This is the story of a porch light fixture that was supposed to be an easy self-install last spring, but my 117-year-old house has something to say about that. Namely that the electrical needed revisited. No sooner had we removed the old fixture that it became abundantly clear that something was amiss – the grounding wire was charred and literally crumbled when touched and there were two black wires rather than one white and one black.
This is the end of any novice’s electrical work ability, and I’m not one to mess with anything that has the capability of burning down my house.
I had picked out a fairly low-profile three-light, energy-efficient, LED Vance outdoor fixture back on April 14th. April 14th. The heads swivel a little for light placement and I loved the modern-meets-traditional design of the piece.
Luckily an incredibly competent electrician was referred my way who was able to get the job done, as well as correct a few things that weren’t up to code. So maybe this was actually a blessing in disguise? Not burning a place down is always a good day in my book.
The LED lights are wonderfully bright and much improved over the old one-bulb fixture that had most likely been hanging up there for decades. And I not so secretly love how my little collection of decorative gourds are on display until all hours.
In fact, here are a few more gratuitous photos. I couldn’t resist adding geometric shapes with some paint pens to these two.
And I’d really like to turn that Hubbard squash into a crow’s face before October 31st rolls around next week.
I’ve also been wondering whether or not that butternut squash will last past next Tuesday so that I might cook with it? Only time will tell! Now let’s talk about how long it will take me to box in those scrollwork pillars…
This post sponsored by Lamps Plus. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Design Crush create fresh content!
I *think* I just may have a favorite fall/winter home shop – are you familiar with Rowan and Wren? Maybe it’s the impeccable styling or just-so dark and moody lighting, but I can see at least half of their goods gracing my home. My aesthetic is in the middle of changing, combining minimalist modern preferences with more traditional pieces, and Rowan and Wren’s thoughtfully sourced collection of distinctive homewares sits smack in the middle of that Venn diagram. Here are my 13 favorite things, because I quite literally couldn’t narrow the list down any further!
Kebne is not just an outdoor space, but rather an activity center for exercise and physical activities such as strength training or stretching. Designed to be used by everyone, regardless of height, age, gender, or level of training, the vision is that Kebne will create intuitive and social gatherings in the town square, the schoolyard, or the park. Use the structures any way you want – for stretching, weight training, acrobatics, yoga, or simply a place to play together. There are no moving parts, but the system does contain a chart with graphics that provides guidance on how to use Kebne to perform common bodybuilding exercises.
1/ Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque
I’ve been using this super affordable, very refreshing face masque a few times a month since seeing Jessica recommend it on her site. Just slather it on, wait 15-20 minutes for it to dry, then wipe off with a warm washcloth. It smells so good and has been key in drying up pesky pimples.
2/ Lady Bell Bell Peppers
This is the first year I’m growing peppers since moving back to PA (they were disastrous in Oklahoma), and the four plants I have in pots are doing great! Each one has about four peppers that should be ready to pick in a few more weeks.
3/ SOO AE My Collagen Hydrogel Lip Patch
Plumping lip glosses have never been my thing, but this slippery little lip mask intrigued me with it’s promises. While I only noticed minimal plumping, what I loved was how it left my lips feeling super smooth.
4/ Duster Kimono
This kimono accidentally “fell” into my cart last weekend at Target. I don’t have a ton of color in my wardrobe and that blue just called out to me to dress up jeans and a tee or a sundress.
5/ Chenille Plant
This chenille plant on my back porch is the best thing I planted this year! I love its personality and unusual fuchsia flowers that resemble a cat’s tail.
6/ Simple Micellar Makeup Remover Wipes
These wipes are my first foray into using micellar water, which is touted as a makeup removing magnet. They’re really gentle and seem to do their job well – exactly what I look for in all of skincare products.
7/ Feya Candles
All of their candles smell amazing (I’m burning the lemongrass sage right now) and their mission is based on giving back. It’s a win-win that I’m happy to take advantage of!
8/ Sseko Rue Ankle Strap Sandals
These sandals are responsibly made, super comfortable, AND give back. I also love that the accent on the toe strap can be switched out with any number of different designs – it’s like owning several pairs of shoes in one. Great if you’re into a capsule wardrobe.
9/ Dove Purely Pampering Coconut Milk with Jasmine Petals Body Wash
My Grandma gave me a bottle of this last month and I’m am in love with the scent as well as the way it makes my skin feel. My home has hard water which can dry my skin out, and this body wash is so moisturizing that even if I forgot to put on lotion after a shower I hardly notice.
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.
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!
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.
Have you spruced up your outdoor space for summer living? I’ve done lots in the yard, but need to tackle the deck with the power washer this weekend. I also need to pick up a few accessories, and I’ve got my eye on these powder-coated steel Poppy outdoor oil lamps. A field full of poppy flowers inspired their streamlined shape and design, available as a table lamp, a floor lamp, or a lawn light that attaches to the ground with a pin.