Get The Look!

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Dining Room

One of the most important rooms of the home is the dining room, so give it some style!

Whether you’re entertaining friends or just enjoying a weekday meal with the family, you should design the space so that it’s somewhere people want to stick around. Whenever Ryan and I have dinner parties (though, it’s been a while since having the babe), we always end up sitting around the table for hours drinking wine instead of cozying up on the sofa.

This space in the inspiration photo is spot on. While it features glam elements, it’s still comfortable and spacious. The dark wood-tones keep it grounded, while the monochrome palette creates a classic aesthetic.

Get this look:

1. Chandelier via Lamps Plus
2. Decanter via Crate & Barrel
3. Decanter via Crate & Barrel
4. Tray via ZGallerie
5. Dining Table via Zinc Door
6. Sconce via Lamps Plus
7. Dining Chair via Zinc Door
8. Mirror via ZGallerie
9. Sideboard via Wayfair
Inspiration image via Mix & Chic

Adopt-a-Room

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I belong to a group in Cranford called “The Newcomer’s Club” that is basically a social club in town for women to get to know each other, drink wine, have play dates and discuss events going on in town. I joined last September and was really excited to feel like I’m part of a community. Shortly after my sister died, I received an email about adopting a room at a local women’s shelter and it literally brought me to tears. They asked if they could dedicate the room to my sister and I was so touched. Several women from the group donated items to decorate the space. It looks like one person picked out all of the accessories but it all just worked together. The furniture is provided by the shelter, so I painted the room along with two other amazing women. We chatted over the course of two days and really got to know each other. The entire process was very therapeutic for me… knowing that this one room would help a woman and her young baby so she has a safe place to live.

We recently received an email from the director saying that a woman and her little one moved in the week after we completed the room, and the little boy walks around everywhere with this little stuffed dog from the crib. That made my heart smile. This is just a little reminder that even when you’re experiencing your own grief, you can be a healer for others.

 

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Lighting Effects

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Just a normal day, perusing Pinterest while I ate my second breakfast. :) I usually eat a small breakfast with Cole in the morning, but then get distracted and have to eat something small after I drop him off at daycare… when I finally get a chance to breathe. This was one of those fun mornings, drinking coffee for the first time in what felt like ages, where I was finding a clear pattern with each scroll…

Pendant Inspiration
I found so many rooms with perfect lighting! It’s amazing what a huge impact one pendant can have on a room. Just take a look at these four very different spaces above. No matter which room of the house, lighting is so important, for both style and function. Naturally, I had to do some on-line window shopping and here’s what I found.

Pendants
1. Ulysses Pendant via Dwell Studio
2. Canopy 1 Lighting Pendant via AllModern
3. Mirror Ball Pendant via YLighting
4. Dewdrop Chandelier via Anthropologie
5. Heracleum II Small Pendant via YLighting
6. Cosmo Pendant Light via Crate & Barrel
7. Marcello Penant via Zinc Door
8. Glass Jar Pendant via West Elm
9. Skygarden Pendant via Hive
10. Factory Satellite 2 Pendant via Schoolhouse Electric
11. Etch Pendant via AllModern

Summer Bucket List

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summer to do

It’s interesting looking back at my previous Summer To-Do Lists because each year they are very similar. I can’t believe it’s almost July, that school is out, and that it’s summer…?! I better get on my summertime goals.

Go camping at least once. I’m setting up my standards real high here. One time. That can’t be that hard, can it?! We’ve had two trips planned with Cole in the past year and each time one of us has gotten really sick. I really want to go with him while he’s little so he get’s used to being an outdoorsman.

Hike at least once. Again, setting my goals real high. We’ve been so busy on the weekends trying to get the house done that we haven’t really been outside.

Go to New Hope on a date. We haven’t been there since I’ve been pregnant, so it’ll be fun to go back and have a cocktail overlooking the river. Speaking of dates…

Go on a date night at least twice a month. Ryan and I have been so all consumed with the house, Cole, my sisters’ kids, that it’s easy to forget about us. Painting the bathroom or pulling weeds while we have a babysitter does not count as a date night. I want to get dressed up, go out, and connect. We’ve been wanting to go to Atlantic City so hopefully we can get this on the calendar. :)

Go to the doctor’s appointments I’ve been putting off. Wah. When did I get old and have so many responsibilities?!

Go to the beach at least twice. I’m kind of cheating on this one because we have two beach trips already scheduled. Sometimes I like to add things to my to-do list just so I can cross them off.

Go to the farm with Cole. I used to go to this farm when I babysat for Kate and Will and we loved it. We probably went almost every week and it was a perfect day out to just let the kids explore. Now that Cole can walk (!!!) and thinks every animal is called Jack (our cat’s name) I think he’ll have fun.

Finish powder room. We closed on the house one year and 2 days ago and the powder room has been demoed to studs since about the same time. I forgot we even have a powder room. I was getting used to storing cases of water in that empty room! Ryan’s painted and tiled this weekend so we’re almost there.

 Be more active. I’ve finally lost the baby weight, so I just need to tone up. I feel sluggish and out of shape so I want to start doing Yoga to get centered. There’s a local park that has weekly classes outside by the river and I’ve been meaning to try it. Now is the time!

Have a water fun fight. Speaking of finding my zen, I want to remember what summer actually felt like as a kid. I have water guns and water balloons on deck for the next weekend my niece and nephew stay over. :)

Read at least three books. It seems this is on my list every year but I never find the time to actually read. All my shows I watched are over and I’ve given up facebook (the ultimate time waster). I’m currently reading “The Secret” and even though it’s a bit extreme, I’m reading it with an open mind. I have “Still Alice“, a self help book (not the most appropriate for summertime fun), and a light hearted comedy about a woman finding herself after her family goes through a tragedy. It’s supposed to be funny so I’m looking forward to that one. Do you have any books you’d recommend?

Create our 2014 “family yearbook”. When I was pregnant and nesting, I created books for each year we were married. I’d love to find an afternoon with some silence (ha!) so I can relax and put together our visual memories of last year.

Do you have any big plans for this summer? I’d love to hear what’s on everyone’s bucket list for the summer. xo

(image via.)

Bridgewater Kitchen: Before and After

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This couple was one of my favorite clients I’ve ever worked with (and I’m not just saying that because Emily likely reads my blog:). During our first meeting, they warned me that they were crazy and I fully appreciated their silly couple banter. They both had a lot of personality, made each meeting fun, and signed almost all emails with emoticons and a note saying how amazing I am. I mean, who wouldn’t love that?! We immediately bonded over our love for young house love and apartment therapy blogs, where my tiny studio condo was actually featured so many years ago. This week they sent me a compilation of pictures they took throughout the kitchen renovation project. How cool is this?! Thanks for putting this together and sending it to me, Jamie!

 

My New Vegetable Garden

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It’s hard to believe that we’ve been almost an entire year since we officially closed on the house. It feels like just yesterday and a lifetime ago all at the same time. We’ve experienced so much here already and living here just feels right. I’m embarrassed to say that just last week I painted and organized the linen closet. Pre-Cole I would have had that done in days, but everyone warned me how much a baby changes everything. When he goes to bed, I answer emails while I cook dinner (or honestly, wait for the take out to arrive), and then I’m exhausted. I have no interest in organizing or doing much of anything at night. I asked my doctor when I’ll stop feeling so tired, and her answer was “well… my youngest is 10…so….”. Yawn.

Anyway, this post isn’t about my linen closet but my amazing new garden! These crazy photos are almost exactly a year ago, right after we closed. The woman who lived here before us was in her late 70’s and raised her 3 kids here over the course of 40 years. The house needed (and still needs) a lot of love. Before we moved in we removed all of the existing overgrown shrubs, 1 gigantic tree in the front yard that was about 5′ from our house, and a tall gangly tree on the side of the house. Removing these trees not only made the house look younger, but it allowed a space for my vegetable garden. The back yard is almost all shaded, which is amazing during the summer months especially now that I have to worry about greasing down a toddler with sunscreen. When my oldest nephew first saw the house, he was so disappointed because he realized there was no sunny spots for the gardening I love so much. He has gotten me plants in the past, and loves to talk about what I’m growing and trying new recipes.

 

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Below are pictures of my new fenced in garden that Ryan built for me! He spent at least three muggy days working all day in the sun to finish this for me. One of the days was even his birthday, but as much as he complained about finishing it, you could see how proud he was to make this. :) I showed him this picture, fully expecting him to say I’m crazy because it’s completely custom but he just responded “sure, I can do it.”. I even threw in “I’ll completely build the boxes on my own so you don’t have to” hoping he wouldn’t take me up on it. (Thankfully he didn’t) To sart, we spent four dreadful hours in Home Depot picking up lumber, screen, pavers, and rocks. That trip alone was enough to exhaust me, and thankfully we had a babysitter so Cole didn’t have to see me struggle to push what felt like a 100 pound cart.

Digging the holes to put the posts is so difficult. I dug about a quarter of a hole for one of the posts and my arms were in so much pain, so Ryan took over and dug each post. Once the posts were in, Ryan cut the pieces of wood and I was just his assistant. I helped staple the screen to the fence, and once the fence was all put together I stained the fence with deck stain. For the actual garden boxes, I used a natural homemade stain of vinegar, steel wool, and coffee and I love the color! I wish we would have used the stain for the entire fence. (Side note: Ryan texted me to stop at Home Depot to get the finest steel wool they have. I thought he was joking meaning “get the fanciest steel wool money has to buy” but he literally meant the finest grit. We both had a good laugh about that. :) I’m hoping the fence will keep the deer out, and so far no bunnies have tried to crawl under since there are rocks blocking the way. I’ve had my eye on one bunny lingering in the yard, but he hasn’t gotten my produce yet!

In previous years, I went crazy and planted way too many plants. The bugs would get to the plants in the back because I planted them too close together and couldn’t reach the back plants, or we’d have too many tomatoes to eat and they’d end up going to waste. This year I only planted 3 cherry tomato plants, 1 pepper plant, 1 dwarf raspberry bush (my first time with fruit!), 2 basil, 4 parsley, 1 thyme, 1 rosemary (that’ll hopefully grow back next year) and 1 blueberry bush. Everyone says that blueberry bushes do better in 2’s so they can cross pollinate so I’m going to see how much fruit they produce as a single plant, and if we need to I can add another one next year. I’m so excited to try growing berries this year and I can’t wait to see them start to mature!

We also recently rearranged our outdoor furniture. Our garage is set up oddly behind our house, so the driveway goes right behind our house instead of a patio. When we save enough money or hit the lottery, we’re going to add a blustone patio where our furniture currently is so it acts as a patio, but someone can drive on it if they need to (for resale).

And now for less words and more photos…

 

IMG_1198(Don’t mind the hose wrapped around our tree strump side table. It’s temporary for the sprinkler until our new grass grows in. :) We may move the hydrangeas further away from the house and add schip laurels next to the house because the beds on the side of the house look empty. Has anyone had experience transplanting plants? Is it best to wait for the fall?

 

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My beautiful peonies that didn’t last long enough for a photo shoot. I can’t wait until they grow in nice and full to create a huge hedge! I want to add some small shrubs in front but I haven’t decided what to add yet.

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Ryan even added a soaker hose system so I don’t have to worry about watering the garden. Phew! We still have to cover it with dirt once we figure out how long the timer should leave it on for. We’re still figuring out the perfect length of time to leave it on.

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Thank you, Ryan! You sure know how to make a girl feel special. ;)

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