A big, hearty holiday welcome to those of you popping over from Mallory’s Christmas tour on Style Your Senses! In case you’re new to the blog (or in case you’re just tuning into our blog hop event), today I’m joining up with Lindsay Jackman’s Blogger Stylin’ Home Tours, Christmas 2015 edition. To mark the occasion, I’m leading the way into our cozy, rustic family room, a space that I just decorated for Christmas for the very first time.
In the short while that we’ve lived in our new home (just over a month and a half now!), John and I have managed to have the front half of the house repainted by pros, we a one of those new fireplaces that burn ethanol, partially installed (pending inspection), rearranged countless rooms, removed two room’s worth of wallpaper, replaced our mailbox, had our countertops measured for replacement granite, hung all new makeshift curtains in the family room, and just recently rounded out the marathon of makeovers with fresh holiday décor.
Is it perfect? Not quite. Do I have about ten million more tweaks to make? Yes, yes, YES! But this year I’m doing my best to embrace the 20-year-old carpet that we inherited, the brick mantel in desperate need of a cleaning, and the yellow walls that I can’t wait to repaint white. The one thing I can say about our family room is that it’s most definitely “home,” and that more than makes up for the fact that the room has a long way to go before it starts to look and feel finished.
As for the rest—the stockings, the bottle brush trees, painted nutcrackers, and holiday throw pillows—everything has been collected over the years from places like HomeGoods, Michael’s, and thrift stores. I get such a thrill from hunting down pretty white and blue holiday accessories, that I doubt I’ll ever truly be “done” with our Christmas collection. Are you guys that way, too?
One of my favorite Christmas traditions since John and I got married in 2012 is my heirloom Christmas book collection. Every year, John’s mom gifts me one of his childhood holiday books and I love thumbing through the classic stories—books like The Polar Express, The Gift of the Magi, and (a new favorite) J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letters From Father Christmas. Each book has a little inscription and date, and I love pulling them out of storage each November for nostalgic holiday reading. Pretty soon, we’ll have the new fireplace up and running and then things will really feel like Christmas. I can hardly wait.
Now that you’ve toured our cozy Christmas family room, I’m sending you on your ‘merry’ way over to Hunted Interior where Kristin is showing off her gorgeous holiday home—you won’t want to miss it! In the meantime, feel free to leave your own Christmas links and décor ideas in the comments.
First of all, thank you all so, so much for taking the time to complete my reader survey. The honest feedback and constructive insight was exactly what I needed to get moving on my big plans for 2016, so thank you, thank you! I have scanned and rescanned the reader survey results over the past couple of weeks, really doing my best to hone in on the things that everyone wants (and doesn’t want!) so that I can pick out the suggestions that feel the most authentic for my own goals for the blog.
Below, you’ll find interactive graphs explaining a few of the more quantitative results, plus answers to some of the questions you all submitted through the survey. At the end of the post, I detail a few of the upcoming changes to the makeup of the blog and its content, and since I’m knee-deep in Christmas decorating over here, I’m sharing a photo or two of those fun details, too.
How is life in your new city (which is my old city!)?
It’s so neat to hear that some of you are familiar with Waynesboro, Virginia! We are really enjoying our time in this totally new neighborhood, but love that it’s still close enough to friends and family that we don’t feel too isolated. I have definitely had some homesick moments, but this move has already been one of the most thrilling adventures of our lives, and I’m looking forward to what’s to come in our new house.
Cool places in Waynesboro?
We are loving our close proximity to the river here. John is an avid fly fisherman, and with the water within a five-minute drive, he can hop down to the South River after work in the afternoons and for all-day trips on the weekends. And, of course, I love that I can go walk or drive by the water whenever I want to as well—river sitting is one of my favorite pastimes. Oh, and speaking of proximity, I’m also pretty pumped to be just 25 minutes away from Charlottesville, too, for shopping and restauranting! My favorite Charlottesville stop-in is Circa.
What do you eat for breakfast?
Lately, I’ve been really into a poached egg over grits, with ham and cheese mixed in. But I also love a classic fried egg on toast. Has anyone tried it with avocado? That’s next on my list.
How do you stay inspired?
My inspiration comes from Pinterest, other blogs, magazines, and movies. I’ve always been a big, big fan of classic movies, so I love watching old 1960s flicks so that I can get inspired to try a new silhouette or DIY art project. Full disclosure: we’re bingeing on the original Star Trek series from the 60s on Netflix right now, and it’s surprisingly inspiring when it comes to space-age mid-century design!
Why did you guys decide to leave Lynchburg?
John and I both grew up in Lynchburg, and despite the fact that we love it, it was time for a change. Waynesboro isn’t a big city by any stretch of the word, but it’s close to D.C., Charlottesville, and Richmond, which makes me feel much more connected creatively than I did in Lynchburg. John was also ready for a big change of scenery, and happily, he was able to transfer his job within the same company—so here we are!
What does John do for a living?
John works for an after-market auto parts company, doing sales and delivery.
How did you learn to DIY / renovate?
For those of you who are new to the blog, my dad is a pro carpenter and wood worker and my mom has always been an interior design enthusiast. My family has also always been a bit frugal, so growing up, we decorated using thrift store pieces and we made lots of furniture from recycled materials and wood. I think this creative homemaking has made me live the DIY life with gusto now that my hubby and I have a home of our own.
What were your must-haves when house hunting, and how did you determine what to compromise on?
Our must-haves included a single family home with retro flair, three bedrooms and at least two bathrooms, a separate formal dining room, an outdoor space, and bonus spaces for living and working. Our new house fits almost all of those bullet points (plus some!), but we did have to compromise a bit on the outdoor space. The lot isn’t very large and backs right up to the neighborhood behind us, but we decided that the covered sun porch on the side of the house was “outdoor” enough for us, and we also plan to put in some big evergreen trees for privacy come spring. In case you missed it, you can tour the new house by clicking here.
Finally, here are the top 20 blogs/websites that you guys love most:
Now that I’ve had some time to think, I wanted to share some insight into where Dream Green DIY is going to go from here in anticipation of the blog’s fifth anniversary in March. First of all, you’ll notice that I will no longer be posting those filler roundup features that most people seem to be willing to do without—things like the Etsy Spotlight interviews and my Spaces + Soirée + Style series.
There may be exceptions to that rule when the topic feels right and exciting to me, but I understand that you want the meatier content with original projects and ideas. And trust me—I’m all for that! The only caveat (since I’m just one person) is that I may not post every day of the week going forward since those original-content-filled posts take hours to produce. Just a friendly heads up!
I was surprised to see how many of you miss my running Thrift Store Score column, so that will be coming back, and I will also be working in more posts about the new house transformation. You will still see simple DIY projects though and lots more content about how to easily style your home.
Thanks again for your feedback, and if you have any other things to add or comments and questions about where DGD is going from here in the new year, please feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. I had the super fun chance to work with Brittni Mehlhoff of Paper & Stitch to put together a holiday video PACKED with DIY ideas just in time for the season. Watch the video here (or click GO below!) to get an exclusive peek at Brittni’s favorite DIY projects, Christmas traditions, transitional holiday décor, and so much more.
Happy November! I can’t believe that it’s already another new month, and that it’s the second to last one of 2015. How does the time fly by so fast?! As we near the end of the year, I wanted to do something special and something that I actually rarely do here on the blog: a reader survey.
The fact of the matter is that this blog is in a little bit of a state of flux. Back in 2013, I had reached a sort of “finished” stage with our new-build townhome. There wasn’t a whole lot more that John and I could do to the place since we had already repainted every room and refurbished nearly every fixture. So, instead of before and after home makeover content, I was forced in a way to switch gears and focus on smaller, more controlled DIY projects.
Time for a change?
It has been a fabulous run and I’ve worked on some of my favorite projects to-date in the past couple of years, but now that we have a brand new-to-us 1960s house and more projects than I know what to do with, I feel like it might be time to bring back the type of content that goes far beyond small DIY crafts. We’re talking ugly before photos and progressive afters, tutorials on how to change out dated wallpaper, and how to update mid-century fixtures.
Are you guys into this?
Are you okay with fewer styled photos and more of the nitty gritty details of turning an old house into a restored home? I’m just not sure! So I thought it was time to sit down and get your honest, constructive feedback.
Below, you’ll find a quick five-minute survey where I ask you your thoughts in regards to DGD. I’m a sensative gal, so I’m asking for your constructive (yet kind) feedback, but please do be frank because this blog’s goal is to inspire YOU, so I want to make sure that it’s steered towards your interests. You’ll also notice that I ask a few questions about the tech side of the blog because I’m gearing up for a complete site rebrand come 2016. I’m excited to open this kind of conversation with you, too, so that I can see where my designer and I can improve the blog’s functionality as we prep for relaunch in March.
The best part?
I’m going to choose one lucky survey taker to whom I’ll send a prize pack filled with all of my favorite goodies! This giveaway isn’t sponsored, but is totally on my dime, because you guys deserve it and I only wish that I could send care packages to everyone! Thanks in advance for your suggestions and feedback, and THANK YOU for being a Dream Green DIY reader.
P.S. Speaking of giveaways, the winner of the $50 Snapfish giveaway has been announced! Find out if it was you by clicking back to the contest here.
As an artist and a self-professed crafting junkie, I (not surprisingly) tend to lean towards the more creative side of the spectrum. In other words, technology evades my everyday skill level. That’s what I used to think anyway. All of that changed back in April when I met a piece of technology that I could really wrap my head around.
Enter: our new Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2000. Of course, this puppy has quite a bit of kick to it when it comes to watching our favorite action flicks (him) and rom coms (her), but when the Epson brand asked me, as part of their Technology of Together campaign, to stretch my creativity and come up with a way to make the projector really work for my DIY lifestyle, I was only too happy to oblige. In the end, I was thrilled to discover that our projector went far beyond the stigma slapped onto most techie gadgets. Believe it or not, this piece of equipment has quickly become my new favorite DIY tool.
Allow me to explain. With the challenge in place and the projector in hand, my initial thought was to project a wallpaper pattern onto the wall, which could then be traced and then painted on by hand. While I still love this idea, it doesn’t quite make sense for our current home—it’s still on the market after all, and needs to remain fairly toned down in terms of personality for the benefit of potential buyers. Instead, I decided that a beautiful calligraphy quote on our wall using the same method would be more universal and also would add a dose of sweetness to our space.
To help me with my vision, I called in my go-to hand-lettering gal, Kathleen of Leen Jean Studios. Kathleen is a whiz with a calligraphy pen and really seems to “get” my love for a particular style of script—a little bit formal but a little bit casual, too. If you remember, Kathleen totally nailed the look on my holiday coffee party invites, so I knew that she would knock this second collaboration out of the park, and I was proven right!
Kathleen quickly worked her magic and put together four “Today’s the day” quote options, which you can see and download here. Some were a little swoopy (not a technical term, by the way), whereas others were a little more boxy and doodled. I loved them all, and it was so hard to choose, but I ultimately landed somewhere in the middle.
After settling on my quote style and whisking a heartfelt thank you off to Kathleen, I fired up my projector, plugged in my computer, brought up the art and adjusted it to fit the size and space of our focal wall in the master bedroom. That’s really all it took. Didn’t even have to break out the owner’s manual!
Next, I grabbed a pencil and climbed up onto the bed, where I worked my way over the entire projected image, tracing it right onto the drywall. Then it was just a matter of choosing my paint. I settled on a crisp, classic white to make sure that Kathleen’s design got the spotlight and not a loud color.
I poured a small amount of paint into a mini paint tray and, using a small bristle paintbrush, got down to filling in those lines. Although I thought this final phase would end up taking hours, it only required about an hour and a half of hands on time to complete.
Two coats later, and I was done! For whatever reason, I’ve always struggled with finding just the right piece of art for over our bed. The newly painted DIY quote feels perfectly balanced now though, plus it has been truly motivating to have that trio of words greet me in the morning.
Today’s the day that I put my fear of technology to rest and, at the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy, today’s the day that I finally embrace big changes in the crafting world as technology crosses the line into some seriously creative territory!
And now for the exciting part…You know that I couldn’t go on and on about how cool our projector is without offering you guys the chance to nab your own, too!! Click through to Epson’s sweepstakes page to enter for your chance to bring the big screen home to your house. Be sure to tell ’em Carrie sent ya!
You guys know, maybe even better than anyone, just how much I adore home accessories—really, any quirky, unique, GOLD piece will do. So I’m pleased as punch to be apart of a brand new home decor launch this morning!
For those of you just being introduced to Shoptiques, the online brand has brought some of the world’s most sought after boutiques to the masses in an innovative digital store front. While I could hardly deter you from packing your bags for Paris or Manhattan or L.A., you no longer HAVE to in order to shop the shops those cities are known for. Now you can sort through an array of hand picked pieces from the comfort of home—in your down filled bed, cat pajamas on, coffee (or cocktail—no judging!) in hand.
All this to say that I was more than a little excited when the Shoptiques team asked me to help kick off the launch of their new home-specific category by choosing my favorite picks from the bunch. An excessive 23 links later…I had narrowed it down to my gotta-have, need-right-now items. I’m only mildly obsessed with the final choices, as you’ll see above (or that you saw in your inbox if you signed up for the Shoptiques newsletter. And that’s not all. To celebrate, Shoptiques is offering DGD readers 10% off their purchase with code DIY10. What’s YOUR favorite piece?
Truth be told, I’ve never been a big fan of hearts as a shape. Well, I suppose I thought they were pretty cool back in middle school (especially with some crush’s initials curled inside the lines), but that’s a given. That said, they’ve taken on a new meaning for me as of late – More graphic than cutesy, and more modern than archaic. The thing that, excuse the pun, recently changed my mind and stole my heart was sweaters sporting the shape in bold scale and color. Me (can’t help but) likey. So here’s to Valentine’s Day 2013 and embracing this quirky little shape as part of our lives for the long haul.
^^^ (sorry…A little shameless self promotion of the cake and heart
toppers that I made for my OWN Valentine!!)
For more holiday inspiration, click over to my Pinterest board here.
I totally forgot to tell you the final choice from last Friday’s Warby Parker post! Drum roll please……….I decided to go wiiiiiiiith Reece!! Thank you all SO much for your input and thoughts. Your votes really helped to solidify my decision and I can’t wait to get my new frames in the mail. But moving on…
A couple of you noticed a little something new in recent Instagrams…Although I waited a little while to spill the beans, everything is finally settled and in place, ready for the unveiling. First and foremost, the store. I bought my two new additions from a Joss & Main sale that The Everygirl recently currated. If you’ve never been to Joss & Main, I implore you to take a gander. I’m always a little blown away by the deals posted on this site. The gist is that Joss & Main hosts currated sales with input from some of our favorite designers, bloggers and creatives. The catch is that the sales don’t last long and the inventory is limited, but this just tends to add a whole bunch of excitement to purchases…
So what did I buy?
The first was a set of 2 ikat pillows. This lovely little gray and white duo cost $50, which sounds pretty steap, but not when you peruse the aisles of Target and see that their pillows ALSO sell for about $25 a pop. I fell head over heels with the combination of modern print and timeless colors. They are neutral enough to go with nearly any color scheme or style, which is always a plus in my book as I think into the future and my family’s possibly changing taste.
The other purchase I made was a new rug. I’ve been keeping my eye out for a good rug to put in our long-but-skinny master bathroom and, when I saw this beautiful Dash and Albert runner listed in the Joss & Main sale, I couldn’t say no. It’s actually an indoor/outdoor rug, making it a dream for the bathroom (when dealing with wet feet outside the shower), and the length spans the odd space perfectly. At $115, it wasn’t a STEAL per se, but I think we’ll get a lot of use out of this piece. I picture it in a hallway, laundry room or maybe even another bathroom in any of our homes to follow this one.
I was a little leery of the blue color as stated in the product description online, but the rug turned out to actually be more of a neutral gray in person. I can’t wait to buckle down over my long weekend this week and paint the room its new soft pink – The gray pattern in my Joss & Main rug complements it perfectly in my visions of the final product.
Unfortunately, the sale is over, but keep checking the site since they open new sales daily.
So what do you think? Are you as in love as I am? John’s about –>this close<– to committing me to Accessory Pillows Annoymous now that I’ve added a third pair of fluffies to our couch. But Rocky the dog sure isn’t complaining when he nestles up against that extra padding…
I’m ALWAYS looking for high end short cuts when it comes to our home. From thrifted furniture and lamps that attempt to match the collected elegance of an Elle Decor spread, to revamping a hand-me-down into something that looks on trend and matches my own personal style.
That said, I have a similar phylosophy when it comes to my closet. I am always looking for ways to build a wardrobe that, A) will stand the test of time, and B) LOOKS expensive but is within my meager budget. This tends to mean that I shop mostly in places like TJMaxx and our two J.Crew factory clearance stores (I am BEYOND lucky to live in the same neighborhood as one of the brand’s headquarters).
But things are shifting a bit now that I’ve made the committment to quit shopping for garments for an entire year. Accessories though? These are fair game in my book, and lucky for me because they can change the entire look and feel of an outfit – From night to day, from office to play, and from spunky to sophisticated. I’m taking a cue from these inspiration images to make the absolute MOST out of the wardrobe I have now – And adding a few must-have accessories to my 2013 list.
For more style ideas, click over to my Pinterest board here.
Believe it or not, I was never much for traveling. I was a complete homebody and dreaded the idea of being away (with the exception of a week spent on Hilton Head Island – A family vacay tradition). But that all ended when John and I jet-setted away for our honeymoon to Punta Cana this past May. It was a stressful journey (two Type-A planners on a flight out of the country for the first time did not make for calm travel), but it was all worth it in the end, laying amongst the palm trees on our own private cabana. Now I’ve got the travel bug and can’t wait to fly somewhere new. Although the reality of our future travel plans are all state-side, there’s no reason I can’t dream the dream of a European adventure. Someday…
And now for today’s REAL post…As you may already know, I accidentally jumped the gun on a post I had been planning for a couple weeks from now. Oh well! Like I said, I knew it had to happen ONE of these days…If you missed it, check it out here, otherwise let’s move on to today’s “All in the details…” feature.
First things first – WOA, that light! The natural rays pulsating from the gorgeous stained-glass window pull me in, and the white walls soak it right up (yet another example to convince me just how good white walls can be). But aside from the light, the other main reason I chose to feature this space is the layered rugs. I am craving, treasuring, coveting the idea of an animal skin rug in our own house. Unlike some trends blazing trails through the design world (hint: chevron), the natural lines and organic feel of skin rugs has been a mainstay for ages and ages. This is one trend that will stand the test of time. But since these rugs tend to be a little low on square footage, I love the modern twist of laying it on top of a large-scale jute rug. Let’s talk some more specifics…
How perfectly does that sofa sit in the window nook? Like it was made for it…Plus, the straight lines (a look you know I love) keep it from looking too cramped or unintentional. Although there’s a great mix of texture and material in this space, it’s all done in a cohesive way with subtle pairings. The metallic legs on the coffee table go with the silver side table. The wooden coffee table top goes with the wooden bases of both the sofa and ottoman. The black leather of the ottoman ties into the black legs of the two occasional chairs (in the foreground of the top image). And finally, the orange pouf carries through the honey tones of the coffee table and wood floors.
Stained glass, crown molding, built-ins, oh MY! Keeping all of the accent details a crisp, uniform white is something I would probably never have the restraint to do (as you saw in last week’s feature, I’m a sucker for color against white trim), but I DO love the way it looks here. So clean and fresh. While you can fake good architecture, I don’t think anything beats the real deal.
As I said in the beginning of this post, I am head over heels for this layered look. Contrast in texture and contrast in shape make for this great feeling of coziness. While spending a little quiet chit chat time in the living room last night, I described the layered rug proposal to John and he actually seemed interested! I’ll keep you posted in case we adopt this look in our own home…
So what are yourfavorite details?
For all of my top inspirational spaces, click here.
P.S. My latest post for Burlap+Blue went live today. Click here for my tutorial on a “DIY Glitter Gourd,” just in time for Halloween. Oh, and you won’t want to miss the first half of the post where I explain the origination of that spectacular name…Hint: You’ll never guess who came up with it…