How has it already been over a month since my last Noteworthy post? I feel like this beautiful time of year always goes too quickly. One of my favorite fall shoots was in our previous backyard (circa 2017)… we hosted a fall party and it was so much fun! I’m sprinkling images from that night throughout this post- just for fun. Click through to catch up on life happenings, renovation updates, design inspiration, recent purchases, an honest pep talk, and more!
Our guest room seems to be taking eons to complete because there is SO much millwork, but it’s looking very good! It’s halfway painted and we’re nearing the home stretch of this project. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Once I get everything painted, I’ll be tackling a DIY upholstered bed for the space, which should be a fun challenge!
Being married to a finance guy certainly has its ups (smart investments and savings) and downs (a strict eagle eye on our bank account). I found this article, Where Starter Homes Are Most Affordable, very relatable because this is exactly how we accidentally set ourselves up for homeownership almost a decade ago. I’m going to share some surprising personal info… we bought our first home, a bank-owned foreclosure in Dayton, Ohio for under $30k. You read that correctly… less than a car! Now, I won’t say it was pleasant, but it had good bones, fit our budget, and allowed us to spend renovation money making it our own. While we did put a lot of time, energy, and money into renovating, it was still an awesome accidental investment. When we decided to make a change and sell, the house sold for $100k. Thanks to our Ohio bungalow, we were able to move to Utah and live in a mountain town, which still feels like a dream location. That brings me to a question for you- how important is location? Would you ever move for the sake of your budget or cost of living… to get ahead financially? I find this topic so interesting! That is not at all why we purchased a home and renovated in Ohio, but somehow it worked out that way. The cost of living is definitely more affordable in the midwest.
Over the summer, we transformed our house into a “smart home” and upgraded our fire & carbon monoxide detectors throughout. We got a Vivint security system (smart doorbell, cameras, command center, smart locks & garage doors, motion sensors… the whole deal), a dog cam, updated some of our lighting, synced everything with our existing tech, and Emmett even added a trail cam to a game trail that runs behind our shed to keep tabs on the population of deer that live in our yard (just because they’re fun to watch). I thought it might be helpful to dedicate an entire post to how and why we did some of these things. To be honest, the biggest reason was the need to feel safe and secure in our home after a break-in this summer (I kind of buried that tidbit in a post last week). Would you be interested to hear more about our smart home and security efforts? I’m not a techy person, but I can honestly say- I’ve loved having peace of mind, a more efficient home, and so many of these tools have come in really handy.
On a totally unrelated note, ’tis the season for pumpkin bruschetta! This is one of my favorite fall toast recipes… you can’t go wrong with goat cheese, arugula, and roasted pumpkin- AND there are cinnamon toasted almonds. Speaking of fall food- we’ve already made three batches of mookies!
We have been working hard on the office building we’re renting. If you follow Jenny, it’s not nearly as styled and beautiful as the Juniper offices because we’re not renovating, but it has still been a fun passion project. It was previously inhabited by an office full of construction men in the concrete industry, so it took me a solid two weeks to clean everything to my standard. We’ve been painting and are going to replace the small kitchenette next month (which will be SO beautiful), but since we don’t own the space- we’re trying to make smart investments that aren’t too expensive (spoiler alert- I color blocked a hallway again). I’m *almost* ready to share it with you! I honestly don’t know what has been stopping me. Timing? Fear of failure? The fact that it is outside of our home? The social media environment right now? I also thought waiting until after our big announcement in a couple weeks would make the most sense (although many of you have already guessed why we need an office space to begin with). Regardless of timing and circumstances- I’m finally feeling excited (I’m the worst at keeping secrets!), and all of these projects we are juggling have me inspired and optimistic for the future.
I’m not sure if you noticed, but I was in a funk there for a bit. With the weight of this year and things going on in our personal life, social media felt like a tough place to be. I’ll admit, it took me a minute to bounce back and feel creative and open again. I’m happy to report, I finally found my positive energy and gumption again. I always come back to this… my passion is good design, creating unique spaces that are well-curated, sharing educational design tidbits, inspiring thoughtful homes, and reminding people that home should be the happiest place of all. I’m not sure why I was in such a funk or felt pressure to “keep up” with ever evolving social media (reels, IGTV, analytics, tiktok, so many things!), but I was certainly in my head feeling overwhelmed, which made me forget about the fun. I had an honest conversation with Emmett that determined what we knew all along- fast DIY projects and spending hours on media production is just not our thing. That doesn’t feel like us and it’s not something we enjoy doing. We do things in our own time, we strive for quality, thoughtful design, and craftsmanship…. and the things that are worth sharing can be done in an authentic way that still feels fun for me to connect (not in an overly produced or calculated way for a media algorithm). I just wanted to be honest if you noticed my absence on social channels lately. We’ve had a LOT going on, but I finally figured out how I want to move forward… in a simple (yet beautiful and raw) way that feels true to myself. I’m throwing the “rules” out the window, friends! I’m actually feeling more myself than ever and have so many things to share with you in the coming months. You all know what I’m about and I’m pretty sure that’s why you’re here anyway- renovating, good design, and heartfelt conversations with true friends. Thanks for giving me some grace these past couple months to figure it out and clear my head!
Onto five of my most recent purchases….
- steven gambrel’s perspective book // I’m on a major design book kick… this one has been on my “must buy” list for awhile now.
- cc cream / spf 50 sunscreen // I hardly ever wear makeup, but wanted to look a bit more put together during the week, so I subbed my standard sunscreen for this CC cream with SPF 50. It blends beautifully and makes my skin look surprisingly smooth, even, and natural (without actually having to put on makeup).
- marigold sweater // You know I live in my mustard colored chenille sweater from a couple years ago…. well, I bought another very similar one- this time in a pretty marigold color. These are the most comfortable sweaters!
- shoe rack organizers // Every single closet in our home lacks one thing- shoe storage. Why is there no place for shoes?! Who designed these closets? I have so many questions, but after almost two years living here, I finally did something about it and bought shoe racks. I got 4 for my closet and 3 for Emmett’s, and I’ve never been happier.
- mini busts // These were a total impulse purchase, but they’re so cool! I love the miniature scale and can’t wait to style them when they arrive in the mail!
Who wants to predict the 2021 Sherwin-Williams paint color of the year?! I don’t have special intel or know what it is yet (pinky promise). Last year, I partnered with them to announce the 2020 color of the year, Naval… as seen in our basement makeover. Based on my friend Shavonda’s black & white Instagram post, I know it’s a dark, moody looking color. We’ve been seeing a bunch of rust, merlot, and burnt sienna hues lately (Carmeon’s guest room, Julia’s music room, and Gwen’s library), but I don’t think they’ll choose something in that warm color family because Cavern Clay was the 2019 color of the year (I helped them debut that color here). My best prediction is a green, which is probably wishful thinking because you know that’s my favorite! What do you think? Any color guesses?
Did you take the virtual tour of the San Francisco Decorator Show House? I was underwhelmed this year. As expected, there were some beautiful moments, but there was nothing notable that really wowed me. I’ve actually been finding TONS of inspiration in design books lately. That’s right- I’m getting back to my print design roots and purchased 12+ new design and decor books that have been giving me creative life. I’m working on a big roundup of my favorites, but seeing so many pretty spaces on paper has me more inspired than anything on the internet right now. What has been inspiring you lately?
I’ve been following Ashley for a few years now, but wanted to share her blog with you. I love the way she presents living well and the art of home in a simple, editorial way. It feels very approachable, yet fashion forward. She has a great design eye, too!
Is anyone reading anything good right now? I feel like I travelled back in time to my days of reading teenage fiction novels. My youngest brother, who is an English lit grad student in Michigan, mailed me The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes (which is the newest addition to The Hunger Games series). He has the BEST book recs and demanded I read it… based on his feedback and the Amazon reviews, I couldn’t say no. I’ll admit- it’s good. Then, Laurie Anne convinced me to order and read Midnight Sun with her… which happens to be the newest book in the Twilight series. I told ya- teen time travel.
I know this post was kind of a deep one, but thanks for sticking with me! I really am excited to catch you up on everything, and I have so many cool design posts and projects planned for the remainder of the year. Just a couple more weeks before I spill lots of details. It has kind of been a year of finding ourselves and prioritizing, right? Anyone else feel that? On the docket for tomorrow… I’m hopefully sharing our fall planters. My plan is to update our window boxes and front porch planters for the season. Emmett’s mom is coming to visit next week and I’m trying to get this place into tip top shape.