spring fever

Today is apparently the first day of Spring, although it’s still freezing on the east coast. There’s even threats of snow showers in the coming week! Even though it’s too soon to pack away my sweaters and cozy socks, I still like to think that it’ll be warm soon. I love that I’ve been waking up to birds chirping in the morning, and that it’s staying light out past 7pm.

Now that everyone’s been talking about my favorite season, it’s lit a fire inside of me that is making me think about gardening nonstop. Last year I planted my very first garden, although I never actually posted progress photos. Better late than never…? Most people recommend keeping a journal, but instead I emailed myself photos of the progress so I could visually see what to do or what not to do this year.

Last year I planted way too much: 6 cherry tomatoes, 4 plum tomatoes, 2 beefsteak tomatoes, about 12 pepper plants, eggplant, carrots, garlic, cucumber, basil, parsley, string beans, and three kinds of lettuce. I went crazy. I planted everything way too close, even though the packages had direct instructions. I mean, how can a tiny little seed grow into a 10′ tomato plant?! This year I created a profile on Smart Gardener that I will actually stick to.  Like a lot of things in my life, I found the site through Pinterest and so far it’s amazing! You can put in the size of your garden, what you’d like to plant and it suggests a garden plan (much like my beloved floor plans). It even emails you when you should be planting, watering, and harvesting!

It’s fun to look back on how much Ryan and I have actually done to this house. No surface was untouched, including the garden. The first two photos below are what the yard looked like when we moved in. I don’t understand why you would have an amazing garden plot but then cover it with paving stones around plastic planters. And check out that little jungle on the right! Unfortunately that blacktop is still there but we’ve covered a good portion of it with a fun outdoor rug. (I’m sure I’ll be taking pictures this Spring to show you!) We also got rid of that terrible rusty swing too.

BEFORE:

Vegetable Garden NJ

Vegetable Garden NJ

Our first Summer here, in 2011, I removed all of those paving stones and prepped the plot for a garden. There was SO much sand here because it used to be a sandbox at some point. I also had to remove a ridiculously heavy amount of rocks so the roots had room to grow.

Vegetable Garden NJ

Vegetable Garden NJ

The above photo is where the “jungle” was. Ryan used grass and weed killer to get rid of all of the unwanted wildflowers and planted new seed grass seed since this photo was taken.

Vegetable Garden NJ

photo8

Vegetable Garden NJ

Vegetable Garden NJ

Vegetable Garden NJ

Below is my Smart Gardener plan for this upcoming year. As you may have noticed, I’ve simplified everything quite a bit. I need to allow the plants to have room to grow, and also so I can have room to walk around them to pick my harvest.

garden

Looking at these pictures gets me so excited for the upcoming season! It’s so nice to have a hobby that is creative but allows me to focus my energy on something other than interior design. Do you plant a garden? Do you have any tips? I especially love this book because it gives you gardening advice and also has delicious recipes to make with your veggies.

 

How to train your cats not to scratch

How to protect your furniture from pet claws

This maybe one of my more random blog posts, but I think it’s something many homeowners can relate to. How does this relate to interior design? Let me explain..

As you may remember, I have two little monsters who have taken a liking to scratching anything they can get their adorable little paws on. Our new upholstered dining chairs now have strings hanging off, and our family room area rug is now fringed on the ends because Shiloh likes to hide water bottle caps under it. She’s a strange one, that girl. Ryan suggested we get “anti-scratch” tape from target, but as it turns out the tape is basically only double sided tape. So not only did it look terrible, everyone’s clothes kept getting stuck to it. (I almost would have preferred the plastic furniture protectors my Grandmother used to use. Almost.)

“They” say online to spray the cats with a water bottle when they’re doing something wrong, but my cats don’t mind getting sprayed. Seriously, Jack just rolls around like it’s summertime in the sprinkler. I’ve caught him trying to eat chili off the stove top, and playing in the sink with the dishes. But that’s besides the point…

After meeting with a client who also has cats, she recommended these cat claw caps. They got amazing reviews on amazon, and they also come in sizes for dogs and come in different colors if you’re feeling adventurous (aka a crazier cat lady than me). :) You definitely need two people to apply them because they are applied with animal safe glue (I glue my fingers together multiple times), but they are definitely worth it and have been holding up pretty good so far!

See how this relates to interior design? Now I don’t have to put tape on my beautiful new-ish furniture, and don’t have to worry about two adorably curious kittens literally hanging on my dining chairs by their front claws. Wow. No wonder my nephew says that I’m lucky that I’m married. :)

How to train your cats not to scratch

Look at that mug! :)

 

Let’s Go To Bed

Now that we’re talking about bedrooms, I can share with you the beds I’ve been looking at for the past 7 months. :) Once we bought the new dresser, we scored these nightstands from Crate and Barrel (now discontinued) for only $99 each! We’ve had them in the attic because they don’t really go with our current wood headboard (leftover from Ryan’s pre-married bedroom). Our plan was to take them down when we got a new bed frame but that hasn’t really happened yet. Every time we travel we always get a room with a king size bed and I always end up getting the best nights sleep. Ryan’s 6’2″ and I’m 5’10” and our cats have taken to sleeping on my head or my neck. Needless to say, I am often scrunched up into a little ball at the edge of our queen size bed causing my back to hurt every single morning. Pilates and yoga have helped a little bit but I think a king size bed will allow me to finally have a restful nights sleep. Ryan is being very picky about his requirements: needs to be free (ha!) or inexpensive, have nail heads or have a little bit of detail. He suggested doing a DIY headboard, but it’s important to me to have the frame upholstered too so we can finally get rid of our old lady bed skirt. What do you think? Do you have a favorite? I’m leaning towards the last bed option because it’s affordable, has Ryan’s nail heads, and has a modern upholstered base.

 

Crate and Barrel Ronan Nightstand

Mitchel Gold Bob Williams Yates Bed Room and Board Wyatt Bed

Room and Board Upholstered Bed

 

West Elm Nailhead Upholstered Bed

Beds 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Should I lacquer my dresser?

I’ve found that with most people, myself included, redecorate their bedroom last because “nobody sees it” when realistically it is one of the most important rooms in your house. Although our bedroom has come a long way since we’ve moved in, we’ve had Ryan’s matchy-matchy “bachelor” furniture for years and I’m itching to completely redesign the room. My urge to redesign started with a vintage dresser we picked up last year in New Hope. It honestly only feels like months ago. We weren’t planning on getting new furniture but we figured it would be a sweet “gift” to each other for our first anniversary. I love the storage, and brass handles but hate the wood. (Is it oak? I think so.) As soon as it was delivered Ryan started sanding it and re-staining it a darker color. At the time I thought it looked nice, especially because he is amazing at refinishing furniture, but, there is something about it that doesn’t excite me. The grain just makes it look old instead of a beautiful antique piece of furniture. Even though he spent all that work on it, I really really want to lacquer it. (Sorry, Ryan!) I’m thinking a deep navy like this would be so beautiful and would add some color. What do you think? I usually am against painting wood, but the cheap looking grain on this wood is driving me crazy.

BEFORE:

IMG_2506

AFTER:

Vintage refinished dresser

BUFFET BEFORE

Dining Room Sideboard

This Conant Ball sideboard is probably one of my favorite pieces in our house. We bought this sideboard on Craigslist almost two years ago for only $100 because it was stained, in rough condition and smelled like pee. Thankfully Ryan and I have “vision” and were able to see/smell past it’s existing condition. (I love a man that can get just as excited by a piece of vintage furniture as he does for a football game!) Once we took it home, we used several cans of Lysol on her and let her sit outside in the sun for a few days. Ryan is a genius when it comes to refinishing furniture. Seriously. I never thought he would be able to get this piece to feel so smooth. When he put the last coat of poly on it, I think I sat and pet it for a few minutes.  Now we use it to store wine glasses, wine, china from his Grandmother, candles and mail. Storing mail in here is probably weird, but I hate piles of paper and it’s right near our front door. (You can see the “before” photos here of the room. This sideboard is on the right wall opposite that ugly old recliner. ick.)

Above it I hung a collage of photos that are special to us: wedding photos, the London eye from our first vacation together, the water at Niagra Falls, and a still life Ryan’s mom gave me. Although getting all these pictures to look “carefully undone” took hours but it was worth it in the end. I’m kind of spastic when it comes to hanging pictures so there are about 4 “practice” holes behind each of those photos, I’m sure. I thought this post by Joanna was interesting about having family photos in public spaces in your home. I feel like having personal photos in your public spaces is even more important so you can show your family and friends what is important to you. I can’t tell you how many times people comment on these pictures. My Mom especially loves the Rorschach print by Andy Warhol.

After we got this piece inside Ryan looked online to see what similar pieces were going for and they were going for thousands (!) of dollars… some even for $6k. Not a bad deal considering we got this for $100! Another reason it’s one of my favorite pieces in the house. :)

Conant Ball Buffet Before

Conant Ball Sideboard

Conant Ball Buffet

Photo Collage

Water Pitcher on White Tray

 

Oh, and of course I always have a bowl of lemons and water on it waiting for guests. Obviously. :)

Goodbye, 2012

family christmas tree fireplace

Homemade Christmas Ornament Snowman Popsicle

The holidays came and went and I can’t even believe it! As much as I try not to be a cliche on New Year’s Eve, I can’t help but do a little self reflection. This year was possibly my favorite year ever: professionally I’ve worked on some really inspiring projects and was able to really grow my company, my beautiful baby niece was born, and we adopted two crazy lovable kittens. Ryan and I are feeling more settled in our newish house, and we’re in the midst of planning a fun wine tasting vacation in CA.

This year I’m going to remember to live in the moment, work harder, eat more colorful meals, drink more wine (is that possible?!), and invest more in my personal relationships. Are those resolutions? I try not to make them, but I’ll think of them goals. ;)  Happy New Year and thank you for reading my blog!

The top photo is our Christmas tree with a mixture of our family and childhood ornaments /
Bottom photo is of this years homemade ornament
with our nephews.

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR DESIGN PROJECT!