. The creativity of the makers involved pushed me to come up with something I knew my cats would love playing with, rather than buying something they’d probably bat around for five minutes and never look at again (like real kids!).

 

 

Your cat can play to their heart’s content with their mega glitter pom pom toy, while just the addition of ribbon turns it into a sparkly decoration that can bring a festive touch to a doorknob or tree branch in your home. I plan on making a few more of the smaller ones to add to the outside of gift boxes as well because they’re just so happy looking!

 

 

Supplies
• glue gun and glue sticks
2-inch styrofoam ball (for the cat toy)
• 3-inch styrofoam ball (for the decoration)
• various sizes of glitter pom poms
• ribbon
• catnip

 

 

After heating up your glue gun, start by distributing the largest of the pom poms evenly over the ball’s surface and gluing down. Work progressively through the other sizes (I used three different ones), using the smallest pom poms to fill in any leftover spaces. If you’re working on the larger decoration, make sure to leave a small space to attach a ribbon for hanging with the hot glue as well. Allow to cool for five minutes before placing in a closed ziploc bag with catnip for a few hours. Your own ornament should be ready to hang after those five minutes as well.

 

 

My cat, Peanut, especially loved this toy. He batted it around the room for at least ten minutes, picking it up in his mouth and giving a good shake before putting it back on the floor and running around the room like crazy again. I may need to make two more for the other cats! And if you have any of the larger pom poms leftover I guarantee your felines will go crazy for those on their own as well.

This post sponsored by Fancy Feast Feastivities. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Design Crush create fresh content!

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10 Tips for De-Stressing This December with Rescue Remedy

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I’m so stressed. It’s something we hear someone say or think to ourselves at least once a day. Stress is one of those facts of life that can seem inescapable at times, especially during the holidays. December has been a hot point for me since at least college, when I associated it with finals and traveling. Today the sources are more along the lines of budgeting for holiday gifts and the uptick in Q4 blogging, but it’s there nonetheless, from mid-November through the New Year I just can’t seem to shake it.

 

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This go ’round I’m partnering with Rescue to try and help ease stressful moments. Developed by a doctor nearly 80 years ago, the Rescue brand aims to help you keep calm, cool, and collected when you’re feeling anything but. I’ve been reaching for three of their products throughout the day for the past month – black currant Rescue pastilles at my desk, Rescue Remedy spray when I’m on the go (I keep it in my purse), and Rescue vitamins by my bedside before bed. Each provides gentle, non-habit-forming stress relief just when I need it. Their lines even includes products for children and pets, so there’s literally something for everyone when they need to calm down.

 

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Let’s talk about some other ways to step out of the red zone when you feel stress and anxiety make themselves known. Along with Rescue products, my go-tos are pictured through the post – lighting a relaxing candle, making a cup of tea, or taking a moment to pick up some flowers.

Eat well. Your immune system becomes compromised when you’re stressed, making it harder to recover if you come down with something. Reach for dark greens, herbal teas, and proteins.

Go outside. Sit on the porch or go for a hike, just get some fresh air. Be present and try and let go of whatever is getting under your skin, even if it’s only for a five minute walk around the neighborhood.

Learn to say no. Whether it’s to a project or a night out, know your limits and respect them. Mental health is just as important as physical and you need to know those limits.

Try meditation. I’m loving the Headspace app for short ten minute stints. Focusing on little other than breathing does wonders for centering yourself before getting back at it.

Talk it out. Reach out to that friend or family member who inevitably makes you laugh or reminds you how good you have it. In this digital age we sometimes take human contact and its effects for granted.

 

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List what you’re thankful for. Don’t let negative, stressful feelings get the better of you. Instead take a moment to think of what you’re grateful for, what makes you smile, and what brings you joy. Make it in your head or jot things down to hang up as a reminder when you most need it.

Get moving. In whatever way you feel most comfortable – if you have dogs take them for a walk, if you belong to a gym make it part of your routine, if you like to run chart out a course. By increasing your heart rate you’re like to eliminate built up anxieties in the process.

Stay hydrated. Take a five minute break in between tasks to drink a glass of water. Even better, keep a carafe on your desk so you don’t have an excuse not to. Infuse it with fruits or herbs if plain H2O just isn’t your thing or as more of an incentive to drink more.

Go to sleep. It’s what our bodies require to recover from a multitude of things, including stress. Make sure you’re getting the appropriate amount of hours every night, and if you can swing add in a thirty minute power nap a few afternoons a week.

Put it in perspective. Chances are whatever is stressing you out isn’t the end of the world. Make plans to volunteer at a food bank or animal shelter, make a donation to a charity you believe in, or just realize how lucky you are to have humankind’s basic needs available to you.

 

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This post sponsored by Rescue, find out where to pick up your own stress relief here. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brand that help Design Crush create fresh content!

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Shop to Stop Diabetes

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It’s been awhile, but about two and a half years ago I shared with you that I’d been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. This past May my numbers finally leveled out where they need to be which was fantastic news, and it felt like something to be celebrated because a lot of hard work and self-control went into getting there. Since that first day I’ve become well-versed in not only the disease but in the ways to support a cure. Hopefully the world will see one in my lifetime, and that hope is owed in no small part to the American Diabetes Association.

This holiday season I’m teaming up with the ADA and their Gift of Hope program, an annual holiday gift catalog whose funds go to support their mission to fund research to prevent, cure, and manage diabetes. The program began in 1971 when several Minneapolis area parents of children with diabetes wanted to do something to fight back against the disease. They started selling holiday cards to raise money and since then the program has raised more than $26 million. No small feat!

There are lots of lovely gifts to choose from – I have my eye on this tote, a portable picnic blanket, this all-natural cookbook, and these plaid dish towels for the holidays. The Believe decoration above is getting wrapped up for my aunt who loves Christmas more than any other holiday!

This post sponsored by the American Diabetes Association. Please consider shopping with Gift of Hope this holiday season. It’s a cause near and dear to my heart that affects me directly, thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Crush!

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Holiday Curb Appeal

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Things move at an exceptionally fast speed during the holiday season, especially when it comes to decorating. Case in point – Saturday my porch was covered in pumpkins for my housewarming party and today it’s nearly ready for Christmas! I’ve teamed up with Boscov’s to share with you how the transition of my place is shaping up.

 

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The necessity of good curb appeal is preached the real estate market over, but it also can be taken as a way to make your home feel welcoming before guests ever step foot inside. I wanted both sides of the semicircular set of stairs leading up to the front door to mimic each other, so I chose pairs of everything. Two 10-inch tall white LED lanterns, two 14-inch tall red LED lanterns with timer, and two 2-foot tall Northampton LifeLike Shrubs. I’m really drawn to the three different types of lighting each piece uses – candle, traditional string of lights, and mini twinkle lights – because they add so much visual interest. And though I’m not normally someone who’s drawn to glitter, I love the touches of silver on those shrubs!

 

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This Camdon Fir diamond shaped Christmas wreath is my favorite touch. You’ve seen other photos of my home and know how I love mixing my own modern pieces with the older charm of the place, so this really couldn’t be a better suited piece of decor. The diamond shape fits just perfectly into the large leaded glass window of the door! I simply added a simple bronze prayer bell to show off the new entry set and give everything a bit of bohemian flair.

 

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Just inside the entryway I did a little something as well. Some miniature Lemax decorative trees lined up on the mirror’s shelf are an unexpected touch of simple decor. I plan on adding to this little collection with a few bottlebrush trees I have in other colors as well.

 

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Did you see this illuminated Bethlehem star?! It was super easy to put together and plugs in right under the bench for the prettiest glow. You can also use it outdoors under cover, which would be a real showstopper. I have a feeling this is one of those pieces that I’ll move around a few times – in the entry, near the fireplace, maybe on the landing of the stairs. Whatever corner could use a little extra glow at any given moment.

I hope your holiday season is off to a fantastic start! We’ll be sharing plenty of inspiration, projects, and recipes over the coming month so stay tuned.

 

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This post sponsored by Boscov’s. I received product and compensation in exchange, though 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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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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