theEntry

Remember when I said I was going to challenge myself to update one room in our home every month? Murphy’s Law states as soon as you declare something on the internet, you must eat your words. You didn’t know that? Yeah, they changed Murphy’s Law recently. Well, better four months late than never, right? Today I want to share how we freshened up our small entry over the past few months.

This past summer I decided to focus on freshening up our small entry. I figured it would be fairly simple. The space measures about 6 feet by 8 feet and has only one wall to work with. Brightening the space and swapping out the art were my top priorities.

Before the Before:

Taking a quick look back, here is the entry before we moved in. Back then, the wall on the right had french doors leading to an office space. When we renovated before moving in, we closed up the doorway and opened it up from our master bedroom. Not only did this help create a dedicated entry, it also allowed for a more private office space which I needed working from home.

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

Before:

The next two pictures are from THIS post from a few years ago. They are a pretty good representation of what the entry looked like before the latest updates. The stripes really held me over for a long time. However, in my quest to lighten and brighten the space, I knew bright white shiplap could work nicely. As a side note, I am happy to see my photography skills have improved since these were taken.

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

After:

After four months of puttering around making one big change and several little changes, here’s where we are today:

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

The first step we took was hiring a talented local wood worker to do the shiplap this summer. I have been planning this change for at least 3 years now, so I knew exactly the look I wanted: smooth, nickel-sized grooves, and no nails showing. He did a great job.

Besides the shiplap, the rest of the changes were decorative. I swapped out the art for something more earthy. The cute little tray for our mail is from the Container Store. The frame, book crate (similar) and faux fiddle leaf fig plant are all from Target.

The indoor/outdoor rug is from Ballard Designs, but it will not be living here much longer because it actually looks better in our kitchen. I am still looking for something more antiqued or vintage in muted colors in the entry. Something like THIS. Just have to find one in the right size that can handle a lot of foot traffic.

You might notice we also painted the door and swapped out the hardware. While I do love the contrast of the gray door, the actual door itself is on its last leg. Don’t be surprised if I actually pull the trigger on a front door decision one of these days.

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

This shot gives you a better idea of how the entry relates to the kitchen and living space. Even though it is not grand, I love having a spot to welcome guests, stash our Little Free Library book donations and set down the mail.

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

Summer Home Project: Freshening Up Our Entry

And there you have it. The little updates in the entry made such a difference.

Despite my slow progress on this room, the concept of only focusing on one room at a time is still working for me. Up next is our living room. The good news is I’m pretty confident I will have some updates to share with you soon. I hope those words don’t come back to haunt me.

How about you? Have you been making any changes at your place? Do tell!

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My Podcast Subscription List - The Outside and In

My Podcast Subscription List

Through an unfortunate turn of events, I recently had to start over with my podcast subscription list. I got a new phone, which promptly fell in a river within a few days. Sad, but par for the course for me. When I went to activate my old phone again, none of my old podcast subscriptions were saved. Which meant I had to start over.

Podcast subscriptions are the best because just like subscribing to your favorite magazine, as soon as a new podcast episode comes out, it goes on your “Unplayed” list.When I get a moment to listen to a new episode, I check the “Unplayed” list and all kinds of good content is waiting for me.

Re-subscribing to all my favorite podcasts was a bit of a blessing in disguise because I had to remember which podcasts I enjoy listening to most. The mediocre ones I kept skipping over or that just weren’t resonating any more got left by the wayside. What I was left with is about 20 awesome podcasts that reflect my interests.

I thought I would share them with you today. Some are new. Many you have seen me mention before. There’s even a handful still on here from my second ever blog post back in 2014.

My Podcast Subscription List - The Outside and In

Entrepreneurship & Business

1. How I Built This – One of my very favorites. The host Guy Raz is just so likable. Guy interviews founders of companies you know and love to get the scoop on how it all started for them. I pretty much love every single episode, but some of origin stories I would most recommend are: AirBnB, Spanx and Whole Foods.

2. Side Hustle School – If you like How I Built This, the odds are you will like Side Hustle School too. The host, Chris Gillebeau, shares a different short side hustle story every day. I just find it so fascinating to learn how & why people create the businesses they do. Chris also does a great job of recapping the take aways from each person he profiles so that his audience can use the knowledge for themselves. All in under 10 minutes.

3. The Tim Ferriss Show – If I could only subscribe to ONE podcast, this would be it. I feel like I owe Tim Ferriss so much. I have learned a ridiculous amount from listening to his interviews the past 3 years. Thankfully, Tim came out with THIS book last year in which he condenses some of the best of best takeaways from his very best podcast interviews.

My Podcast Subscription List - The Outside and In

Tim Ferriss

Branding & Marketing

4. How to be Remarkable with Tiffany Hahn & Erin Cassidy  – This is a fairly new podcast on the scene, but I really enjoy the tactical and specific branding guidance from these two. Tiffany is a brand strategist and Erin is a graphic designer. Together they have an online course on branding and online business strategy. This podcast is an awesome extension of the work they do around helping people create authentic online brands.

5. Being Boss – Emily and Kathleen are two dynamo business owners that tackle different challenges to running and promoting your own online business. Emily has a web-design company and Kathleen has a branding company. Together, they have created a highly engaged community of self-employed business owners. Each week, they produce one full episode and one mini-episode covering subjects like How to Stay Focused and interviews with respected thought leaders like Brené Brown.

6. Awesome with Alison – Alison Faulkner is new to the podcasting scene but is a rockstar in the online world. Although she seems like just a happy-go-lucky girl from Provo, Utah that likes to dance a lot, she is actually smart business-minded woman with over 100K followers on Instagram alone. She clearly knows marketing and I enjoy learning from her.

My Podcast Subscription List - The Outside and In

Emily Thompson & Kathleen Shannon of Being Boss

Interiors

7. The Chris Loves Julia Podcast – A while back ago I posted about 3 Blogger Homes I Love, and one of them was Chris and Julia Marcum. In addition to their super popular blog which I enjoy reading, they have this awesome podcast too.

8. Young House Love Has a Podcast – One of my most read posts (to this day) is THIS one from a YHL Has a Podcast episode recap I did. It has been a while since I wrote that, but I am still listening and enjoying this fun podcast about making the best of your home with what you have.

9. How to Decorate – I admit the name of this podcast by Ballard Designs is not the most exciting, but I am so glad I gave it a chance. As I mentioned in my recent post about Ballard, they have really done a great job freshening up their brand. And that includes their blog & podcast.

My Podcast Subscription List - The Outside and In

Chris and Julia Marcum

Intentional & Simple Living

10. The Next Right Thing – I just subscribed to this one within the last 2 weeks or so based on a recommendation from a blog. After listening to just one episode, I felt calmer and centered. According to Emily Freeman, the host, she created each episode to: “Offer a short reflection, a simple action, and a benediction to help you create a little more space for your soul to breathe so you can discern your next right thing.”  Ahhhh….

11. The Minimalists PodcastYou might recall the Minimalists are the duo that inspired me to play their 30-Day Minimalism Game at the start of the year. They dedicate each podcast episode to discuss their minimalist approach to an assortment of topics, for example: technology, holidays, budgeting, etc.

12. The Simple Show – I have not missed an episode of The Simple Show since I started listening several months ago. The creator/host of the podcast is Tsh Oxenrider and her podcast focuses on her 3 favorites things to chat about: books, travel and home. Needless to say, I have found my online soul-mate. I would totally be friends with her if I knew her.

My Podcast Subscription List - The Outside and In

The Simple Show’s Tsh Oxenreider

Self-Improvement

13. Happier in Hollywood – Happier in Hollywood is actually a spinoff podcast of Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen’s sister Liz, who is also on Happier with Gretchen Rubin, recently started this spin-off show with her writing partner. This is very similar to the other Happier podcast, but it has a bit more of a Hollywood slant to it.

14. The Lively Show – The Lively Show has been on my podcast list for several years now. The show has evolved over the past year or so from interviews & conversations with creatives to a much more “woo-woo” show. Topics like flow, the “Law of Attraction” and metaphysics are pretty much the norm now. Regardless of the change of direction, I still enjoy listening and learning about all this new to me stuff!

15. Happier with Gretchen Rubin – This is another one I listen to the very day it comes out.  Gretchen is the author of one my favorite non-fiction books of all time, “Better than Before”, which is all about establishing positive habits based on your temperment. Gretchen’s podcast continues the theme and addresses happiness hacks and roadblocks. Lots of food for thought here!

My Podcast Subscription List - The Outside and In

Happier podcast’s Elizabeth Craft & Gretchen Rubin

And one health podcast for good measure:

Balanced Bites – I didn’t include this one one the original list because it didn’t really fit into the categories or the graphic (OCD, I know). But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it and listen religiously. This is actually the very first podcast I ever started listening to. My gateway podcast you could say 🙂 Although I do listen to other nutrition and health podcasts sporadically, this is the one I never miss. I have listened to pretty every one of their 300+ shows.

My Podcast Subscription List - The Outside and In

Welp. There you have it. I feel like I have just introduced you to some of my best friends. I know it sounds weird, but these are people that I learn from, laugh with and check in with at least once a week. They have challenged me to think differently and expand my mind in countless ways. And it all started with clicking on that little “Subscribe” button.

Are you a podcast lover too? Which podcasts do you love and subscribe to? Do we have any in common? Let me know!

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Have you checked out Ballard Designs recently? In the past few months I have been working on several styling and decorating projects that have been keeping me busy sourcing products. Time and time again, I find myself on Ballard’s site.

I am blown away with how this brand has evolved through the years. Do you remember when their catalog was filled with roosters and harlequin? I do. You used to have to dig hard to find the gems in their catalogs. Not so any more.

Although I would still categorize Ballard Designs as traditional furnishings, their products are fresh, clean-lined, and textured. In my opinion, they are elevating traditional better than anyone else in this price range. No more stuffy grandma pieces here.

Below are ten items that I have recently recommended to my styling clients. These are the pieces that keep catching my eye over and over as I search for unique but classic furniture and accessories.

Ten Ballard Designs Favorites

10 Ballard Designs Favorites

1. Arbre de la Vie Art – If you have a spot in your home to put a large piece of art, I would definitely recommend you go for it. Ballard has dozens of options, but this one is my favorite. I love the graphic design juxtaposed with the aged paper cutouts. I saw this piece in the store and could not believe the quality for the price. No matter which artwork catches your eye, go big for the most impact!

2. La Jolla Woven Tray -This tray is the perfect piece to break up a large solid surface. For example, a large black coffee table or even a glass coffee table. You will hear me say it again and again, texture is the name of the game when you want to create a cozy living space.

3. Ancient Grecian Vases – When you see the words “ancient” and “Grecian”, the last thing that comes to mind is modern. But that is exactly the impact these gorgeous vessels have. Look at the photo of the mantel above. The vases are the stars of the show, right?

4. Jute Urn – Looking for something interesting to style your coffee table or entry console with? This jute urn is the perfect accessory. Not only are the lines simple and clean, but it is functional too. And of course it adds texture which is always welcome & needed.

5. Petite Morning Light Art – Ballard has bumped up their art game significantly. In addition to large scale pieces (like the Arbre de la Vie above), they are now carrying a bunch of smaller scale framed pieces like this one. The little green landscape would work perfectly as part of a gallery or even layered into a bookcase.

6. Hartwell Apartment Sofa – The Hartwell is probably the most modern sofa that Ballard carries. The arms are straight and don’t roll out which often adds bulk. In addition, you can customize it with dozens of different fabric options which you can try out online. It’s so much fun to see the personality of a piece change with fabric alone.

Ten Ballard Designs Favorites

7. Sheffield 8-Light Chandelier – If you are looking for a chandelier with large impact that does not block views, the Sheffield is the perfect choice. The scale of this light is ideal for a rectangular dining table. The lines are clean yet traditional.

8. Bailey Woven Chair – Oh man I really want this chair. This is the perfect solution for someone who wants to mix and match their dining table and chairs. Although caned and woven chairs are not new, this silhouette is fresh and modern.

9. Marina Indoor Outdoor Rug – The Marina rug always catches my attention when I search for weather proof rugs. The pattern seems so happy amongst a see of trellis. I ordered the mocha color for our house. And I also included the midnight one in a client’s beach house bunk room design (below).

10. Buffalo Check Lamp Shade – There is no denying buffalo check is definitely on trend right now. However, we usually see it on pillows and upholstery. But not on lamp shades. Pop one of these on your lamp and see how much it changes the look of your room.

Have you noticed Ballard Designs getting better each year too? What Ballard pieces are you loving lately?

Do you need help sourcing “just the right thing” for your home? If so, feel free to get in CONTACT with me about working together to find what you’re looking for.

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A few weeks ago we took a surprise family trip to see Hamilton Chicago in honor of our son’s 10th birthday. I’m a few weeks late in posting about it. I think I needed a little time to process the fact that it actually happened. We had been keeping this under wraps for about 2 months and when the weekend finally came, I was so worried the experience would not live up to the anticipation. I am relieved to say it could not have gone any better. I’ll share the details with your today.

Making the decision

A few months out from our son’s birthday, I started to think about what we could give him or do for a birthday present. My mind went to birthday presents of the past which sat unused and ignored most of the time. The thought of buying something else to add to that growing list was not appealing at all.

Then I thought, “What is he really into?” The answer was a quick and easy one: Hamilton. We listen to Hamilton all day every day. What if we went to see it in lieu of a big gift or a birthday party? Hmmm…was that even possible? Weren’t tickets all sold out or millions of dollars? I started looking into it.

After calling Brian and seeing if he would knock some sense into me, he agreed that although it would be expensive, it would be a gift not soon forgotten. Turns out Hamilton Chicago tickets cost about 1/3 of what Hamilton New York cost. Plus the boys have never been to Chicago. So Chicago it was. We purchased the Hamilton Chicago tickets and booked the flight.

Setting up the surprise

Two months later, as my son’s birthday approached, I started to get nervous about switching over to an “experiences over things” birthday. Especially because we had not talked it over with the boys at all.

I started to have doubts. Was it selfish on my part because I was so excited about seeing the show too? Would he not count it as a true birthday gift since we were all going and it seemed like a regular family vacation? Had he envisioned getting a Playstation, Xbox or phone or something like that? You just never know. What if he said something bratty or spoiled? How would I react if that happened? If your kids are completely unselfish and unspoiled, this may not have even crossed your mind. They all crossed my mind as a possibility. Nothing like mom guilt to make you think of all the worse case scenarios.

As the day neared, I realized that the surprise would go well if we took some time to make sure it was presented in the right way. We did pick up a few small practical things to not make him suspicious that there was nothing wrapped for him. On that morning, he came to his little pile of inexpensive but useful gifts and we watched him open them one by one. We then handed him an envelope which we asked him to read aloud:

Dear Ben,

 

When we were trying to decide what to get you for your 10th birthday we really wanted to find something memorable. Something that would make you think back and never forget what a special milestone turning 10 was. It’s a big deal. 

 

So we were back to our question: What could we get you that would not be soon forgotten? That wouldn’t run out of batteries stop working or get boring after a few days?

 

There was one thing we knew for sure. Things don’t last. Memories do. It’s the experiences that we’ve enjoyed as a family that have brought us the most joy.

 

So there was only one thing that we could think of that would make this the best birthday memory EVER for you. And that thing is in the white envelope Dad is holding now. Take a look.

 

We love you.

Brian Ale and Max

A Hamilton Chicago Birthday Surprise

You should have seen the excitement and anticipation in his eyes as he took the envelope from Brian. Pulling out the tickets, he slowly came to the realization that we were going to get to see something we had told him was impossible. And instead of waiting years for the opportunity for it to come to Florida, we were heading to Hamilton Chicago in three days. He was over the moon. It worked!

3 Days in Chicago

A Hamilton Chicago Birthday Surprise

On the steps of the Field Museum

A Hamilton Chicago Birthday Surprise

Three days later, we were on a plane to Chicago. Although we would only be there a few days, I wanted to make the most of our time in there. Even though I know there are tons of hip neighborhoods in Chicago, we stuck to activities near downtown so nothing could jeopardize getting to the theater quickly.

Speaking of downtown, we stayed at the The Gray Hotel, which is located a block and a half from the Privatebank Theater where the show was playing. I was not going to risk traffic or anything else stopping us from getting to the theater on time. We loved the Kimptons we stayed at on our DC Trip, so we decided to stick with the Kimpton hotel family. Their customer service is top notch. One day they brought Ben a birthday cupcake and some gummy bears. The concierge is also the reason we got to eat dinner next to Alexander Hamilton himself (ok, maybe not the real Alexander Hamilton). More on that later.

A Hamilton Chicago Birthday Surprise

Dreamy shower at The Gray

A Hamilton Chicago Birthday Surprise

A Hamilton Chicago Birthday Surprise

A Hamilton Chicago Birthday Surprise

On our first day, we did the Museums & Parks at Sunset Bike Tour. It was perfect. Bike tours seem to have become a little tradition anytime we are visiting a new city. It’s the best way to see a lot in a couple of hours. Plus, riding bikes is perfect for getting some movement.

On Saturday morning, we went up to the observation deck of Willis Tower and to the Field Museum of Natural History. That evening, we went to Millennium Park which was jam packed. The day we were leaving, we also hit up the Museum of Science and Industry. What an incredible hands-on museum that could have kept us entertained for 6 hours! I highly recommend it if you are going to Chicago any time soon.

A Hamilton Chicago Birthday Surprise

A Hamilton Chicago Birthday Surprise

View from the Willis Tower Skydeck.

As for dining, we played it by ear a lot. Fortunately we did end up at a few good spots that I would recommend if you are staying downtown. The first is Revival Food Hall. Along the same lines as Chelsea Market in Manhattan, the Ferry Building in San Francisco, or Krog Street Market in Atlanta, Revival brings together the best of the best from the local food scene under one roof. We love places like this because we can each grab what we like and meet back at one table to enjoy. The other place we really enjoyed was Cochan Volant. This French bistro style restaurant was on the same block as our hotel and had such a good breakfast that we actually returned two days in a row.

A Hamilton Chicago Birthday Surprise

Revival Food Hall

A Hamilton Chicago Birthday Surprise

Pre-Hamilton breakfast at Cochan Volant

Hamilton Chicago

Okay so enough about all the other stuff. Let’s get down to business. What can I say about this experience? I know the words I use will not capture the surreal feeling of being there. Our front row mezzanine seats were perfect. I love having a direct view of all the action. For this show, believe me, you do not want to miss one movement. The choreography is sublime.

A Hamilton Chicago Birthday Surprise

As the lights went down and the first chords broke through the silence, you could almost feel the electric energy filling the theater. I practically had goosebumps the whole show. The boys sat on the edge of their seats with giant smiles the entire 3-hours. They noticed so many things and wanted to chat about it…a lot. I realized we hadn’t emphasized how important it was to be quiet. Oops. During intermission we discussed it.

Listening to the Hamilton soundtrack has captivated and inspired us for months. Watching the show after listening to it for so long felt like someone had removed a blindfold. And what we saw was even better than we had imagined! We were on cloud 9 with the whole experience.

Because of Hamilton, we visited and experienced the Declaration of Independence, Mount Vernon and the Liberty Bell through new eyes. We have newfound relationships with Founding Fathers that we barely even considered before. I am embarrassed to tell you all the things I was oblivious of about the American Revolution and first government before Hamilton. Believe me, the list is long. And here we were, coming full circle to see the musical that did all of this for us.

After the encore and as people were leaving their seats, a woman from another section approached me. She said she just wanted to let us know how much she enjoyed watching the boys watch the show. I appreciated her saying that, because I loved it too. The joy was exponential on so many levels.

Our seats!

 

The cherry on top

Just when we thought the highlight of our Hamilton Chicago weekend was over, there was a little extra surprise waiting for us. Since we went to the 2pm show, we got out around 5pm ready to eat. As I mentioned earlier, the concierge at The Gray was awesome. He would text me and ask if we needed help with anything throughout our stay. So after the show, I asked him for a dinner recommendation for a nearby restaurant. He recommended The Dearborn, which was only a couple blocks away and made a reservation for us as we walked.

As soon as we sat down in our cozy booth at The Dearborn, I saw a familiar face at the table next to ours. I told the Brian and the boys I thought it Joseph Morales, the actor who we had just seen playing Alexander Hamilton! Brian doubted it for the whole dinner.

As both of our parties were wrapping up dinner and getting up, I got up my nerve to ask if he had just come from playing Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton in Hamilton. The big smile that followed gave me the answer. It turns out he was also with Remmie Bourgeois, a member of the ensemble cast. They were both so gracious during our short time together. And as we walked away in different directions, we just looked at each other like, “How could this day have been any more magical?!”

A Hamilton Chicago Birthday Surprise

So there you have it. A dream come to fruition in a nutshell. I hope Ben never forgets his special birthday and the memories we created together. I know I certainly won’t.

If you are curious about what Hamilton is all about and how you can see it in Chicago, THIS is a great resource for you.

One of the best parts about our neighborhood is the eclectic mix of house styles. From ranches to colonial, Mediterranean, Cape Cod, we have it all. My friend Ashley lives a couple blocks down from me in the most charming historic Tudor that she has put her colorful stamp on. I have been itching to share it with you for a while now!

Once you see how playfully Ashley has breathed life into this almost 100 year old home, you might have the urge to jump into color as well. She has really taken some bold moves, which I so admire. What I love most about her home is how it truly reflects Ashley’s personal style and taste. She is as bright and colorful as home is!

You’ll want to pour yourself a cup of coffee and take some time to savor this home tour. Enjoy!

Step Inside: Ashley’s Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Who lives in this home and how did you come to live here? My husband, our 5 year old twins and me. We are expecting a baby girl in a month! We casually had our eyes set on this house for quite some time, and then negotiations with the seller took almost a year. It was a long process, but in the end, it was meant to be. We have lived here for about 2 years.

How did you know this house was the right choice for your family?  I had always dreamed of living in an old house, full of character. But as you know, old houses typically bring unforeseen issues and extra work. Fortunately for us, the previous owners completely restored this home, almost to the point that it felt new. And they did it right. Quite the find for a 1928 historic home!

Tell us about the process of renovating/updating your home once you moved in. What all did you do?  Paint every single wall…and really that’s it.  The previous colors weren’t my taste. My mom and I chalk painted the kitchen island and two bathroom vanities with Annie Sloan chalk paint. I also replaced most of the light fixtures, simply because the former didn’t go with my decor.

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

How would you describe your aesthetic/style?  Well this is a loaded question. I love color first and foremost. If I had to pinpoint a style, I would describe it as boho chic meets palm beach prep, mixed with my grandmother’s antiques, vintage thrift store finds,and then throw in traditional southern monograms (in every room, I can’t help it!) I love the look of modern mixed with vintage…like the acrylic accent stools in my formal living room paired with all the antiques.

What do you think your home says about you? It completely matches my style…it even matches my wardrobe! You will never catch me wearing black, just not my thing. My favorite stores are Lilly Pulitzer and Anthropologie.  Colorful stores…just like my house! Thankfully, I have a husband who lets me get away with it.

What are some of your favorite places to find inspiration for your home? I follow a lot of designers on Instagram and Pinterest…Addison’s Wonderland, Jonathan Adler, Paige Minear, Parker Kennedy, Serena and Lily, Caitlin Wilson Design… to name a few. My cousin is an interior designer out of state and she has the most fabulous second home in Cape Cod that is decorated to perfection with so much fun color. That’s really where my inspiration started…she made me realize that you can pull off color and still keep a finished grown-up look. She has helped me along the way with paint colors, fabric selection, etc. I always need a second opinion (or 5) before making a huge purchase. Even when I have the initial vision, I ask my friends who have similar taste to come over and weigh in. I just need reassurance.

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Which room in your home do you enjoy the most? The kitchen and family room. I love that we managed to find an open concept main living space in a 1928 historic home. And the attached playroom in line of sight is the icing on the cake!

What do you splurge on in your home? Where do you like to save? I splurged on 9×12 rugs and custom window treatments. It pains me to splurge, because I’m such a bargain hunter, but I had to do it. My interior designer cousin told me her biggest pet peeve is store bought curtains, so I listened to her. I saved with a few knock off chandeliers/light fixtures, some thrift store furniture finds and of course accessories and lamps. I love to find a copycat bargain and will hunt down a sale like nobody’s business. I’ve really had to restrain myself from buying things just because they are “on sale”. The key question I remind myself is “would I buy this if it wasn’t on sale?” I do also think it’s important to balance the room with some expensive pieces, so then no one will notice the knock offs! Like wearing designer jeans with an H&M top. I also saved BIG on furniture by inheriting antiques from my late grandmother. I painted some of her pieces (not the valuable ones) to bring them back to life and make them more current…my formal dining room chairs for example. They used to be blonde wood with royal blue striped cushions and now they are painted gray and reupholstered with hot pink Chanel tweed fabric. I’m not afraid to put a little sweat equity into a project to save some money and make it my own!

You are so resourceful at finding good deals. Can you share some of your tips?  Well I love to shop and I have the patience to dig through discount stores and thrift stores in search of a bargain. I also follow a lot of designers on social media to get ideas, and then when I see something I like, I try to copy it on a budget.

When do you think it is important not to cut corners?  On furniture that will get a lot of use and abuse…like in the family room and dining room, bedroom dressers, kids furniture, etc. Good quality furniture will last much longer than look-a-like cheaper options. Confession: I broke this rule with my 2 pink linen settees in the formal living room (thinking they wouldn’t get much use), but now I’m always paranoid that a leg is going to break every time a man sits in one! They were a bargain find on Gilt.

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

You have a knack for repurposing pieces in your home. Can you share an example? Half of my house is repurposed painted furniture, so the list is lengthy! My favorite transformation is probably the green console table in my foyer. I painted it a lacquered kelly green, switched the hardware to brass and then lined the drawers inside and out with super fun contact paper. In its former life, it was a boring bedroom dresser that I found at a thrift store for $75 (with a white marble top, so I knew it had potential). Another good example: the acrylic piano bench and 2 acrylic stools in front of the fire place in my formal living room. I found them at Tuesday Morning on sale and just paid to have them reupholstered in matching greek key fabric, to better compliment my décor- giving it a custom modern look.

What are some of your favorite places to shop for your home? Homegoods, World Market, Land of Nod (for kids’ furniture), PB Kids/Teen (for kids bedding, valances & rugs), Anthropologie, Serena & Lily, TJMaxx, Tuesday Morning, and I love Etsy for artwork in the kids’ spaces.

Whose home or design aesthetic do you admire? Why? This designer out of GA who I have never met, she has a blog called Addison’s Wonderland. She also has a love affair with color, like me.

What is your advice to others who feel scared to experiment with color? I try to keep some consistent neutral colors (gray tones and creams) to ground the room, and then I make sure to incorporate some nicer pieces, so it doesn’t end up looking childish.

What are your “musts” around a family-friendly space? My big “must” when we were house hunting was a dedicated playroom space that was in close proximity to the main living area. Luckily, I found just that! I don’t mind the playroom being messy, just as long as the other areas of the house are picked up.

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

Step Inside: Ashley's Colorful & Gracious Historic Home

I do think there must be some energy-inducing power to the gorgeous color in Ashley’s home. To think that she has done this in only 2 years while working full-time is giving me a bit of a kick in the pants to get on some of my own projects. Her stamina is awe-inspiring. Not to mention the fact that she is due for their 3rd child any day now. Phew!

Thank you Ashley for allowing us to “step inside” your lovely jewel box of a home! Want to see more home tours like this? Check out the rest of the Step Inside series HERE.

Photography: Ale Cretul

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