before & after: the living room

Over a year ago, not long after I started this blog, I posted about the current state of our living room.

Living Before 1

It has been a gradual process but since then we’ve slowly transformed it to a lighter and brighter space that’s more reflective of our style.  Following are photos of the living room as it stands today.  I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out, and while there are a couple little odds and ends that still need tweaking, it’s nearly there.  I’ll post a source list at the end for anyone interested.

The area that had the biggest transformation is the fireplace.  We painted the mantel in Behr’s Ivory Mist to match the crown molding and make it a crisp blank slate against which I could add rotating pops of color over time.


Then Devin re-tiled the hearth with slate in a beautiful herringbone pattern.  I am so in love with the hearth.  Sadly, I somehow lost all of the progress photos I took of Devin working on it so there won’t be a step by step post, but if you have any questions on how he did it, feel free to contact me and we’ll do our best to answer them.

I fell in love with West Elm’s Gem Mirror and scored it on clearance at our local branch.  I flanked it with some favorite art prints and a couple accessories to complete the mantel.


We swapped the rocking chair to the left of the fireplace out with one of the cane back hollywood regency chairs I scored at a flea market awhile back.  I STILL haven’t gotten a chance to paint and reupholster them, but it’s definitely near the top of my to do list.


The awkward space above the TV needed SOMETHING, but not a distracting painting that would make that wall too busy.  Against Devin’s wishes I brought home a papier-mache deer head from West Elm to try out in the space.  As tends to happen around these parts, Devin doubted me at first but upon seeing it up there for a couple of days, it grew on him, and we decided to keep it.  Meet Hank.  I love how he has a smirk on his face…cheeky bastard.



Lastly on that side of the room, we took down the wooden display box to the left of the fireplace and replaced with one of my favorite Mark Rothko prints mounted on wood.  I really love the variety of colors and textures along this side of the room now.


The ikat curtains that I made finish out the room nicely.  As do the two dogs sleeping on their bed 🙂


I added a vintage brass bamboo tray and brass trinket box along with some favorite books to the coffee table.


We collected the small pieces of coral in the trinket box on the beach in Paa Mul, Mexico on our honeymoon.



I added throw pillows in varying patterns to add some color and interest to the couch.



Lastly we swapped out the old collage frames on the wall above the Expedit bookcase with a mini gallery wall, and I restyled the top of the bookcase.



The quatrefoil tray is from Target, and it was originally a bland tan color which I spray painted over in gold.


This old metal toy truck belonged to Devin’s uncle when he was a kid.  I love its simple lines.


Aside from redoing the hollywood regency chair next to the fireplace, the other small to do is to replace the three framed prints above the side table.  With what, I’m not sure yet but when I see it I’ll know.


Here are a few more detail shots.





Lastly for comparison, here are some before and after shots.




If you’ve made it through the influx of photos thus far, I commend you!  We spend the most time in the living room of any room in the house, and we love what a bright and cheery space it is now.


Source List:

  • Mark Rothko art prints
  • Etsy: infinite love art print, brass bamboo tray, brass and glass trinket box, chevron throw pillow
  • Pier One Imports: recycled glass vases
  • West Elm: gem mirror, papier-mache deer head, diamond ikat throw pillow
  • Target: ram head, chevron urns, gold vase, yellow throw pillow, big piece of coral, quatrefoil tray
  • HomeGoods: small recycled glass vase on mantel, gold and silver notebooks on coffee table, blanket
  • Ikea: Expedit bookcase and storage baskets
  • Ross: garden stool, frames
  • Caroline Wright: paint drip art print on mantel
  • High Street Market: gold wishbone
  • Flea markets / garage sales: wire egg basket, hobnail vase, vintage Big Ben clock
  • DIY: ikat curtains, ikat throw pillow, herringbone hearth



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our biggest project yet

Just wanted to pop in and let you all know that for the last four months I’ve been very busy working on developing our latest and greatest project yet.  If you follow me on Instagram then you may have already figured it out.

pregnancy announcement with dog feet

Also, it’s a girl!

We are over the moon and cannot wait to meet our little one in just five short months.  Time is flying, and I’ve been putting together my inspiration board for the nursery and am just about ready to get rolling.  I’m thinking gray, black and white with gold and coral accents.  I cannot wait to see it all come together!

I am SO behind on posting the updates for our living room, master bedroom and dining room that we’ve worked on as well as a slew of yummy recipes, but I plan to get caught up before the nursery reveal.

I still can’t believe that I’m incubating a miniature human inside of me.  I have five months to let it sink in!

spray painted doormat


The weather was absolutely beautiful this weekend, and I took advantage of it by spending some time outside spray painting a new doormat for our front door.  Our old one was falling apart, and I haven’t been able to find any doormats in stores that I like so I figured I’d just make one myself.

This project was quick and easy, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.  I’ll never buy a ready made doormat again!


  • Plain doormat (I got mine from Ikea for $10.  Can’t beat that!)
  • One can of spray paint
  • Painter’s/masking tape (I recommend using the light green Scotch masking tape for hard to stick surfaces)
  • Pencil and ruler (depending on your desired design)

I was inspired by this rug that I saw from Serena & Lily.  The pattern is a combination of herringbone and chevron.  The best of both worlds…how can you go wrong with that?

I started by taping the horizontal lines across the rug, making sure to press the tape in firmly.


The rug was 35″ across so using a measuring tape, I penciled a mark every 5″ on all three pieces of tape.  Using the pencil marks as a guide to make sure everything was evenly spaced, I taped the diagonal sections off.


Again I made sure to press firmly on the tape to minimize the chances of any spray paint bleeding under.  Crisp lines are key!


For the spray paint, I decided to go with Rustoleum’s Night Tide.  This is the same color I used for the base of my fabric covered lampshade.  It’s a perfect peacock blue.

After shaking the can well, I stood over the doormat and sprayed down straight onto it (to minimize bleeding under the tape) in long even strokes.


About halfway through, I realized I’d need to do a second coat since the fibers were absorbing the paint pretty well.  I didn’t think it was necessary to let it dry between coats so I went ahead and finished the entire doormat.


After letting it sit for a few hours in the sun to dry thoroughly, I peeled back the tape and was happy to see that the lines were nice and crisp.


The pattern turned out just as I hoped it would.


It adds such a nice pop of color to the front porch, and it makes me just as happy to see it on my way out the door…


…as it does coming in.


Strider agrees.


By the way, for anyone wondering I’ve walked on it and wiped my shoes on it several times already and there hasn’t been any paint coming off onto the soles of my shoes at all.

I’ll definitely be spray painting another rug for the back patio door at some point in the future.  At less than $15 for a custom doormat, how could I not?




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breakfast roll showdown: nutella rolls


Let’s talk about breakfast rolls.  I am probably the last person on earth who wants to get out of bed and put together some complicated breakfast recipe first thing in the morning.  If you’re like me, then you will love these breakfast rolls because they are 1) SUPER easy and quick to make and 2) only require a handful of ingredients.  Oh and 3) one of them involves Nutella and the other one involves cinnamon, sugar and butter.  I mean, what’s not to like?

First up are the Nutella rolls.

Ingredients (recipe adapted from Inspired by Charm)

  • 1 can refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 3/4-1 cup Nutella
  • flour and sugar for rolling

Yields 8 rolls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin tin with baking spray.

Lightly flour and sugar your surface, and using a rolling pin, roll out each biscuit until it’s flat and even.


Spread 1-2 tablespoons of Nutella on each disc of dough.


Then tightly roll up each disc and cut into three sections.


Place the three pieces, cut side up into one section of the muffin tin.


Repeat for the remaining discs then bake for about 15 minutes.


For the purposes of promoting safe baking practices, you should let them cool about 5 minutes before popping them out of the muffin tins.  But I won’t blame you if you don’t.  (I didn’t.)


The original recipe calls for spreading cream cheese icing on these, but in my opinion they’re perfect alone.  The icing might take them over the sweetness ledge for me, however if that’s your cup of tea then go for it!

The biscuits are flaky and buttery and if you didn’t think Nutella on a spoon could get any better, just wait until you take a bite of these.  The best part is you can pull the sections apart for easy bite size pieces.


I’d recommend making two batches because the first 8 will be gone in minutes.  Not that I know from experience or anything.


Next up: Cinnamon Sugar Rolls!

since i’ve been gone

Here we are a few weeks short of the one year anniversary of this blog and a few days short of my being married for six months.  Time flies when you’re having fun eh?  As you may have noticed, posts have been pretty scarce around here due to my being neck deep in wedding craziness, followed by work craziness with a dash of newlywed bliss craziness, plenty of house project craziness and just overall life craziness.  While the crazy still ensues, it’s about high time I get back to documenting the goings on around these parts.  If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve gotten sneak peeks here and there of updates to the house and recipes I’ve been trying out.  If not, then you’re in luck.  I present to you some snapshots of what I’ve been up to since I’ve been gone, Instagram style:


We’ve cooked a lot of yummy recipes that we’ll definitely be making again and will share some of them here in the near future.

Like these cute Christmas tree cake pops I made for the holidays…

Christmas Tree Cake Pops

and this artichoke soup…

Artichoke Soup

and these chicken enchiladas…

Chicken Enchiladas

and these banana fritters…

Banana Fritters

and these parmesan crusted calamari steaks with lemon caper sauce…

Parmesan Crusted Calamari Steaks in Lemon Caper Sauce

and this farfalle with pistachio cream sauce.

Farfalle with Pistachio Cream Sauce

Guest Room

We painted the guest room in Valspar’s Filtered Shade.

Valspar Filtered Shade

I had some trouble deciding which rug to put in the freshened up space.  Ultimately I went with Genevieve Gorder’s Arabesque rug on the left.

Arabesque Scalloped Fallon Dhurrie Rugs

We took out the bulky bed and added a sofa bed to turn it into a functional TV room when we don’t have house guests.

Ikea Hagalund Sofa Bed White Garden Stool Arabesque Rug

(pre wall art)

I then promptly changed my mind (big surprise) about the throw pillows and switched them out with these black and white ones.

Black White Chevron Pillows

Living Room

We painted our fireplace and re-tiled the hearth with slate in my beloved herringbone pattern.  Okay, more like Devin re-tiled the fireplace, but I directed.  I am super in love with it. (Details to come in a separate post.)

Slate Herringbone Fireplace Hearth

Last August we replaced the old mirror over the fireplace with a reclaimed wood one (sorry for the holiday decorations)…

Reclaimed Wood Mirror Holiday Mercury Glass Mantel Burlap Stockings

then last week I fell in love with this antiqued glass gem mirror (on sale!) at West Elm.

West Elm Gem Mirror

Dining Room

We got a beautiful reclaimed wood farmhouse table for the dining room along with a new rug and Tolix marais chairs…

Reclaimed Wood Farmhouse Table and Marais Chairs

and I finally finally have a chandelier. (Separate before/after post to come.)

Dining Room Crystal Chandelier


I took some baby steps towards my office redux. I still need to paint my beloved campaign desk and dresser, but the filing cabinet looks great in there already.  Here’s a peek of a new print in the room.

The Best is Yet to Come Print

Master Bedroom

Currently we’re concentrating on redecorating the Master Bedroom.  I’m really excited about the beautiful rug that will add a fun pop of color to the room.

West Elm Dhurrie Rust

Here’s a sneak peek of the new dresser and lamp.

West Elm Stria Dresser Honeycomb Lamp

So.  As you can see we’ve been busy.  I’m looking forward to sharing all the details of the above projects with you all!

Also, welcome to all of the new readers who have been popping over from Recipe by Photo.  I’m so happy you’ve all been enjoying my spinach artichoke bites :).