Let There Be Porch Light

 

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!

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Accounting Confessions of a Businesswoman, Part 3

 

I’m filling your screen with pretty home photos because I finished my extended 2016 taxes two weeks ago and I’m still recovering. Putting myself – and my accountant – through that mess only served to support my decision to move on to a more informed process, making this third post about using FreshBooks very timely. Up until this point I think I’ve taken for granted everything that’s going on behind the scenes after I enter invoices, receipts, etc., but now I’m very much looking forward to handing over a completely organized file on time next April.

 

 

But before I get into a few more of my favorite FreshBooks features, I wanted to share a few things I do to get in the right mindset for conquering my arch-nemesis: numbers. Math has never been my strong suit, and even though FreshBooks takes care of the actual calculating for me, it still stresses me out and I want to be as focused as possible when starting.

• Make a cup of tea or coffee, the ritual will help calm your nerves.
• Put on comfortable clothes.
• Light your favorite candle or diffuse some essential oils.
• Turn off the TV and turn on some music, I like classical when I’m working.
• Grab and snack and make sure you go to the bathroom beforehand to avoid interruptions.
• Try to conquer things during your most productive hours – for me it’s early evening.

 

 

Okay, now we’re settled and ready to rock.

As I dive deeper into everything FreshBooks offers, I’ve been using the Projects function that’s a godsend when working with a team or collaborator on blog posts or freelance jobs. Basically, you can invite others in to manage and share information, files and, updates so that you’re all on the same page and no detail gets forgotten. Employees can access the full project, contractors can see steps and invoice you when everything is complete, and clients can share feedback and track progress. I love that it’s a centralized place for files too, no more digging through long chains of never-ending emails!

Projects features: simple project management, collaborate with employees, contractors, and clients, share images and files, centralize conversations, current project overview

 

 

 

As we roll into Q4 I’m also paying way more attention to Design Crush’s profitability for the year. FreshBook‘s dashboard makes it plain as day where things stand so I can take a look at where I can improve or what’s going exceptionally well. Reporting takes care of calculating profit and loss statements and the other small business financial reports that I’ll need come tax time without giving me a panic attack. The numbers are all in one place and my accountant can put the Advil back in the medicine cabinet.

Reports features: clear breakdown of spending, filtered custom reports, summary of outstanding revenue, profit and loss report, expense report, invoice details report, the ability to download reports to Excel

 

 

Our final FreshBooks post will be in January, when I’ll spill my guts about how this past year has really gone financially. 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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A Book That Takes It’s Time

 

A Book That Takes Its Time is one I’ve been waiting to get my hands on since the start of the year when I first learned of its upcoming existence. Finally today, thanks to the team at Workman Publishing, I’m able to share it with you on its release date!

Flow is a magazine celebrating creativity, imperfection, and life’s little pleasures and this is its first companion book. It also embraces the physical qualities of paper – its weight, texture, the way it takes color – and the formats and ways in which it can be delivered. Articles in the magazine mingle with bound-in or fold-out posters, stickers, pre-printed thank you cards from noted illustrators, and other “goodies.” In short, Flow has created a magazine best enjoyed in print form and A Book That Takes Its Time follows closely in its successful footsteps.

 

 

A Book That Takes Its Time: An Unhurried Adventure in Creative Mindfulness (the full title) was penned by the co-founders and creative directors of Flow, Irene Smit and Astrid Van der Hulst. At it’s heart this tome is about doing, about experience, and about intention. It’s a book both about mindfulness and a book that literally inspires mindfulness while reminding readers to slow down, breathe deeply, and be present.

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m forever struggling to be more in tune with the now – maybe this year more than ever before. This book turned out to be a much needed balm, right from Chapter 1, that I can turn to when the days are especially trying or I just need a moment to regroup and regain focus. Make your way through its pages in order or skip around depending on what you need and when you need it.

 

 

Learn to appreciate and savor moments both large and small by punching out pages of decorative memory cards to fill out and save in a mason jar so you can revisit them when you need an emotional lift. Read about the benefits of clearing your mind and letting your hands lead the way, then use the provided images and words to create a personal collage. Snip, arrange, and paste them onto the fold-out blank canvas and see where your subconscious takes you.

 

 

Read about the advantages of slowing down, then put those lessons into practice with the removable Joy of One Thing at a Time Notebook. Tear out a postcard and snail mail it to a friend. Make a list to clear your mind and refocus.

 

 

There are lessons on how to shift your focus away from what you don’t have and focus on what you do have. On stepping back from your phone to take just one photo with a camera – and then let the gaps in an album tell the story. Even tips for breaking old habits that will get your wheels turning.

 

 

Not every page is an activity or lesson, some are simply filled with inspiring words that you may not have known you needed to read. Do you get it? It’s the kind of book that makes you take your time, one that you can’t just hurry through so like so many other things in life. It’s a book that makes you stop to savor, play with, and appreciate all the lovely and interesting detours that hands-on activities provide.

 

 

 

Readers will have the chance to learn hand-lettering, the basics of collaging, even how to meditate while running. There’s something for everyone, which is what I love most about this book that mixes reading, learning, and doing. It’s part creative therapy, part teacher, part self-help, part workshop.

 

 

 

 

 

This post sponsored by Workman Publishing. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

2

The Guest Room: Making the Old New Again

 

In my home owning experiences the last room to get any love is usually the guest room, which makes it  all the more gratifying once it’s been done! I partnered with estate sale marketplace, Everything But the House, to pull mine together and have been bidding on pieces for the past two months to make it happen.

I won’t even bother showing you before shots of the space because there isn’t much to share. I jokingly referred to it as the Renaissance Room because it was filled with a mishmash of old furniture from my childhood, my father, and my step-grandmother and not at all my taste. The vibe I was hoping to pull off in the revamped room would be a mix of fresh and modern with touches of Americana – considerably different from the rest of my home, but an aesthetic that I’ve been increasingly drawn towards.

 

 

What I did love about the guest room pre-makeover were the stories associated with each piece of furniture, from the cherrywood dressers my grandparents bought me when I was 10 years old to the secretary desk my dad used to build his model cars on as a kid and refinished when my parents were newlyweds. Nowadays I think we’re all too quick to discard the old for the new, and I love the idea of EBTH bringing estate sales right to my laptop. I spent a few weeks browsing and bidding on items, then a few more waiting for them to arrive in the mail.

One of the first pieces I picked up, and definitely the most modern, was this clear acrylic side table for $46. (EBTH is very clear about what you’re bidding on, down to details on scratches.) When it showed up on my doorstep I was beyond happy with both the heft of the piece as well as the inch wide thickness of the acrylic. I really like how it adds a good sized bedside surface without adding much visually – it practically disappears!

 

 

I spent just over $500 on the entire room and pulled pieces that weren’t being used elsewhere in the house in to bring everything together. This brushed gold lamp is one of my favorites and wasn’t getting the attention it deserved, so into the guest room in went. A few cuttings from my Wandering Jew plant in a vase and a tobacco scented candle lend a few visual elements to the top, while a trio of coffee table books and an old metal box I’ve had for several years add some heft underneath the table. (Plus, the cuttings grow roots in just a few short days – a sweet little gift to send guests on their way with.)

 

 

The bed was the ultimate score in the room. EBTH gives you the option of shipping or picking up items you purchase, and this mid-century teak-finished bed was a short 35 minute drive away. I BOUGHT IT FOR ONE DOLLAR. Larger pieces obviously cost more to ship, so I was the lone bidder and you can bet I’ll be telling my children and grandchildren about this deal. The matching headboard and footboard have vertical and horizontal veneer patterns with squared molding and the side rails slid right in, making this bed the easiest to assemble I’ve ever encountered.

I made it up with a set of super soft white microfiber sheets and a down alternative duvet that I already had, then layered a classic Pendleton blanket on top with a pinstriped throw pillow for a little pattern.

 

 

I’ve long wanted to learn how to play acoustic guitar, and have plenty of friends and visitors with more than their fair share of talent, so I snapped up this Fender FA-100 for $71. It’s a pretty basic model but I’m hoping it invites cozy musical stirrings, and it just looks so good sitting in that corner even when not in use.

The guitar is propped up on another EBTH find, a brown leather folding tripod stool with embossed floral and filigree patterns that I got for $30. The legs slide into a pocket in each corner of the triangular seat and the legs fold flat for storage when not in use. A sweet little spot to sit while strumming, no?

 

 

The master bedroom and guest room are just about the same size, so I had a good amount of space to play around with. One of the first things I did was replace the tension rods holding the curtains up with the same brass rods that are in the master and dining room – while this room feels so different, I love this one bit of cohesiveness with the rest of the house.

 

 

One of my decorating rules of thumb is to have some greenery in every room, in this case a sturdy rubber plant that will thrive in the sun exposure this space receives and not require a ton of maintenance to keep alive.

The bench used to sit at the bottom of the staircase at my mom’s house and will make a great place for guests to put their bags, sit to put on their shoes, etc.

 

 

The bed may have been my best find but this offset lithograph is my favorite! It’s titled Mrs. James Montgomery Jr., leading me to call this the Mrs. Room post-makeover. The original painting is by Thomas Sully and depicts a pretty dark haired woman wearing a strand of coral beads, but I was able to pick this framed piece up for only $24 through EBTH.

 

 

The blanket ladder used to live in the master bedroom and now offers different weights of blankets to make guests perfectly comfortable while sleeping.

 

 

The only piece of furniture that I kept in the room from before is this secretary desk, I’d love to replace the hardware on it but because of some attached plates it needs to be just right. (The search continues!) Guests can sit here – that chair used to be in a living room corner – while getting ready for the day.

 

 

I love layering mirrors, and this little nook offered up the perfect opportunity. The large mirror is something I picked up from a neighbor on trash day for free! A snake plant and a few more coffee table books stacked up for bedtime browsing finishes things off.

 

 

This sweet little mobile is something I picked up on super sale a few months back with plans to hang it in the master. It was still sitting on my dresser while I was pulling this room together and I knew where its true home was.

 

 

For awhile now I’ve had this thing for American flags, or I should say for them aesthetically (because for their meaning, always, of course). This vintage 48-star canvas version has been so obviously loved that I had to have it. In my mind it was living in the garage workshop of a WWII veteran and I wanted to continue to give it the same kind of care and respect. I was able to get it with a bid of $68 on EBTH and am happy to hang it front and center over the bed.

 

 

This room gets the most amazing light! The white cotton curtains diffuse it just enough.

 

 

My last EBTH find was a southwestern wool rug (or saddle blanket) for $60. I’m not afraid to layer floor rugs on top of wall to wall, and the horizontal bands of black, brown, grey, lavender, and red against a natural off-white background pull in several of the colors used elsewhere in the room.

 

 

So that’s that – three years to the day I first set foot in my home and I’ve finished putting my stamp on it. Who’s going to be my first guest in the new room?!

This post sponsored by Everything But the House. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

9

Increase Curb Appeal with James Hardie

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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Porch Tales

 

I’m an autumn girl at heart, but I’ve really been enjoying the heck out of this summer! All of the bits and pieces of work that have been put into the back and front yards over the past two years seem to finally be paying off, and I’ve been spending much more time enjoying the outdoors than usual.

 

 

There were a few things I wanted to knock off my to-do list before the temperature starts to dip again – landscape the small front yard, replace the porch light fixture with something more modern, strip and paint the back deck, and repaint the porch swing.

The front yard is looking rough in these photos that were taken in the midst of a July dry spell, but I managed to plant some new things this spring! Three peony bushes, some white poppies, and a few others joined the hosta and irises that was already there. (Now to move all of those river rocks!)

 

 

I also potted a bunch of things for the porches – herbs, hen and chicks, and lambs ear just to name a few. Add in the indoor plants I’d brought out for the summer and I realized that what was lacking were a few accent tables to set them on top of. A pair of woven Kai Water Hyacinth indoor-outdoor tables were the perfect thing because they pull double-duty when I’m entertaining as a place to set drinks and things. Cheers to the current wicker trend because I’m loving it and they’re wearing wonderfully.

 

 

Can you tell I’ve been using the bench and tables as my potting area as well? I really need to get that situation under control, but also kind of like how all of those stacked terra-cotta pots look just hanging out.

Project Repaint the Porch Swing is about 50% finished after cleaning off decades of grime. Initially I’d planned on painting it a semi-gloss black to match the front door, but now I’m second-guessing myself and considering a stain. Either way it’ll be back in action by fall and – most importantly – out of my driveway.

Unfortunately we’ve had an incredibly rainy summer here in Pennsylvania, so I had to make the decision to put off redoing the deck until next spring.

 

 

I picked out a fresh new light fixture for the front porch – this matte black Vance LED Outdoor Ceiling Light that oh so modern – and that’s where the good news on that project comes to a full stop. After removing the ancient pendant that was up there, we discovered the wiring was a huge (RE: unsafe) issue and that this project may have been a blessing in disguise. The grounding wire was blackened and charred while the other two wires were both white, rather than one black and one white. Essentially the light that I used every evening could have sparked at any time, and now it’s turned into a rewiring project as well. I’m looking forward to getting it wrapped up soon so that I can share that as well!

 

 

In the meantime, I need to replant that little Meyer lemon tree in the yellow pot and keep all my fingers crossed that the herbs survive once I have to bring them indoors. But first I think I’ll go have some iced tea on the porch…

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

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Accounting Confessions of a Businesswoman, Part 2

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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The Big Spring Closet Clean Out of 2017

 

I’ve been slowly going through my house, room by room, and getting rid of things I haven’t used recently. Call it the Marie Kondo method, call it decluttering, whatever you call it it feels really good. I’ve had April earmarked for my closet since the start of the year and was really looking forward to doing some serious damage. Most things end up in the donation pile, but there are usually a few more quality pieces that I’d like to get a return on – enter eBay!

 

 

 

If you’ve never sold with eBay before it couldn’t be easier, let me lay it out.

Step 1. List it.
Take a few photos to upload, decide on the selling format that’s right for you, and you’re done. (I love the feature that allows you to save a draft for later!)

Step 2. Ship it.
After your item sells mail it out.

Step 3. Get paid.
PayPal gets you your earnings in the fastest, simplest way – and for free.

Just think of all the potential cash you have laying around your house right now in the form of clothes you’re no longer into, kitchen appliances you’ve never opened, and decor that’s just not your jam anymore.

 

 

 

I’m good about keeping whatever’s on hangers down to what I wear on the regular, but things like jeans, sweater, and bags that are on shelves are more difficult to keep in check. By making a little extra cash on things I’m no longer wearing, I can justify buying this bamboo handbag I’ve been eyeing and this navy blue mini peasant dress that I’d love to have for summer. Like everything in life, keeping your belonging in check is all about balance.

 

 

 

Things I’m letting go of that are up for grabs?

A brightly hand painted, hand stitched clutch by Tiff Manuell.

A silk Missoni for Target scarf with a modern geometric zigzag pattern.

A rose gold MOTO 360 smartwatch that I just couldn’t get used to wearing.

A vintage 1980s black sequined handbag with a tied silk strap.

A linen scarf designed by one of my favorite painters, Kristi Kohut.

A small, sporty cross body goldenrod yellow leather purse with clasp closure.

A red, orange, and white bowling-style messenger bag from the 1990s.

A glazed canvas Wanderlust wallet from Petunia Pickle Bottom.

 

 

 

Be sure to check out eBay’s Clean Up, Cash In Game to learn what’s hot for selling by playing a fun match game, you’ll also be entered for a chance to win up to a $50 gift card. Add something new from your wishlist while clearing out the things from your own closet that might be on someone else’s – talk about a win-win!

This post sponsored by eBay. 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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Then and Now

 

My Mom is my everything. My best friend, my sounding board, my ride or die. The one who gives me tough love when I need it and tells me to be gentle with myself when the days are hard. We’ve always been close, but it was only once we no longer lived in the same house that I began to appreciate the things that once annoyed me. The way she always put me first, how fiercely protective she can be, and even the amount of discipline she instilled in the way she raised me.

 

1981

My mom was made to be a mother, my mother. She had me at a young 22 years old, but was wise beyond her years after some difficult family circumstances early on in life. But once she gave birth she never really looked back – we went everywhere together, did everything, and were sidekicks. We still are.

 

2015

I wanted to give her something extra special this Mother’s Day, something that represents how we began and how far we’ve come as mother and daughter as well as friends. I chose two of Artifact Uprising‘s Instagram Friendly frames, each of them measures 8 x 10″ and is deep set with a gorgeous walnut finish. In the first she’s holding a one and half year old me in her arms at my cousin’s baptism, and in the second we’re crouching in together at Mother’s Day brunch two years ago.

 

 

Both of these photos were already in my Instagram feed, so I only had to connect the channel and voila – no uploading necessary. I know these two museum quality frames will be something my Mom cherishes for years to come, and I love that we can add to them in the future with more shots of the two of us!

This post sponsored by Artifact Uprising. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content! Enjoy 10% off your order through May 9th with code AUxMOTHERDAY17.

2

My House Got a Facelift

 

While I’ve shared plenty on the updates of the interior of my old, partially-flipped house, there hasn’t been nearly as much done on the exterior. Why? Simply put it’s more intimidating. But back in January I vowed that this is the year that things would get done, and I’ve started off by partnering with Mid-America to replace and add shutters to the front of my home. Mid-America is a leading manufacturer of siding accessories, and they also offer the largest selection of exterior home products in the industry, so I knew both me and my house were in the right hands.

 

 

Prior to now only one window had shutters of any kind, the large one on the first floor, front and center and a little to the left. They were wooden, measured incorrectly, and too short. The attic windows looked fine as they’re a more interesting design and flanked by shaker wood siding, but the trio on the second floor just looked… sad.

 

 

But no longer! From the street it looks like my house got a facelift. The good kind.

Every window was measured correctly this go around and the shutters installed like a dream with just a drill, screwdriver, and hammer. Mid-America offers a wide range of shutter styles and colors, all low maintenance with no painting required. They’re impervious to moisture and insects, which is something I highly value as the owner of a house that’s 117 years old, and made right here in the United States. I chose their straight top all louver shutter in black for all four windows and couldn’t be happier with the quality or end result.

 

 

On the list for 2017:
• landscape the small front yard, dispose of one hundred river rocks
• replace the porch light fixture with something more modern
• strip and paint back deck
• sand and repaint porch swing

Longterm plans:
• build wooden porch up to door height, railing, stairs
• have slate roof repaired
• landscape backyard
• replace porch roof support columns with a sleeker design

 

 

Get a load of the full-on before and after! Looking back the house seemed so incomplete without Mid-America’s shutters. Eventually I’d love to add sets to the windows on the back and east-facing sides for the full effect, but until then I can’t help but smile each time I pull into my driveway. Onto the next project!

 

This post sponsored by Mid-America. 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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