Monday, August 31, 2015

home tour

We've been in our new house for a few months now and it's finally starting to feel a bit more like home. Moving from 1500 square feet to over 5000, means that we have a lot of empty rooms. I'm trying to be patient and enjoy the process of furnishing and finishing this house. But some days I find myself still missing our old home. We brought home our first child and made memories as a family there. I discovered my passion for interior design and made the difficult decision to change careers there. We poured sweat and tears into fixing it up. And finally when we finished all our projects and decorating, we moved. 

As a designer I know that decorating is never truly "finished," but I had reached the point of comfort and peace with our last home. When I sat in a room there weren't any "things" unfinished and just itching to be completed. We plan to be in this new home for a long time, so I'll have plenty of time to perfect everything here. Until then, here's a glimpse at our last home. 

Living Room
It was important for me to keep the living room feeling bright and open. I kept the furniture neutral to allow flexibility if my tastes in color changed in the future. It's easy to swap out other textiles and accessories inexpensively, but a quality sofa is something we wanted to invest in for years to come.
sofa :: console cabinet :: artwork :: lamp
arm chair :: rug :: coffee table :: side table
wall color Behr Sierra Madre

Dining Room
Our dining room was very functional for us. But as someone who loves to entertain, I was always itching for a larger space to hold a dinner party. We knew we'd eventually move into a home with a larger dining room, so I never invested in dining furniture. However, I did invest in a chandelier that I absolutely loved. I seriously considered taking it with me when we moved, but it just fit the house so well I knew it needed to stay. Plus, now I get to shop for light fixtures for our new home!

chandelier :: drapery panels :: highchair

This kitchen was truly the feature that sold us on this house. We did some minor work to update the hardware, backsplash, and paint color. But it didn't need much else. It was open and airy and extremely functional for it's size. In fact, I didn't realize how well planned it was until we moved into our new house. Our new kitchen is more than twice the size but doesn't function well at all. The space planning is so poor I can't imagine it was designed by anyone who enjoyed cooking.

Master Bedroom & Bath
The master bedroom suite was another amazing feature of this home. If you know anything about the craftsman homes around Denver, this is a rare find. We believe that a third bedroom on the main floor was used to convert this space into a master with attached bathroom. And again, although the bathroom was small, it was very functional for two people and it gave us the privacy we needed. For the bedroom, I wanted to create a relaxing retreat. Painting the walls to a tranquil, soft teal, and painting the furniture a creamy white helped to instantly update the space on a small budget. I did quite a few DIY projects to personalize the space on a small budget. You can see more here, here, and here.

Alexander's nursery was such a passion project. It was truly the first room I designed from top to bottom and I stressed over each and every detail. I wanted a gender neutral space that still had some little boy details. I spent the most time choosing the right glider, and I'm so happy that I did because I spent a lot of time rocking our colicky boy there. You can read more about Alexander's nursery herehereherehere, and here.

Guest Room & Bath
Once our guest room moved to the basement to accommodate Alexander's nursery, it received a little less attention. We made sure it was still inviting for our guests and comfortable. But as far as design, it was lacking a bit. However, after several years of hosting longer-term guests I have quite a few tips I'd like to share for making your guest room inviting. Stay tuned for a future post.

Basement Family Room
We spent so much time in this basement. I wanted a space that was comfortable and casual for our family and guests. Although I really hate when the television is the focal point of a room, this space was truly a TV and movie hang-out spot. Mounting it on the wall with the staircase opened up the entire basement and gave us so much more room to play with Alex. It was the only carpeted area of our home, so it's where Alexander spent the most time and learned how to walk. It may not be my favorite spot for showcasing my love for design, but it was a great space for our family.
sleeper sofa :: bookcases :: chair

Home Office
This little nook was an inexpensive quick solution to our need for a designated office space. It functioned well for me and I liked that it was in the basement where I could watch Alexander play while I worked. 
desk :: chair
I hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane. I'm excited to share the progress of our new home in upcoming posts!

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*Photos courtesy of Tour Factory

Monday, May 11, 2015

baby girl nursery inspiration

I've been a little radio silent the past few months. This pregnancy has been very difficult and I've been using all my spare energy to focus on finishing a busy semester. But I'm happy to share that my semester is complete and baby Eleanor arrived on May 4th. We are just thrilled to welcome her into our family! 

I've had so much fun designing her nursery. I've maintained a relatively neutral color palette, because that's what I love, but I've brought in some pink and plenty of sparkle. The nursery is nearly complete, we're just waiting on some artwork to arrive. Here is my inspiration board for a gold, coral, and neutral girl's nursery!

1 :: 2 :: 3 :: 4 :: 5 :: 6 :: 7 :: 8 :: 9 :: 10 :: 11 :: 12 :: 13
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Thursday, February 5, 2015

inspiration of the week: hidden storage

I am a neat freak. I think part of my obsession stems from a desire for control, and the other part comes from my love of interior design. There's no quicker way to distract from a beautiful room than a stack of unread mail, or a random pair of shoes sitting within view. With a new baby coming, I've been busy reorganizing and getting things in and out of storage. We're also looking to move, so I want to be strategic about my storage solutions so our home looks its best when it goes on the market. Although I've found places in our current home that meet our storage needs, I'm daydreaming about putting some of these clever solutions in our next home!
Storage under the stairs isn't new, but it can be hard to reach the items in the back via traditional doors. Turning those front steps into drawers is a genius solution to maximize the usable space under the stairs.
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I love how this kitchen design uses the decorative millwork as functional, pull-out spice racks.
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Similar to the spice rack above, this slim drawer houses a knife block to keep cutlery off the countertop but easily accessible where it is most used.
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I just love this clever storage solution. This secret panel in the wall conceals spare place settings or other items not quite uniform or "pretty" enough to store in open cabinetry. When closed, you'd never even know the storage was there - allowing for a streamlined look and avoiding the need for another furniture storage item.
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Here's another genius idea for an often unutilized space. This toekick drawer is the perfect place to keep seasonal items, or even your secret valuables.
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What a great idea for the flat surface at the end of a row of cabinets. Additional cabinet doors are installed to conceal a mail sorting station.
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Window seats are a great way to not only add built-in storage, but extra seating as well. I think they're especially suited for children's rooms where toy storage is always a necessity, as is a special reading nook.
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I hope these ideas inspire you to look beyond the traditional spots when thinking about storage in your home!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Can your kitchen help you lose weight?

It's the season of resolutions and many of us probably have some resolutions for healthier lifestyle changes. Whether you're trying to lose weight or just looking to put some focus on healthier habits, you might not think the design of your kitchen plays much of a role. I stumbled across an article on Houzz that sparked my interest to learn more about how your kitchen can help you make healthier choices.

Cornell University nutrition professor, Brian Wansink, has a new book Slim by Design that explores the power of mindless eating solutions. He spent more than two decades studying the habits of skinny people as it relates to eating. Here are a few of those findings with regards to kitchen design and the impact on eating habits. Some of these are simple solutions that don't require much of an investment beyond time, while a few might be valuable to consider if you're looking to redesign your kitchen.

1. Remove clutter. This was music to my neat freak ears! In his studies, Wansink found that people ate 44 percent more calories snacking in a clutter-filled, messy kitchen. He argues that because your environment is out of control, and lacks discipline, it's more difficult to resist temptation. So take the time to put away the clutter. You'll be able to enjoy your beautiful home, and maybe find yourself snacking a little less as well.
The lack of clutter and accessories in this kitchen also adds to the feeling of spaciousness.
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2. Fruit should be the only visible food. Making sure that bowl of fresh fruit is easily accessible goes a long way in tempting you to grab a healthier snack. Although I love decorating with domed cake stands filled with baked goods, nothing adds life and color to a kitchen like a bowl of fresh fruit.
The fresh fruit and flowers on this countertop not only look enticing, they add a beautiful pop of color to this neutral kitchen.
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3. Hide unhealthy snacks. This is a familiar idea, but one that's often forgotten. Wansink found that you're three times more likely to eat the first food you find than the fifth one. Never keep junk food on your countertop. The best storage solution? Lock those chips and cookies in a hard to reach cabinet so you have to make a conscious effort every time you indulge. This even works in the fridge. Move your produce out of the crisper and onto a more prominent shelf and fill that crisper with some less healthy items.
I love using vertical space in the kitchen and these hard-to-reach cabinets above the window are the perfect place to hide unhealthy snacks.
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4. Don't make kitchen seating too comfortable. I hadn't heard this before, but it makes perfect sense. If your kitchen barstools invite you to spend your time lounging around food, you might also find yourself mindlessly eating that food. However, this is a harder idea to implement, especially with a family. If you spend time in the kitchen preparing healthy meals for your family, you probably want to have seating that invites them to spend time with you. Try removing things like iPads and TV's to help encourage conversation and less lounging and mindless eating.
These stools are not only functional, but the wood adds a warm texture to the space. However, they aren't upholstered and the minimal backrest may help discourage prolonged lounging.
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5. Avoid all white kitchens. This is another idea that clashes with the trends. Wansink found that white and bright spaces can stimulate eating. The same goes for dark and cozy spaces where you'll want to linger for another helping. The trick is to find a happy medium. Mid-tone neutrals, even golds, greens, and blues tend to work best. Again, this is one you'll need to weigh personally. If a bright white kitchen helps encourage you to spend time cooking something healthy (as opposed to throwing a frozen meal in the microwave and getting out of there) then that may be the best design solution.
If you love bright, white kitchens, adding a pop of color to your island cabinets is a great way to bring in another color and add interest and depth.
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6. Make use of your dining room. I love dining rooms and gathering around a meal with friends and family. But dining rooms are disappearing, and many of us are gathering for meals in the kitchen or even around the coffee table in front of the TV. In addition to encouraging conversation, the dining room is further away from the food, thus encouraging more mindful eating. Furthermore, if you serve yourself in the kitchen, you'll be less likely to indulge in a second helping you don't need. As for the coffee table/TV eating - among the many reasons to avoid eating in front of the TV, it encourages mindless eating and commercials for junk food can even give you cravings for something you wouldn't otherwise want.
A dining room doesn't have to be formal. This casual space is made grand with the addition of these gorgeous green chairs.
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7. Get rid of your microwave. Another difficult one to implement, but Wansink found that people who don't have a microwave (or keep their microwave in a different room) tend to weigh less. Personally, I would love to get rid of our microwave but the hubby would never go for it. Plus, it's just so convenient for reheating healthy foods like soups. So I love this idea of moving it to the pantry.
This butler's pantry is the perfect place to tuck away the microwave - making it just a little less convenient to heat up that late night pizza.
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Wansink's book provides many more ways to help reduce mindless eating. There's even a checklist to evaluate how well your kitchen is working for you. So check out Slim by Design and choose the updates that work for you and your family.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

announcement: baby #2!

It's been months since I've given sunlight & sparkle some love and attention - but I have a good reason. We're so excited to announce that Alexander is going to be a big brother! Baby GIRL will be joining our family in May. 

While we are absolutely thrilled, to say this has been a difficult pregnancy is an understatement. With Alexander I was terribly sick for the first 16 weeks, but this time it lasted the entire first half.  And just when I was feeling better and back in the gym working out, I slipped on some ice and sprained my ankle and my knee. On the bright side, although I'm immobile again, I'm no longer sick and can put some energy back into this blog. I can't wait to share more inspiring design and the big changes that are happening around here!

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