Historic Homes

I feel like everyone has at least one driving vice. Whether it’s speeding, texting and driving, never using the turn signal, or getting too into car dance parties when a good song comes on, everyone has something. My problem? Getting distracted by pretty houses in historic neighborhoods. 🙂


I feel like I should put out a warning right here about how extremely looooong this post is. If you’re not in the mood for a long-winded read, stop now.

I recently found out that there is a yearly Historic Home tour in our area that I never knew about. I’m super excited that it happens every year (and also deeply distraught that I missed all the others, ha!).

I loved trying to pick out what features were original, what came 10, 20,  50 years later, and what was added/updated the most recently. It makes me want to ask this question: What is the difference between restoring and renovating a home? I think people use the terms interchangeably when in reality they are usually completely different things.


image via Manhattan Nest

I love reading Daniel Kanter’s blog, Manhattan Nest for this very reason. He is working on restoring his upper New York home to its completely original state. There are some things that were added to his home decades (if not over a whole century) ago like exterior additions, new windows, different flooring, etc. that many people would argue add character/functionality, but if it’s not truly original he says it’s got to go. He then replaces items with exact replicas of what was there, or at least that are period appropriate if what was originally there is now totally gone/unknown. That is the true definition of restoring a home, and I think it’s highly worth acknowledgement.

ANYWAY. I’ve tried to organize my pictures and thoughts from the local historic home tour into a somewhat understandable flow. This is mostly just for me to review, but regardless, here we go!

First off, this nursery-turned-study. This room was my favorite that I saw. I overheard the owners saying that they used it as a nursery when their children were young, and now use it as a study and reading room. I just loved the overall shape of the sloping roof line, the unique little window, and that there was a “window” up in the top that looked down into the room from the loft upstairs.


Next up, using attic space. I love spaces that use all the roof-lines, instead of making every room a perfect cube from top to bottom. Some of these rooms are more traditional, and others are now much more modern, but I love how each used attic space as livable space.


Next, windows on either side of the middle of a wall. In newer homes you have a window in the middle of the wall, with solid drywall on either side. In many older homes it’s just the opposite. Not only does it make it so you can have art as the focal point between the windows, you also have twice as many windows on each wall. It’s a different way of visually framing the focal points, and one that I think needs to happen more in newer build homes.


Next, bay windows. Bay windows that take up an entire wall are so refreshing. And they are even better when you have leaded glass lights along the top. On this first image they obviously had to replace the old windows, but I’m so glad they put at least one leaded glass  portion in the new design. In the next picture the windows are all original and it is so stunning to have the leaded glass all the way across each window. Even the small side window has it. Also, the wood shutters!


Next, deep set windows. I love how in old stone homes the exterior walls are super thick. You would never notice it if it weren’t for the fact that all the window openings and door thresholds are extremely deep. In a modern house you’re probably talking about 4-6 inches between the interior surface of the wall and the glass of the window. In many stone homes that measurement is more like 15-ish inches. Add on top of that they usually have lovely molding and millwork detailing. It really makes you notice how unexciting most windows are today.


And lastly, at least as far as window are concerned, this little round bird window. How many windows have you seen like that lately in new homes? My guess is none.


Moving on from windows, wooden glass pained doors. I love that many of the homes had exterior doors with huge glass pains. Lately I can’t get enough of wooden doors like this. I think it’s especially inviting on front doors.


Next, door nobs. Sadly one of the first original pieces of old homes to be replaced are the door nobs. On the home tour I saw a lot of now Home Depot/Walmart door nob specials :/, but there were a few left that were true to period. One home where they had to start from the ground up with their restoration/renovation didn’t have original nobs, but you could tell that a lot of effort was put into finding something period appropriate even if it was brand new. The gold one below shows one of them.


This leads me into molding and millwork. In this first image below you can see that this home was renovated with a more modern twist. It’s interesting though because in a lot of ways they also restored  many of the home’s original details. These newel posts are almost exact replicas of the originals, just with an inch or so added to the bottom so that they met current safety/building codes. This was a great example to me of mixing styles, while staying true to each style being brought into the current design. The other images show molding. While I know this home didn’t originally have molding around the light switches (since, hello, no light switches in the 1800s), it is interesting that the light switches were considered in the overall update. Do you just ignore light switches since they aren’t true to the original design but are now needed? Or do you treat them as something that has always been there and is intentional since you have to have them now anyway? Just something interesting to think about.


The above image leads nicely into the next thing I noticed; colorful interiors. Though it’s usually impossible to know what colors an old home originally had, I always find it interesting to see all the paint choices that have taken place over decades/centuries of different owners. I mean, how often do you see mint green door/window trim and lavender crown molding? Also, check out the cool copper pipe trellis-type-thing that is hanging from the ceiling two/three images down. I want one!!!


Next, neutral interiors. There were some lovely gray-white walls with white molding. This is more my personal style, and what I think a lot of these home were more like originally anyway. Though wood trim instead of white is a high possibility as well. One of the homes is now a “museum” of sorts, but the walls are still the original color.


And lastly, the exteriors of the homes.. I love the paint colors on the scallop siding on top of the gable wall in this first pic. The next image shows one of my favorite things. I love when materials that are very organic in nature take on a crisp, symmetrical, and geometric feel. Usually this is more in furniture and art, but this is an architectural example. 🙂


I love the detailing under the eaves of all the homes I saw. All of them had beautiful millwork detailing that brought such charm to an area of the home which is now normally extremely boring and/or overlooked.


And lastly for real this time, I loved this front porch. The mint green ceiling, with red flooring; how the front porches of the next few houses down the street all line up exactly (which you would never notice from the road since all the houses are completely different styles); the leaded glass windows; the Chicago yellow brick with white trim; I was just an extremely relaxing space.


If you’ve read this far I am truly shocked and impressed. You must be procrastinating something biiiiiig time. 😉

Soon I’m going to be posting pics from the recent Parade of Homes in our area, as well as pics of the kitchen I got to help with the lighting and some of the final finishes on. It’s fun to have family friends with a home in the parade, haha. 🙂 Stay tuned!


Indigo Coaster DIY


Anyone else have tons of old jeans in their scrap pile, and no idea what to do with them? There are obviously countless projects online that call for old denim, but most of them don’t fit with a modern home design theme at all. They’re usually more inline with a ’90s sunflower theme, if you get my drift. This may be fine on throw-back overalls, but not in my living room, thanks.


This is a really simple DIY that makes old denim look more like part of the indigo trend, rather than something from the scrap bag.

You only need three items:

  • Old jeans
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun/sticks

Take your old jeans and cut along either side of the inside and outside leg seams. You should end up with strips that are about 5/8 to 1/2 inch thick. I just cut mine so that I had both the top material and folded seam-allowance from underneath. That way your strips are nice and thick.

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Once you have a few long strips you can start carefully gluing. All you’re going to do is start rolling your strips into a spiral and gluing every inch or so as you go around. You’ll need to use a little more glue in the middle, but can use less as you get farther out.


Here are my dry alligator hands showing how far I got with one strip. Obviously you’ll want to use a few. I also cut off the very end of each strip where the leg opening seam at the bottom was intersecting and making it bulky.

I chose to use the inside seam pieces first so that the thick (usually gold) double stitching would be hidden in the middle of my coaster, and then used the outside seams for the outer portions since they have less stitching, and therefore look less jean-esque. The stitching and distressing on pants is the real giveaway that you’ve used old jeans, so those are the parts I tried best to hide.


I have to make a confession that these originally didn’t start out as coasters. My original plan was to use them as trivets. (Hence why they’re a little large.) This seemed like a swell plan until I realized something; hot pans on top of something made with hot glue… Tell me you see where this is going… Let’s just say that after one use I quickly realized that they were better suited for items closer to room temperature. 😉



So what do you think, do these speak more to the modern indigo trend, or are they still in the ’90s sunflower camp? I honestly don’t know what I think, but considering these are the best looking coasters we have now, they definitely staying for awhile!

What other denim projects have you guys seen or come up with that don’t scream, “these are old pants from the rag bag!“, and instead speak to modern indigo? Please share below. 🙂

Happy Weekend!




Shop Spotlight: McGee & Co.


If you don’t already follow Studio McGee right now is the best time to start. Whether it’s their instagram, studio blog, pinterest boards, or new webisodes, you will be hooked instantly if you love bright, fresh, and timeless design. Like seriously. Go look right now. I won’t even be offended.

Admittedly Made McGee And Co. Favorites 01


They recently announced the launch of their new shop McGee & Co. where you can find all their favorite pillows, lighting, rugs, accessories, art work, textiles, and soon-to-be furniture! No matter what your personal style is I’m sure that you’ll find multiple things you love.

With that said, I went ahead and created some round-ups of my favorite items from their shop that I think best fit a modern, organic, and neutral color-scheme style. Here we go!

First up, Rugs.

Admittedly Made McGee And Co. Favorite Rugs

1. Alexandria 2. Aspen 3. Lincoln

4. Crete 5. Hamilton 6. Havana

7. Oceanside 8. Brooklyn 9. Tribeca

Each of these comes in multiple sizes/dimensions. I love these options because each could be applied to so many different kinds of design styles.

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Next up, Artwork:

Admittedly Made McGee And Co. Favorite Artwork

1. Navy Steps 2. Indigo 3. Hazy Countryside

4. Indigo Wave No. 3 5. Mist 6. Black & White Botanical

7. Spring Fog 2 8. Wood Frame Letter Board 9. Dark Diagonals Abstract

Last post I talked about using large-scale art instead of the default gallery wall. Studio McGee does a beautiful job at this, and I was so excited when I saw this list they compiled of abstract art options all under $100 with most of them being large-scale.

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Next up, Lighting.

Admittedly Made McGee And Co. Favorite Lamps

1. Lebon Floor Lamp 2. Old Pharmacy Floor Lamp 3. Nina Tapered Table Lamp

4. Charlton Wall Light 5. Clemente Table Lamp 6. Boston Library Light

7. Katie Pendant 8. Goodman Pendant 9. Hicks Pendant

Every one of these lights comes in multiple finishes such as brass, nickle, bronze, black, antique white, and/or two-tone. Again, I love how any of these could be right at home in an ultra-modern or ultra-traditional space. Yay for versatility!

Admittedly Made McGee And Co. Favorites 03


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And lastly, Accessories.

Admittedly Made McGee And Co. Favorite Accessories

1. White Base Cement Pot 2. Scalloped Stacking Bowls 3. Triangle Round Boxes

4. Gold Rimmed Apothecary Vases 5. Black Stripe Baskets 6. Brass Polyhedrons

7. Mini Trio Catchalls 8. Midnight Patterned Frame 9. Brass Laced Ceramic Jar

10. White & Natural Baskets 11. Lotus Ginger Pot 12. Standing Magnifying Glass

I love all these items for their bold, but organic feel. I feel like the word “organic” is often falsely be associated with items that are dull or boring. Like being organic somehow means it has to be unexciting. These items show just the opposite though; that something can still be organic in nature while providing bold, graphic designs and patterns. I would love to have some of these items for our living room update. 🙂

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Tell me you saw at least a couple things you loved. Ah! I can’t handle how much I love all these things. I love when designers I admire are willing to share some of their sources. I understand why a lot of designs don’t and completely respect their decision. If everyone knew exactly how to recreate their style with no help, they would be out of a job, haha. But that’s why a shop like this really is a gold mine. It gives you a great jumping off point to pieces that will help you achieve the looks you love, while doing things at your own pace.

I’m excited to see what other beautifulness (totally a word) will be available when they launch their furniture lines soon!

Happy Saturday!


Sources from top image:  via  |  via  |  via


Gallery Walls vs. Large-Scale Art


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Which do you prefer? A) Large-scale art. B) Gallery walls. C) Both. D) I have no idea.

When I was little my room had some lovely art prints. Watercolor girls and dusty pastel florals, that my mom picked out. Then my teenage years hit and this art became decidedly uncool, and I proceeded to gather every cat, kitten, dog, and puppy calendar that I could find and plastered my walls from bottom to top.

Ridiculous? Yes. Cheep and tacky? Oh yeah. But I loved it. That is, until a friend told me it was creepy. How can you call kittens in paint cans and puppies in wheelbarrows creepy?? He then proceed to point out that there were at least 30 pairs of eye watching me me sleep every night. Wha?! Well that’s just great, I thought, my perfect walls now ruined. (Though in retrospect, the whole thing had to have been an act of divine design intervention. ;))

That was my first gallery wall design experience, and I dare say things have improved greatly since then. Lately though, I’ve wanted to try something different than the standard gallery-wall-go-to. Gallery walls are everywhere  these days, and for good reasons. You can display tons of pieces that you love at the same time, fill a large space relatively easily, and often they can be quite cost effective to boot.

Take for instance this wall from before we started our living room update. Most of it was made from postcards I gathered on a trip to Switzerland. As for the small frames, they all came from thrift stores, and the brown curly shelf from my grandma’s house. I loved this wall because it showed multiple things/places/colors I loved, it was made from stuff I already had, and it filled our large blank tv wall quite nicely.

All this to say, I get it. Gallery walls definitely have their place. But do me a favor, and just look at these spaces where instead of tons of small pieces of art, there’s just one huge piece, maybe two. Bold, unapologetic, and uncluttered.





Photo by Amy Bartlam. Design by Veneer Designs.






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As I looked at all these spaces I tried to image gallery walls that would have the same impact on the room. And you know what? It was pretty darn hard. Of course there are beautiful gallery walls out there. But I think it’s worth considering next time you’re decorating a wall if something different, and bigger! wouldn’t be a nice change. And in case I haven’t convinced you yet, maybe this Pinterest board will. 🙂

So what are your thoughts? Team gallery wall forever! Or would you be daring enough to ever try something like this?

Happy Sunday!



Boho Modern Living Room | Before + Plan


Last post I shared my inspiration for our living room. Today I’m showing you some before pics, as well as the direction I’ve decided to take.

First up, before pics. Here she is. Or was really. Right now the room is in limbo, but this at least shows you what its last “finished” state entailed…


I could list all the things I now “hate”, or all the room’s “failures”, but I’m not going to do that. Suffice it so say, I am simply very ready for change.

Here’s my running plan:


Isn’t she pretty? Oh my heart.

We already have the Karlstad couch, a similar shaped chair, a similar metal wall hanging, and similar vintage brass cat figurines which I purchased on Etsy. For the console table, I’m hoping this Stockholm tv unit will do the trick. The nearest Ikea is a couple hours away so I have yet to see it in person, but I have my figures crossed! As for the carpet, TBD. We have the oat-meal-iest oatmeal rental carpet around, so hopefully a huge beautiful rug will magically float into my life. 😉 If not though, I’ve looked at a few options and am open to any suggestions!

As for the lighting and coffee/side tables, these are just my design jumping-off points. Most of them will probably end up being diys. Which brings up another diy/what do I do? matter. The framed art…


Have you guys heard of St. Frank textiles? When I first saw this piece used in a space I had to figure out where it had come from. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever loved a pattern more. If I could use the heart eye emoji here, there would be ten of them. That being said though, it’s worth far more than our budget will allow. Whomp whomp. :/


Similar story with these Anthro prints. Even though they were much closer to our budget, they were a lot smaller than I originally hoped, and are now discontinued.

So, all that being said, I’ve come to the conclusion that these too, at least for now, are going to be diys. As much as I like to think that I have artistic skill, I know I can’t diy a tapestry of any sort, much less like that St. Frank. So I’m thinking my solution is going to be found in engineering prints. I can recreate similar patterns/designs in Illustrator to use instead for the time being. I’ve already started experimenting, and hopefully will be able to show some progress on them soon!

So, there you go. Our living room action plan. In the following weeks/months with this space I’m hoping that some solid diys will come together, and that I’ll be able to start showing baby steps soon. Stay tuned! 🙂


Boho Modern Living Room | Inspiration


We live in a small, two bedroom fourplex on a quiet street, in a somewhat uneventful college town. Do we think about the day we’ll finally have our own house and be done with renter-ville? All. The. Time. But honestly, we can’t complain. Despite the lovely wood-paneled wall in our living room, and the splashes of 1970’s linoleum flooring, it really isn’t bad. The rent is dirt cheep and the landlord is awesome. (That right there is a miracle in and of itself.)

For a long time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with our living room. Living in a place you know is temporary doesn’t exactly make you want to rush out and drop tons of dough on furnishings. (Said like we have tons of dough in the first place… Ha.) Nevertheless, I feel like I’m finally beginning to hone in on what I would like to work towards.

Here is some of my inspiration. Notice the bold, but warm black and white color combos, strong geometric shapes/patterns paired with organic materials, and lots of texture (both visual and physical). Please pin images from their original sources. Thanks!


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I just love the modern, yet comfortable and lived in look in all these images. I also love that the color pallets are simple. The color loving part of me has had a problem in the past, where I used as many colors as possible in one room. Not in a tie-dye/rainbow-unicorns sort of way mind you, but I was always afraid of not having a good balance of warm and cool if I didn’t use a lot of color. These achieve that warm/cool balance, but in a much more sophisticated and calm way.

A transformation to something like this won’t happen overnight, but next up I’ll be showing the direction I’m thinking of taking to achieve this look, as well as some before pics of the place so you can get an idea of what I’m working with.

Wow, I feel accomplished. I finally worked up the courage to write a blog post. Pats on the back for me. 🙂