Selecting Exterior Paint Colors

One of the most common consultations I work on is selecting paint colors both interior and exterior. However, I find most home owners have the hardest time pulling the trigger on their exteriors. It is such an overwhelming task not only knowing what direction to go in, but also which paint vendor to use, and what colors to pair with your existing finishes like the brick and roof. There are many factors to consider when making such a big decision, but here are a few things to consider when selecting colors for your home’s exterior.

  1. Time period of the home. This should really be a no brainer, but unfortunately it is not. I am a big proponent for respecting a home’s architecture. Even if you don’t prefer the style or you have a less specific style home, its important to stay consistent to the style of your home.

  2. Your neighbors. Before making a decision, take a look at the houses surrounding yours. You may love the way the white brick and navy shutters look on your neighbors house, but if you want to be a good neighbor you’ll not copy them exactly. Even if you have a stack stone accent and your neighbor doesn’t, its a good rule of thumb to not use a similar color scheme past two or three houses down the street.

  3. Don’t be afraid of color! In renovating this historic home for resale, I didn’t want to scare potential buyers away with a bold color choice. I also didn’t want to play it safe and use a “greige” or white. Here I went with Sherwin Williams 9135 Whirlpool. Its a medium blue with gray undertones that stays true to its architectural style while also providing a fresh modern update. I put together some great subtle colors that will have character without being boldly overwhelming.

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4. Proportions. As a designer, I will say that this is where it can get tricky. I would always suggest hiring a designer to help in your selection of exterior paint and finishes, but especially when you have a more unique facade. If there are bump outs, multiple finishes, or an aesthetically more prevalent roof line, it can be hard to know where to start and when to stop. For example, our house that we just sold has a gable roof covered in dark blue/gray shingles. We knew we needed to paint it to be able to bring in interest and add curb appeal. Plus, I had hated the color of the home from day one, but of course we didn’t change it until we decided to move. With such a heavy roof, I didn’t want to go with a light color on the siding. We didn’t have a brick skirt or any other aesthetically heavy material to help balance the visual weight of the roof. So I went with a dark gray to not only maximize the architectural details, but to help shift the focus away from the roof. Color I went with for the siding is Sherwin Williams SW7068 Grizzle Gray.

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When deciding on exteriors, I always like to use all the tools at my disposal. Specifically I love the sherwin williams color snap visual that lets you visualize how the colors will look on your own image of your home. https://www.sherwin-williams.com/visualizer#/active Selecting your exterior colors can be a daunting task, but hopefully these guidelines and tools can help!

still here

I’ve started and stopped this blog entry about 10 times in the past month. Since this blog is supposed to be more focused on my design experience, I haven’t really felt motivated to share the personal changes and season we’ve been going through. However, it’s been so long since I blogged and I’m ready to jump back in as I’ve got so many blog topics back logged in my mind and on the notes app on my phone... which is where I’m currently constructing this entry.

It’s 11:30 pm and I’m typing this on my phone because I’m exhausted but wide awake as a baby girl is rolling around, kicking or trying to find a way out of my body. In the 6 months plus since my last entry, we found out we were pregnant— a very happy development and something Matt and I are anxiously excited about.

It has lead to a lot of other changes in our lives, like selling our first home and buying and renovating a new home. On a more design related note, it’s created some shifts in my work schedule and career/business goals. I’ve slowed down my marketing and business development aka I haven’t been blogging/keeping up with social media, cold calling, or making strenuous efforts to line up new work.

The beginning of the pregnancy was hard. From week 7 till about 17, I was pretty certain I never wanted to be pregnant a second time. Being constantly nauseous is bad enough, but the exhaustion is what really brought me down. The lack of energy not only made it hard to do my job, but overall made me feel like a completely different person. It felt as though I couldn’t be the best “me” or even an adequate “me”, as a designer, a friend, and a wife. Thankfully after week 15 or so, the fog started to clear and perfect timing as we had to get our house ready to put up on the market. We got it ready in about two weeks then it was under contract in less that 6 days on the market. That was just about the longest 60 days or so of our lives but I’d give anything to have time slow down now. At the end of that craziness, we moved in with my gracious mother in law around Christmas so we could do some renovations on our new home. My focus then was on our new home of course, but also on my health. I’m a type 1 diabetic, and have always been worried and unsure of what pregnancy and diabetes would look like. Thankfully the beginning was an easy process that didn’t require too much change, only careful and constant monitoring of my blood sugars. By about week 20, my blood sugars started rising dramatically every day. Working with my perinatal doctor and obgyn to monitor mine and baby’s health has been the number one priority these days. So here we are at week 27. We just moved into our house last week and I have a long mental list of projects I want to do around the house after we get unpacked. But I wanted to start here because in the midst of all this change and stress, it’s made me think through my vision of my business, blog and where this is all going. 

So stayed tuned as I get back into the swing of things and blogging at Molly by Design.

Pier 1 for You

Today we are all scrolling through the numerous sales that amazon is offering on everything from toilet paper to leather chesterfield sofas. I didn't know how much of a homebody I was until I married Matt and his Amazon Prime account. Early in our marriage, I was so confused one day when he ordered batteries from Amazon. "You can go down the street to the CVS and buy batteries." But what I soon learned is that you don't need to leave your house for these minor necessities 1.) because its usually cheaper on amazon 2.) Prime members get free shipping. Now we use Hello Fresh for our weekly meals, which just means I am perfectly content to never go into a grocery store ever again. The one downfall in ordering things online is never knowing what quality you are getting. While I do read tons of customer reviews before ordering anything, there is always a risk. I can't tell you how many times I have heard someone complain about furniture or decor they have ordered online but then didn't feel like going through the hassle of returning it. There is much to be said for actual retailers and seeing something in person. Brands hold such weight as well. The struggle with so many online retailers are the vague manufacturer information that no one really knows anything about. Its the same as knowing the difference in Old Navy and Banana Republic. I know I can get affordable clothing at Old Navy that might not last more than one or two seasons. However, I know I am going to spend a little more at Banana Republic but have quality pieces that also don't die with the trends. So being a Bargain Hunter, and a faithful Old Navy customer, I have to always challenge my purchases to make sure I am not buying it just because it is a good deal. *Please note this is a challenge I have to force myself to practice and also sometimes ignore. 

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With that in mind, I thought about my dining table. Matt and I got married in May, bought a house in April and I bought our dining table in February. I was shopping at Pier 1 for work and found the most perfect table. It was a walnut mid-century mod 96" long dining table that was the floor model for $150. Walking around the store, keeping a close eye on the piece, I sold Matt on the idea and story of us sharing Thanksgiving meals at that table for years and years to come. While I was there, I never once questioned the quality. I was able to inspect it and touch and feel it, but I also didn't feel that I needed to. In my opinion, I have always know Pier 1 to be a reputable company with quality products. So long story short I bought the table, somehow fit it in my dad's mini-van, hoped we found a house where it would fit (bad idea but thankfully worked out for us), and now it is the table where we eat every meal. We have hosted Thanksgiving every year we have lived in our home and countless other parties and family dinners where we sit there all night long. Matt was mistakenly telling people for a long time that we got our table at West Elm, where I imagine it would have been $800-$1000. When correcting him, most people don't even realize Pier 1 sells furniture other than papasan chairs and garden stools, let alone that they could find something that fits their style. What I love about Pier 1 is the fact that they have a little bit of everything, have great sales, offer a trade discount (woop woop) and carry quality products in store and online. Take a lot at the two design boards I included below. Two different design styles: one more traditional and one more bohemian. 

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Next time you are looking to refresh your home, or needing a good bargain on a quality piece, purchase with purpose. Buy something that you can trust to last and get a good deal on it!

Molly by Design

Molly by Design is a new direction for the blog. Not only do I like sharing helpful tips for decorating and making your house a home, but I also see this as a space to share my experiences as I am building my own business and my time in the interior design industry. As I have grown professionally and personally, I have learned that there are few things in life that ever go by the book, in result to our plans or by your own design. As much as I wish I could have carefully crafted my journey up to now, life as you know is actually so much more exciting and beautiful with all its ups and downs and twists and turns. 

Had my plans for this my career in design and now owning my own business gone by design or by plan, I don't know that I would have learned these valuable lessons.     

1. Be thankful for your experience. As the wise former Degrassi star Drake once said,  "started from the bottom, now we here." (I can imagine Matt shaking his head right about now) While there are some cases where people fall into luck, fame or favoritism and receive incredible opportunities, most people have worked really hard to be where they are and have put in time under other established talent and hard work to learn what they have. We aren't Kardashians.

2. Cherish your Connections. I'm not just talking about linkedin, although it is a great tool for professionals. You never know when you meet someone if they might be able to connect you with an opportunity. Not that you should ever be fake, or hoping to gain something from everyone you meet. Maybe this isn't true in every business, but in my business, I feel that your personality sells yourself. No sales pitch needed. You are selling yourself. So be kind and be thankful for each person you meet- professionally or not. 

3.Savor your Season.  When I first started out as a designer working in design firms, I was so anxious and impatient to move on from my "assistant" title. What I didn't realize was that once I was promoted, I took on a much heavier work load, scary responsibility and had to learn a whole new skill set. Not that anyone should stay stagnant and not grow to their potential, but enjoy time working under someone else... especially when that person is bearing the brunt of the deadlines and responsibilities. I was able to learn sooo much from project and senior designers when I was an assistant and some days I would give anything to go back to that season of trying to soak everything up like a sponge. 

4.  Care for your Clients. Similar to the first guidelines, appreciate your clients. Whether small projects or large, you've been trusted to complete a job and to do it well. In Luke, Jesus says that whoever can be trusted with little can be trusted with much. Every opportunity means that someone has put their trust in you. It doesn't matter if you are selecting $30 accessories for a coffee table or $6500 countertops for a kitchen. This is a mindset I am always challenging myself with as I grow, I want to always present myself in a manner of respect of what I've been given.

5. Do Something. While I am still very young and technically a "millennial," I desperately want to break the stereotype of the lazy, skill-less, and apathetic generation that we are painted to be. That is not completely untrue as we seem to be pathetically co-dependent on our technology. While I think the world would be a better place with instagram filters, we are so fortunate to grow up with so much potential. The internet allows us to have a wealth of information, a global platform, and other infinite possibilities at our fingertips. While it can definitely provide a false sense of entitlement (i.e. people who are vine famous... still don't get how that is a thing. RIP vine), I don't think we have any excuse to not go after what we want. Having worked at other firms, I felt sometimes like I imagine a child in a large family would feel: never being able to get a word in, constantly competing for attention, or looking for angles to set myself apart. Being in the workplace, I learned early on that talent doesn't matter. Hard work doesn't even solely matter. There is favoritism, politics, and straight up drama, especially working with mostly women. One day I just decided to ask for what I wanted. Because I had put in the hard work, when I asked for larger project loads and more responsibility, I was given the opportunity to step up to the plate. So now I have to translate that to my current role. I am no longer competing with other designers in my firm, but designers in my community. It requires confidence, a solid foundation, and reputation for trustworthy and quality work, but my biggest lesson has just been to put myself out there. And I don't know how that would be possible were it not for instagram, squarespace, facebook... etc. I don't have to pay a newspaper, $500 for a 2x2 ad space to promote my business, or as we now all it "brand." So millennials, know what you want. Do something about it. Chase the dream. 

A few years of disappointment, striving and frustrations, I realize you can't plan or design your life. Your plans might fall through. Your dreams might not come true, but what I have learned is that its at least worth a try. So join me as I dream and follow along as I am figuring out myself, Molly by Design.  

gallery wall do's and dont's

As a designer, I have found that people struggle the most with selecting and placing artwork. Some view art as a "place holder" or as a statement piece. Either way art is personal. Much different than my background in design for model home merchandising that is based on a broad demographic, selecting artwork for a home is rather difficult. While I could go into much more detail on types and styles of artwork, lets take a look at a simple artwork solution. What I have found is that a gallery wall is a great way to fill a space while also expressing yourself and personal style. Now very commonly done, I have seen a lot of great executions of pairing art, photographs, and various memorabilia. And then I have seen things that are not so great and make me cringe. Before I tell you some simple guidelines for executing this in your own home, know that its most important to stay true to your style. If you are a minimalist, I am going to assume you are not a fan of the typical gallery wall. BUT you would probably be more suited to large scale collections in pairings. Or if you would consider your style to be more rustic and casual, then you would most likely see yourself having a mix of textures, sizes, and subject matter. Keep that in mind as we dig in. Decorate your home for you!

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Don't hang your random leftover pictures/picture frames to create a photo gallery wall. Lets move past the wall decal anchoring this flat and uninspiring photo wall, and focus on the amount of nails that were required to install this mess. As a rule, lets just go ahead and say that 4x6 frames do not belong on the wall. For just a photo wall though, Do either a. add texture or color with your frames if you have a more relaxed style or b. consolidate your images to either larger scale prints or frames for more structured design (examples below) While I wouldn't want such thick heavy frames with the small matte as shown, you could salvage this photo wall by hanging pieces closer together. You will make more of an impact by spacing your frames a couple inches apart to create a smaller overall piece than spacing it out to fill a greater amount of wall space. 

a. mixed textures and sizes

a. mixed textures and sizes

b. modern and clean lines 

b. modern and clean lines 

Don't overwhelm your guests or yourself with wordy (and usually cheesy) quotes. I am all about song lyrics, bible verses, clever puns, and southern expressions. However, I don't feel you need to cover your walls in these things. I feel like this could be a metaphor for dating and maybe its the binge watching of queer eye on Netflix, but I imagine Tan or Karamo giving a struggling bachelor this advice. "Don't give it all away at once" or "leave a little mystery." It seriously stresses me out when I see something like this.

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I am 100% on board with all of these expressions. Aesthetically it is overwhelming. This is an instance where maybe we have too much texture, multiple typography types and not enough visual resting space. I love this gallery wall installation that spaces out our quote with eclectic mixed art pieces. 

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Do... use pairs and patterns. As a rule, I like to work in groups of two's and three's. Keep quotes to a minimum of two or three and fill in with photos, art and dimensional pieces. This also works well with collections. You could have 3 framed vintage postcards, 2 charcoal figurative sketches on deep colorful matte, and four black and white photographs. While randomly placed provides an eclectic experience, you can create a more curated and traditional arrangement by keeping pairs and collections together. Take a look at these two examples that I feel are executed perfectly. 

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Do embrace the monochromatic gallery wall. No matter your style, you can make a statement with consistent colors and subject matter. Unlike our first example that had no interest and grew flat, you will see with these three examples how consistency can make a huge impact. 

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Do go big or go home. In design you can always break the rules. I typically agree with the sentiment "less is more," but Iris Apfel says "more is more and less is a bore" and I also agree with that. There are very certain ways to break the rules, so here are a few examples on how to gracefully break the rules.

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At the end of the day, let your personality shine through your collection of art. The key is balance. Balancing scale, texture, color and subject matter, will give you a cohesive gallery wall. 

Good Design

Matt and I just returned from a beautiful vacation to the UK. We have been hoping for a trip like this for a long time. We bought our tickets about 7 months earlier, and then realized we hadn’t quite planned the trip yet. My sweet Matt planned and arranged everything. I was no help at all. Lodging, excursions and transportation—he had all the details lined up. It made the type A personality in me swoon and weak in the knees. Having to make decisions all day every day makes me incredibly grateful to not have to make decisions when it comes to personal life.

Being a designer I suppose I am cursed or blessed with an eye for design and more specifically design details. If you follow along with me on the blog or on Instagram, you’ll know that design for me is much more about a wholistic experience. I’m a realist and not much for frills or over complicating simple decisions. I believe good design is not only a pleasing aesthetic but a fully functioning space. 

We stayed at some beautiful places from modern hotels to quaint and cozy airbnb's. While the hotel industry seems to be trying to keep up with the airbnb charm, boutique hotels have captured the attention of millennials and trend setters nationally and globally. While in London we stayed at a trendy little hotel, that I will not mention as to not tarnish the brand. While instagram would make this lodging look perfectly designed, I found myself getting caught up in the details. You walk into a small cafe style lounge with unique tile/wood flooring integration, cozy banquette seating with spot tables, vibrant tile that not only wraps the interior walls but exterior and a beautiful brass chandelier that completes the room like a piece of jewelry.

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Our taxi drops us off outside the door, and we clumsily walk in with our three rolling suitcases. (Not my best packing job as we were dealing with a plumbing crisis in our house the days before we left for our trip... long story but we packed in a hurry the night before we left) Once we were inside, we walk past a girl on a laptop wondering where the concierge desk might be. She stops us and says she can check us in and we wait for 15 minutes as I comb over every inch of the lobby. Signage is minimum, swing arm sconces that are meant to extend from the wall are pushed to the side, and the lounge is empty until the wait for check in grows as guests are getting impatient. With little direction for our room location, we squeeze... like literally squeeze into an elevator that I might have referred to as a coffin at one point when I felt my life flash before me in the brief ride up three stories. Once we reached the sweet relief of solid ground, we met a stairwell.  Not a welcome sight when you have 50lbs of luggage to haul with you. After some investigating we were able to figure out the level we needed to locate our room. Each concrete step carrying a large percentage of our belongings felt like I had earned the whole pizza I would eat later that night. We reach the floor of our room. Our rolling suitcases hit the floor but instantly feel 100lbs heavier. The corridors are covered with a beautiful indigo dip dyed wool carpet that has the richness you'd expect out of a London penthouse, but functionally acts like sinking sand. After a random door and about 15 more steps, we reach our room where I throw our suitcases to the floor and collapse on the bed. (Thank you Lord that my husband continues to put up with my drama). The room, like the rest of the hotel is so cute. The branding is on point. I scour the notes and packages left on the nightstand and stash away a pencil with the hotel name on it. (typical) The room overall was precious and the bed that I dramatically flung myself onto was so incredibly cozy, but my perception of the hotel was tainted by the feeling of confusion and inconvenience. It was lacking the ease of function and a tumultuous user experience. As I mentioned, this design critique is a blessing and a curse. It causes me to constantly challenge my space planning until I find the best solution, but also makes me hyper-sensitive to bad design. 

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This year we also went up to New York. Something we have now started as somewhat of a yearly tradition. We stayed at the Ace Hotel there. The detail, the packaging, the way-finding, the branding... all of it is just so superb. We did not spend an exorbitant amount to stay there, but I felt like a million bucks staying in their "mini" room. The lobby is something to write home about. I was super touristy as I took pictures of every piece of beautiful upholstery and the custom light fixtures. Once in the room, they have labeled everything in  beautiful graphics from the mini bar menu to the soap in the bathroom. 

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me feeling like I am a lot cooler than I actually am- thanks Ace Hotel for that 

me feeling like I am a lot cooler than I actually am- thanks Ace Hotel for that 

When I look back I realized that aesthetically, these spaces were about the same. Design while typically focused on aesthetics, is so strongly influenced by function. Our homes, our home away from homes, our work spaces and meeting places only represent good design if we can maximize our overall spatial footprint, create function and purpose without confusion and welcome others with style and ease. Good design is a cohesive blend of all these things.

Thats my goal as a designer and I hope your goal as a home owner - to bring together all these elements to create meaningful spaces that invite others to experience. 

design for the home you have

Creating a space that is uniquely your own can be a challenge. If you are like me, you don't necessarily relate to one style or another. I appreciate good design but like a lot of things in life I needed direction and boundaries for designing my home. 

1-Start with your home's architecture. We have a split level home that was built in the 60s which reflects the exterior design and details. All of our horizontal sash windows are high off the floor which was very common for this modern decade. Having a lower pitch roof also translates to the scale you typically see in mid-century modern design. 

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2-Don't be afraid to mix styles. I know that contradicts the first rule for direction but you might have pieces that are sentimental or too expensive to replace. I have had my grandmother's dresser for years and painted it for years. Moving in here, I knew I needed to modernize it. The lines are more traditional but, I striped it down and stained it a warm walnut and added acrylic brass hardware. While I love a traditional mid-century modern aesthetic, I also love softer patterns and lots of texture. Instead of the funky geometrics typically found with the style, I have more bohemian patterns and mix patterned velvet, worn camel leather and cane-back textures in our soft seating. 

3-Accent the quirks. As mentioned, our windows are tall. This actually benefits us greatly, so that our dogs cannot see the street nor bark at everyone who walks by our house. The second we visited our house, I instantly had the vision of adding a trim detail to help ground our tall windows. Board and Batten is an incredibly easy project to do on your own and can easily define a space. Typically seen in high gloss white, I decided to add some drama by painting it Dovetail gray and letting the wood grain show through. 

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4-Take it all in moderation. You, like me, may not have the budget you'd like to start designing your house. My first mistake was trying to fill every empty space. The first "disagreement" my husband and I had as a married couple was over a chair that I found while shopping at Homegoods. I thought I had found the best deal on a chair that kinda looked like what I wanted and I had to have it. He was right and I should have waited, but of course I was convinced this was the perfect chair. It was not. Its sitting in my guest room, about to be listed on facebook because I found two vintage chairs that have the perfect scale, comfort and color for my space. So my advice is to either a. Hire a designer (me) to help you view your space with an outsider's perspective to help you make those make or break decisions and/or b. Create a vision board for what you dream for your space. (See below) 

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Make design fun but keep it realistic. I will leave you with one more piece of advice. Be yourself. Don't let these design guidelines hinder you, but direct you. Design is an art and it is subjective. So let it be your art! Have fun and make the most of the place that you call your home! 

Kitchen Reno and Coffee with the Cheslas

When I think of the ideal client, I think of my friends Matt and Ashley. Not only have Ashley and I known each other since we were younger doing cheerleading stunts in my cousin's yard, but we've remained good friends in our adult years. Ashley and her husband Matt are some of the most kind, down to earth and loving people. Their active and adorable boys plus their partnership with local coffee company East Pole, keep them very busy. When they contacted me about being part of their new home layout and kitchen design, I was ecstatic. They purchased a ranch style home with tons of potential in Marietta, GA nestled among their family and friends. A fixer upper indeed, this home was built in the 50s/60s and probably not touched since the 70s. It had boxed in living spaces, dark paneled walls and carpet or linoleum covering up gorgeous original hardwoods. With ideas of creating a U-shaped kitchen, I met them at the house to come up with a plan. See below an image from our starting point.

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Knowing Ashley and her superb taste in style and design, it was obvious this project would end up beautiful. However, I wanted to stretch our ideas for the best layout and design for this space... more specifically the kitchen, the heart of the home.  With the help of 3d rendering, I was able to put together some layout options to help visualize their space. With an L shape kitchen and large center island, we were able to accommodate ample storage and surface space. The Chesla's preferred open shelving verses upper cabinets, but I wanted to make sure they also had plenty of pantry space. By placing the pantry and the refrigerator on the ends of the kitchen, we not only visually balance the space, but we also create a transition into the next room without putting up walls. 

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The finishes were the easy part. Matt and Ashley had great ideas for the style of their kitchen and I did my best to help steer them in the right direction. It can be overwhelming to imagine the end result, but we all agreed that pairing a beautiful quartz counter, classic subway tile, with white shaker cabinets was a great combination. Then you add in the character with the black matte hardware and industrial sconces and the space is almost complete. 

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For me, seeing this project complete was getting to witness it in action. Levi, Judah and Crews were running in and out of the above images just missing the shot. And when I was in between shots, Levi was requesting that I photograph the "beautiful lamp" and "beautiful rug." Ashley tidying up the kitchen and pulling out her plates and glasses for the open shelves. Matt brewing up some delicious East Pole coffee while the boys pile on the huge kitchen island. This was complete. I love this family and love that they honored me by letting me be a part of this lovely kitchen and home. 

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Source: kitchen reno and coffee with the cheslas

friday five

We made it fam. It is Friday and the weekend is so close, you can almost taste it. I will be starting a blogging segment running on Fridays to highlight five items/collections/people/instagram accounts etc that are my favorite. This week is Valentines related. Whether you have been prepared for this for weeks, or you will scrambling at the last minute to come up with a plan, below are some ideas to make the day special. 

1- This one will take a little bit of planning, but a great gift none-the-less. My mother in law got me this beautiful art piece finished in an acrylic frame for Christmas. Kerry one of our family friends has a great eye for composition and color. She offers these "minis" and it was a perfect opportunity to get original, one-of-a-kind artwork as a gift. You can keep up with Kerry, her stunning commissions, and available work on her website linked here. 

http://www.kerryhaysart.com/

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2- Simple Pleasures y'all. I LOVE notebooks. I have about 7 in rotation right now. That plus papermate felt tip markers... and I am a happy gal. Like the smell of new pages... ok I am weird. I'll stop. So maybe you have a loved one in your life who is also a notebook hoarder, money can buy happiness. Happiness is available on amazon. 

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3-For the music lovers and vinyl collectors, this is always going to be a home run for a gift. Its amazing how this has made a comeback and brought an old interest to a new generation. My sweet Matt is a deadhead and I am not quite there yet, but I do enjoy it. On one of my regular visits to the local habitat for humanity restore, I saw this album and had to get it. You never know where you will run across vinyl. 

4- Matt and I will have been married for 2 years this May. Somedays it feels like yesterday and others it feels we've been together forever. He is my biggest fan, support system, reality check, best friend, and constant rock. This was more of a gift for myself, but I couldn't pass up this delicate gold and glass frame for only $5 in the Target dollar section. The hearth and home was also carrying something similar and I've seen some other great options at Michael's and Hobby Lobby. 

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5- If you want to go the more traditional route, this is one of my favorite perfume collections. Stella is great, but Cleopatra is my favorite. There is something about perfume that just sets the day apart from others. I don't wear it everyday as I have a sensitivity to smells and headaches. So when I do wear it, I feel pretty and more put together than usual. I first discovered this at Anthropologie but thankfully for you fellas, it is available on amazon. Trust me, I know the blank gaze that comes over a man's face when he walks into an Anthro. 

 

I hope you see something that you can gift for your love or your best friend or your mom or sister. What I love about Valentines day is being able to stop and remind those that you love how much they mean to you. 

will you beer my valentine?

This post is for the beer nerds or those in a relationship with a beer nerd. My valentine is a beer connoisseur. One of our first conversations was about a local brewery. I think I won his approval when he asked my favorite and I responded with "Monday Night Drafty Kilt." Who knows what would have happened had I said something non-craft. One of our first dates was at Wild Heaven in Decatur. I sometimes think of that as our first date because it was the first time he picked me up in a car at my house to take me on a date. Definitely old fashioned that way. The first time he told me that he loved me was after the annual "Brew Your Cask Off" event at Sweetwater. 

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Needless to say, beer.. er craft beer... is part of our story. Between Matt and I, we accumulate stuff. I love to purge, but I am also very sentimental. I couldn't part with the glasses we got on our first brewery date, or the hundreds of bottlecaps from nights together. What do you do with all this stuff though, other than becoming a hoarder? 

One of the transitions you face in marriage is merging your styles (and stuff). It was important to me, as a designer, to make sure I didn't completely take over our home but also that it didn't look like I was living in a bachelor pad. Matt has a man-cave that holds a lot of his furniture and memorabilia, but I wanted him to feel at home throughout our home. So here are a few ways to blend your home and love on your beer lover. 

 

Bottlecaps as vase filler. Simple enough, this is a way to use those key caps without having to attach them to a piece of furniture... which was my husband's first idea. 

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This Fall we traveled to Boston and Vermont for vacation but was ultimately later dubbed as a "beer-cation." We saw so many beautiful things and drank so many hazy new england style beers. It deserves its own post, but I will tell you we came home with approximately 150 lbs of checked beer and clothes. Don't want to brag but I am a very VERY skilled packer and was able to fit a lot of beer into our checked luggage to bring home. Cans seem to be all the rage now so less bottlecaps to save. So how do you preserve those memories? Instagram... or more portrait style images. Framebridge.com is a great resource for having memorabilia or photos framed. Here are some of our favorite beers from 2017, but Bright from Treehouse in Massachusetts was just so good. And look at those awesome graphics! Our favorite Athens brewery introduced a new england style IPA that was out of this world. Literally. This one is getting framed for one of Matt's valentines gifts. Shhh.. don't tell him. ;) 

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One of Matt's apartment moves, we ditched a lot of old brewery glasses. Until about a year ago, you could only purchase a tour/glass at breweries. Which was weird by itself, but then left you with a bunch of brewery glasses. So moving in once we got married, we had quite a collection. We have our standard glasses for nice occasions, but on a daily basis we use brewery glasses for everyday water, tea, and brews of course. 

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So cheers y'all. Hope you have a very hoppy valentines day. Ok, I am going to end this before I use anymore terrible puns. 

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