'Closet under the stairs' Makeover

Several years ago I was so absolutely fed up with this wonderfully quirky pit of 'everything we don't know what to do with, we throw in here', aka the coat closet under the stairs that I had to do SOMETHING DRASTIC. I decided to make it over into a little 'library' for the kids. A cozy little 'room' where they could go solo or huddle with each other and read or play.

Wish I had a  BEFORE 'before' pic, but this one is the in between, after it had already been a library but before we repainted.

 the 'before'

the 'before'

A couple months ago, my daughter and I changed it up a little, repainting and adding stencils on one of the walls. It was a good time to cull & organize some of our books, toys, & misc. Once in awhile it's good to take everything out of a space that seems stale or dysfunctional, and to try to re-envision its maximum potential. My daughter picked the paint colors and stencil, and even stenciled the wall herself. 

 painting in progress....

painting in progress....

I love this little space! It's full of books we love, treasured toys, and lots of personality. Not sure what I will do when they entirely outgrow it. :(


 the 'new' library!

the 'new' library!

 I added some baskets on the top shelf to contain/hide toys and look uniform

I added some baskets on the top shelf to contain/hide toys and look uniform

 i love organized shelves!

i love organized shelves!

 wool rug (found at a thrift store!)

wool rug (found at a thrift store!)

Staging a log cabin

We recently had the chance to stage a log cabin, which is a unique opportunity! This was an occupied staging, so we used a combination of the owners things, in addition to bringing in some key accessories. With the homeowner's prep work, our staging, and pro photography, we think it looked amazing!

Even better, the homeowners got an offer at the very first showing, which was the day after going on the market. Hurray for a quick sale!

Here's a great before & after, and some of our vignettes. Design is in the details!

 LR before

LR before

 LR after

LR after

 LR after

LR after


Me & the Home Show

 I spoke two times at the home show, to a wonderful audience. How fun! Pictured top Right, Jackie and I. Jackie was my right hand woman at the show.

I spoke two times at the home show, to a wonderful audience. How fun! Pictured top Right, Jackie and I. Jackie was my right hand woman at the show.

We're at the end of February...already?! Wow. It's been a whirlwind of a year so far! Last month, I spoke at the Indianapolis Home Show about Home Staging and it was a great push out of the comfort zone for this introvert! I hope the audience came away with some good info, which is always my goal, to share what I know. And there is SO MUCH TO KNOW. If you're in a job that requires constant learning and technique refinement, and/or running a business, I'm sure you agree. I was telling a friend the other day that every day I feel like I'm in school. My daughter was complaining about school recently and said 'you don't know what it's like!' Oh yes, yes, I do. 

With the spring selling market about to hit, NOW is the time to get properties ready to list. And that is ever so important with a vacant house. Or with a house where the furniture, accessories, and/or colors should be updated . Yes, it takes work. Yes, it takes money. But what is going to get buyers in the door to fall in love? Do the work so you don't have to do the price reduction and sit on the market for longer than you should. Get the return that you should on your house (or your clients house).

home show pics2.jpg

If you'd like to book a staging consultation, click here: https://www.cachet317.com/staging-questionnaire/. For info about services & pricing, click here.

Happy Spring!!

Shelves with Style - make your shelves shine

I love to style shelves, who’s with me? Anyone? Maybe not, but that’s ok. With some ideas about things to try, it may be fun. And of course I have some thoughts about styling shelves. First off, let’s talk about bookshelves. The term itself is a misnomer because it’s taken so literally. Bookshelves shouldn’t just hold books (unless it’s a library). Rows of shelves filled only with books tend to be too busy, feel cluttered, and not be terribly interesting to look at. So, let’s check out some rules of thumb to switch things up.

1.     Break up the bunches of books with two things: meaningful & interesting objects, and empty space. Yep, don’t underestimate having empty space. It gives the eye a chance to rest and space to breathe. Not filling every bit with ‘stuff’ is very important, and when other good things come into your life you’ll be able to more easily make space for them.

 via apartment therapy

via apartment therapy

2.     See if it makes sense to paint or line the back of your shelves with a bold color or pattern, whether fabric, contact paper or wallpaper. This adds interest and also helps provide a beautiful backdrop for your books & objects. Plus, it helps you keep items on the more minimal side, since you won’t want to cover up all of the wall or back of the bookshelf. You might check out Devine removable wallpaper at Target.

3.     Play with your book and object placement. You’re not limited to the standard upright placement – try placing some the standard way, and also in a horizontal stack (which is great to display smaller objects on top), or even place some backwards with the spines facing the wall for a different look. Try layering objects, like placing a larger piece of artwork propped up in back with a plant in front.

built-ins and shelves.png

4.     Try the Rule of Thirds – 1/3 books, 1/3 decorative objects, and 1/3 empty space. Try it! And PS – if you try this and like your pared down shelves, shoot me a photo. I’d love to see!

Interior Trends this year...plus what I don't miss from years past!

I love seeing what’s trending in the Interior Design world, but don’t get me wrong: I don’t like to blindly follow trends, like fashion, I like what I like. But I love that most of what I am seeing is appealing to my aesthetic. Here’s my faves:

Quartz counters in favor of granite: YES. I’m so over granite. Most granite is ugly, frankly. Give me this clean, pretty quartz any day. And white subway tiles in a classic offset pattern. YES.

quartz counters ten june blog.png

Velvet. Oh, I love velvet! It’s so dreamy. A velvet chair, a velvet sofa, velvet down pillows, or velvet drapes even! So happy to see velvet everywhere. This photo is from a booth at the Indianapolis Home Show last week, but unfortunately I am forgetting which booth it was. So pretty!

velvet chair.jpg

Copper & matte brass. These metals are hot, and oil rubbed bronze is still going strong. Satin Nickel is good too. Shiny brass and chrome, not so much. Go ahead and mix metals (within reason!) too.

Darker wall colors. I still think you can’t go wrong with white (the right shade of white!) and grays (no beige, please!) but I am also liking the darker wall colors, that feel so cozy. Here’s Oceanside by Sherwin Williams, via Apartment Therapy:

oceanside SW apartment therapy.png

Less. Just less! More people are embracing minimalism, which is basically a path of being mindful about what you own and letting go of what doesn’t serve you. And it’s not just about STUFF. What habits are/aren’t working? What activities and groups and hobbies? What gives you life, as my kids say? I really like that we’re seeing simpler lines, less fussiness, and a thoughtfulness about how we can design our living and work spaces to support us in our lives and goals. I like it when people maximize their space with good design & organizing solutions, instead of buying a huge house with tons of space. I find those smaller, super functional homes much more inspiring and lovely!


Now, whenever I watch TV shows I pay lots of attention to the set. I can’t help it…and I’ve been on a Newhart binge (Season 1 only…unfortunately the other seasons don’t seem to be on Netflix or Hulu?!)  So when I couldn’t find more shows, I watched one episode of the Bob Newhart Show and I just can’t get over the ‘look’ of the set. This was the 70’s. And into the 80’s. SO. MUCH. PANELING. SO. MUCH. BROWN. SO. MUCH. NOPE. Ha! Good riddance, brown paneling, brown curtains, brown upholstery, and any décor that should remain in the 70’s…I hope none of these past trends circle back anytime soon, or ever. Sorry, Bob


Indianapolis Home Show

It's here! I love, love, love the Indianapolis Home Show, and I'm so excited to be able to be involved this year as a speaker. I'll be speaking about Staging, and appearing Monday and Tuesday Jan. 22 and 23rd. Come out and see all the good stuff! I'm looking forward to seeing the Tiny Homes exhibit, myself.

Also, I have a few free tickets left! Contact me if you'd like one!

indianapolis home staging


Stage It Before You Sell It

Krista Bocko of Cachet 317 shows sellers how to make their homes sing

Looking to sell your home? Get tips on how to present your house in its best light from Krista Bocko of Cachet 317, a professional home staging company, at the 2018 Indianapolis Home Show.

Bocko works with homeowners and realtors to get their properties ready to sell. It can be as simple as helping them “edit” their furniture to a bare minimum, rearranging the design completely or bringing in temporary furnishings to maximize the flow of a bare space. In most cases, they work with existing furniture and help choose paint colors, art and accessories, as well as organizing spaces to look their tidiest.

“We stage to present the home in its best light. Buyers want to see the space, the architecture, the features. We want people to see the square footage, uncluttered with nice updated colors,” Bocko said.

“If you’ve been in your home a long time, you tend not to see those things a buyer’s eye will pick up. So we come in to help because we know what buyers want to see.”

In this age of Pinterest and HGTV, buyers are savvier than ever about how a home should look when it’s for sale, she added. A well-staged house will usually sell faster, and for a higher price, than one that looks lived-in. Most buyers, particularly younger ones, are not looking for a fixer-upper.

“As a seller, you want to sell quickly. It’s painful to have your house on the market and keep it looking perfect for showing. So we give tips on how to make your home its most desirable,” Bocko said.

During her stage presentation, Bocko will talk about the things that are currently trending in the housing market. The desire for white kitchen cabinets is still prevalent, but a new look is to have different colors for the upper and lower cabinets. Walls should have neutral colors – white, cream or light gray – and there should be large pieces of artwork, mixed metals and plants.

Light colors are a must for bedding and bath towels, and updated hardware with a matte-style brass is hot right now. Granite countertops are giving way to less busy patterns in the kitchen, with subway tile very popular these days.

“Staging is one part of the puzzle. It also depends on the real estate market and how it’s cycling, and partnering with your agent to make sure you house is priced right. You want to do everything so your house can be competitive in the market,” Bocko said.

“Many people think of the Indy Home Show as a place to find great stuff to buy or visit the Centerpiece Home. But we’re also proud to present experts like Krista Bocko with practical advice they can use, whether they’re buying a home, selling one or just looking to make the home they have be more beautiful and functional,” Indianapolis Home Show Manager Laura Groninger said.

Krista Bocko, owner of Cachet 317, will appear at the 2018 Indianapolis Home Show on Jan. 22-23.

The Indianapolis Home Show is open Fridays, Jan. 19 and Jan. 26, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturdays, Jan. 20 and Jan. 27, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sundays, Jan. 21 and Jan. 28, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Monday-Thursday, Jan. 22-25, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 317.705.8719 or visit the Indianapolis Home Show website at www.IndianapolisHomeShow.com. Make sure to go online and save!


It's a New Year! 3 quick ways to free up space

I love a fresh, new year. There’s something special about these long winter nights, where life’s rhythm changes a bit. They make me want to do some purging and organizing and get life in order. It’s the perfect time, too, since after the holidays my house can sure use a re-set and I feel like I’m ready for the New Year.

1.     Re-organize kitchen cabinets. Yeah, it sounds like a dreary chore, but I am always glad when I do this. Gather like items with like (ie-all baking dishes and pans, all kitchen tools and utensils, all pots and pans, glassware, etc). Consider whether you need or use all of them and if it makes sense to keep all of it. You may be surprised, once you see everything together, how much of it there is. What can you live without? With your items it’s helpful to ask yourself, ‘would I buy this again?’ or ‘if I moved, would I want this enough to pack and move it?’ If items don’t pass the test, they go in the donate pile. Even if you don’t donate a thing, just getting it stacked neatly and put away will free up so much space. And if you have duplicates, this may be a good time to let go of one of them. For a long time, I had two bread machines, only because they were garage sale finds, but they weren’t worth the space they took up.

2.     Take consumables out of their original packaging. I love to do this in my pantry with dry goods like rice, beans, flour, sugar and so on, and I put them in a variety of jars which look so much better. And in bathrooms, rolls of toilet paper go into baskets, which is infinitely better than being in the plastic wrapping (same with paper towels in the kitchen).

 Image via pinterest

Image via pinterest

3.     Go through bookshelves. I love, love, love books, and there are many that I won’t part with, but at the same time, my kids acquire many books that they read and are done with, so I pass them on to the library book sale. (I’m a nerd - styling bookshelves is one of my favorite things to do.)

 It’s a great feeling to have everything in its place and free up space for new, good things to come into your life. Happy 2018!

Seven tips when selling during the holidays

 image via www.ecstacycoffee.com    

image via www.ecstacycoffee.com 


It’s no secret that the real estate market has been hot, hot, hot.  we’re entering the holidays when buying and selling typically slows down, if your home is going on the market there’s good news! Buyers looking now are serious, and because there will likely be even fewer properties on the market, you’ll have less competition. But you may wonder how best to showcase your house to sell while still being able to enjoy the season. I’ve compiled a little list of tips that will appeal to most buyers (and sellers) and will help you showcase your house in its best light.


1.     Keep raking and sweeping those leaves off lawns, drives and sidewalks as much as possible. And when the snow flies, of course you’ll want to keep sidewalks and steps (and driveways) shoveled and salted. And it should go without saying, but once December hits, remove pumpkins, gourds, and fall décor.

2.     Do a serious purge of stuff. It’s a natural season to purge, anyway, but especially when selling. There’s nothing like the thought of going through the hassle of packing, moving & unpacking stuff to make one consider whether they really, truly NEED such-and-such. Only you can decide what’s worth keeping, but…be somewhat ruthless.

3.     If you normally decorate like Clark Griswold, scale way back. No yard inflatables, please!  Warm white lights inside and out are ideal – they look great and inviting and timeless.

4.     Simplify your usual colorful red & green décor and perhaps your collected hodge podge of Christmas ornaments. You don’t need to deck ALL the halls, but do go for trying to highlight your home’s best features. Consider using a more neutral color palette for a sophisticated look. Think silver, gold, white, and maybe an icy blue.

5.     If you’re about to list, wait until after the professional photos are taken to decorate. This way your holiday decorations aren’t distracting from your house, and if the house is still on the market after Christmas, the photos don’t look ‘dated.’

6.     Bring out the cozy blankets, the velvet or chenille pillow covers, the warm textiles to add to seating and beds. This makes a room feel extra cozy in the cold months.

7.     Check with your Realtor to see if you can ‘block out’ some dates, within reason, so that you don’t have to worry about showings and can relax with your family and enjoy the season for a minute.




Stumped with your room?

Who doesn’t have a room they struggle with, in some way or another? I know I do. It could be a room where you like your furnishings ‘just fine’, but something is off. Maybe the way the furniture is arranged doesn’t work. Maybe you have a room you just kind of ignore, because it doesn’t feel functional or enjoyable to be in at all.

If you’re in this boat, I have good news! One technique you can use is to take photos of the room from different angles and look at them critically. What this does is help you take the room in context, as a whole. So many times, we’re in the room all the time and ‘can’t see the forest for the trees,’ so seeing the room through a photo makes it easier to pinpoint what is and isn’t working. If you didn’t realize it before, you could be able to see that you have way too much furniture, or that the artwork is too high and too spread out, or those bookcases are way too cluttered. Your furniture might be too spread out, in which case bringing it closer together and arranging it differently could change the whole look and feel.

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Don’t forget the power of accessories. Accessories are any décor or functional items – think lighting, artwork, throw pillows, blankets, books, plants, decorative objects. It’s hard to imagine that they can really make that much of a difference, but they do. I worked on a house recently and documented the progress through photos of the living room, which went from empty, to having furniture, to the added accessories. Those finishing touches really made the room sparkle!

And speaking of photos, it’s very fun to keep a photo diary of the changes you make. I look back at photos of my personal room changes, and whoa. I’m happy to say things look far better than before as I’ve taken my time and figured out what works best for my house and family. It’s a good reminder that progress comes slowly sometimes. Sometimes we need the right wall color, the right furniture and accessories, a new idea for a layout that we hadn’t considered, and an open mind to new possibilities.





Granite - In or Out?


Is the granite kitchen countertop trend on the way out? I have to confess, I was never aware of the complete takeover granite held on kitchen countertops until the last three years. I mainly wasn’t aware because I have never really cared for the busy, highly glossed look of those sleek slabs and couldn’t ever fathom doing that in my own kitchen, although there is a type of granite that I really like, and I’ll get to that in a second.

So why did granite become so ubiquitous in kitchens anyway, and in the years since it’s popularity peak, how many people daily are googling ‘how to cover ugly granite countertops?’ in order to try to live with their counters another day? After all, it’s a hard rock that isn’t very well going to wear out anytime soon and is 1) pricey to install and 2) pricey to replace. Well, that’s a topic for another day, but let’s take a look at what’s in, if in fact granite is out.

I visited a kitchen & bath store last week to look at countertop samples. The samples taking up the prime real estate at the front of the store were quartz, and probably some quartzite. And most of them were very, very pretty. Of course, there were a few trendy ‘out there’ ones too. Some were even marble-like (hint: marble is gorgeous and timeless and I love it, but be very aware of its limitations before deciding on it for your kitchen.) If you don’t know what quartz is, it’s an engineered stone created with quartz and resin. And then there’s also quartzite, which is naturally occurring stone. Its color usually ranges from white to gray, and therefore it appears marble like.

Then I asked the designer at the K&B store about the popularity of granite, and she confirmed my hunch that the trend is definitely toward more subtle and timeless counter looks—a definite sign we’re moving away from the crazy busy granite we’ve seen for two decades. Which leads me to my favorite granite look—honed black granite. If you haven’t seen it, it’s like soapstone (another fave). It’s pretty and a look that will stand the test of time.

Help! I can't stand my living room

       This is an example of a living room that has potential, but lack a good aesthetic.

      This is an example of a living room that has potential, but lack a good aesthetic.

It could be any room in your house. Or multiple rooms. It’s such a common dilemma, so let’s break down how you can start to take steps to start to love it, or at least not hate it with the passion of a thousand fiery suns as the case may be (and I do hope that’s not the case).

Step 1 is letting go of the notion that décor is ultimately frivolous and you shouldn’t really even concern yourself with how your space looks, functions, and makes you feel. That your environment doesn’t even really matter. But it does. My personal house goals are to make my house feel good to be in and to align with my aesthetic, and so when I’m in it I’m comfortable and I thoroughly enjoy the happiness I get from it. I know it makes me feel better to be in a space that I love and that makes me feel good.

                 Here's a living room that balances comfort, aesthetics, and a cozy feeling.

                Here's a living room that balances comfort, aesthetics, and a cozy feeling.

Step 2 is writing down what you DO like about the room, whether it’s furniture, architectural features, paint color or décor, and what it is that is making you hate the room. Make a list of each, which leads to…

Step 3. List what you ideally want to add/change, and even a budget and a timeline. This is important, because otherwise it’s way too easy to just let time go by and not do anything to move you forward in achieving a more likable space. So set some goals and a timeline. Having a timeline helps you to take action, plan, and make the changes you need to.

Step 4 is to decide what to do first. Paint is usually the easiest way to update, so for many people that’s where they start. Paint can come with its own pitfalls though, so check out this blog post for some paint tips. Coming up with a to-do list and phases for your room is helpful, especially if you’re doing a more extensive room update, like replacing flooring. Speaking of phases, it’s also fine and even preferable to go slow and let the room come together over time, with thoughtfulness and intention.

Step 5 is to try to enjoy the journey your house can lead you on. You know your house, yourself, and your family better than anyone, and it is so rewarding to find that alignment of truly enjoying the space you inhabit.



                                                       image via theinspiredroom.net

                                                      image via theinspiredroom.net

When Less is More - The Art of Small Space Living

I went to a lovely workshop recently at the Indiana Design Center about small space living. The presenter had downsized into an apartment roughly half the size of her former home and gave great ideas on how to maximize function and have a beautiful space. I’m hearing about so many people who want to have less—less stuff, less maintenance, less to organize and clean, and less to pay for. And then in turn having more time, more freedom and flexibility, more money and more joy.  So here are my takeaways from the designers talk, and they really speak to me as I am always trying to improve my own space.

1.     The biggest challenge is storage, so get creative. In the bathroom, use a medicine cabinet to hold daily toiletries, and use shelves and brackets installed over the toilet to store additional items in covered baskets (which can also be stacked). Go vertical for storage wherever possible. The shelf and brackets also work well over doors for lesser used storage.

2.     Edit, edit, edit. Limited space means there’s a natural, external limit placed on what you can allow in to your home. This is wonderful! It forces you to really consider each and every purchase. Do I need this? Do I have space for it? Is it going to improve my life enough to justify owning and storing it?

3.     Start with Art. This designer loves art and uses it as the basis for her home design. I can’t say that I have done that but it’s intriguing. If you have art that you love, really make it a focal point and draw your palette from it.

4.     Too much color, pattern, and general ‘busy-ness’ in furnishings weighs you down. Using less can really create a beautiful, soothing backdrop for your ‘less is more’ life. 


 Extra shelving and 'going vertical' is one way to enhance small spaces.

Extra shelving and 'going vertical' is one way to enhance small spaces.

Quick Tip to transform inside of cabinet doors

Now that we’re deep into Spring, I’m turning almost all of my attention to outside house ‘stuff.’ For me—and I live in a super old house—that includes lots of house maintenance which isn’t always very glamourous or fun. However, I’m still always tweaking things on the inside here and there and trying to make the most of the limited space. I love the challenge (most of the time).

            So here’s a project I want to share today that has been awesome in my kitchen: chalkboard contact paper. I have painted a chalkboard on the side of my pantry, but this contact paper is the stuff to use if you want a less messy, smaller scale solution to paint and chalk dust. I use the contact paper on the INSIDE some of my cabinet doors. I love this because 1) it’s ‘hidden’, so while it’s extremely functional, it doesn’t add any visual clutter when the doors are closed, 2) the contact paper is easy to apply and remove so even if you rent, it’s a great solution, 3) it’s a great way to keep often used recipes, favorite quotes or sayings, phone numbers, or other miscellaneous info in the same spot to refer to again and again.

            Here’s how: buy a roll of chalkboard contact paper and a chalk pen from the craft store. You could use regular chalk to write on your chalkboard paper, but you definitely want the chalk pen! It writes like a marker, doesn’t smudge easily or create chalk dust, and it washes off with a damp cloth. Use a straight edge and an Xacto knife to make clean cuts and apply. You might find it helpful to use a credit card or a squeegee to smooth out any air bubbles. Bonus: I also use small squares of the paper as pantry jar labels.

So easy. And because I’m impatient and want to see a quick transformation, I love the instant gratification of this project. 

My Top 5 Paint Tips

Something about spring makes me want to change things up, including paint colors. If you’re in the same boat and thinking of the same in your home, I have a few tips that I’ve found super helpful and I’m sharing them in case they help you, too.

  1. Test your paint color. Test, test, test! Buy a sample jar of the color you’re thinking of for $4 and some poster board. Paint the poster board, leaving a strip of white on one or two edges. Place on the wall in different areas of the room and see how it looks in different lights. Not only can you move it around, but leaving 1-2 edges of white will help visually separate the color you’re testing from the color already on the wall. Be sure to hold it up next to trim and other fixed elements.

  2. Pick the right finish for the space you’re painting. The paint people can help with this, but I suggest eggshell for most rooms-such as living and dining, hallways, kids rooms, etc. I have seen WAY too many flat painted walls in homes with kids, but kids or not, they look very worn very fast. Flat paint is not able to be spot cleaned well at all, plus it feels chalky and dry. I only recommend flat paint for ceilings.

  3. Invest in good tools—my fave is the 2.5 inch angled ‘shortcut’ paintbrush and those palm-sized paint rollers. I used to buy the big old paint rollers but the small ones are just perfect and so much easier to maneuver in small spaces.

  4. Consider your whole house color scheme. I mentioned this before in my decorating ‘fails,’ but I’ve made plenty of color mistakes. If you’re like me, the good news is its only paint and it can be remedied with time and effort.

  5. Finally, once you have the perfect color, write the color name, sheen, and room it was used in on the can lid in marker. Because when you amass paint cans, you WILL forget what’s what. And also, paint the color onto a paint stir stick and write where you used it. This saved me when I had to make a color match and no longer had the paint can.

I’d love to hear your tips, too. Happy Painting!

Indoor Plants - faux or no?

There’s something about greenery that graces interior spaces with their touch of beauty and alive-ness, that makes indoor plants so tempting to own. And there’s also the thing about keeping the plants alive, which strikes fear into the hearts of many. Maybe that’s dramatic, but enough poor plants have died at my hands that I gave up on having indoor plants for years. And then—fiddle leaf fig envy struck. I wanted one, and couldn’t find one. But that caused me to look at other plants, and I kind of loved some of them, so I slowly stuck my toe back in the water and bought one here, one there, and now I have 4 (real) plants that are living under my care. And, one of them is a fiddle leaf fig, which I found at Home Depot once. I even hacked a little stand for it. I love this thing.

Along the way of bringing plants into my house, I have found that there are some VERY realistic faux plants that look absolutely great. I confess, I was a faux plant snob before. You can’t blame me, considering I grew up in the era of fake ivy and ficus trees. But there are good faux plants and bad faux plants. And good ones make ALL the difference! If you feel you can’t keep a real plant alive or want to put plants in a room without much natural light, I encourage you to check out some of the options available. I have gotten some at Target, Hobby Lobby and IKEA so far. There are even faux fiddle leafs! I would like one of those too, but I’ll have to save up for it as they’re kind of spendy.

If you go from some live plants, research them and try to give them the conditions they thrive best in, as well as taking care not to over or under water them. I think this is one of the biggest mistakes. They also will likely need to be repotted, so keep that in mind too.

Here’s to plants enlivening our living spaces!


Easy DIY frame and custom artwork for $10


It’s the age old question…what do I hang on my walls and how can I add artwork in a budget friendly way? Ready made or custom frames and art is $$, which is not a bad thing, but to keep costs down we also don’t want to cheap out with ugly plastic frames and mass-produced art. That doesn’t really add beauty or value to our lives, and since that’s the whole point, let’s figure out a way to achieve a great, custom look on a shoestring.Here’s what I’ve done: I had a collection of kids paintings that I took to the copy shop to have re-sized and copied in black and white, pictured above. Two of the paintings were in color and I wanted them all black and white and the correct size for the frames. The oversized copies (called engineering prints) are cheap—less than a couple dollars each.At this point, I framed them in a collection of wood frames I already had. I painted them all black for a cohesive look, but you can also easily make your own custom frames. And voila, a great way to display unique art in a casual and accessible way.  

Here's our latest project--I took a small piece of artwork and blew it up and framed it for the artists' room. 


Frame DIY:

8’ piece of 1 by 2 wood

4 flat corner braces or mending plates

Flat tacks


Paint or stain, optional


Step 1: Get an engineering print made of the artwork you wish to frame. I go to Staples, and they now offer color engineering prints! They go up to 24 by 36 I think, but I had the smallest size made (still big—18 by 24 maybe?)

Step 2: Have the hardware store cut your wood to size, or cut it yourself once you know the dimensions. Paint or stain the pieces, if desired.

Step 3: Create your frame using either mending plates or flat corner braces. They can either be on the front or back— I chose brass corner braces and decided to put them on the front for added interest.

Step 4: Flip the frame over and attach the print to the back of the frame with flat tacks or tape. Attach a picture hanger or wire.

Step 5: Hang and admire.


Cost breakdown:

8’ piece of wood: $5.50

4 flat corner braces: $2.40

Color engineering print: $3.00

Paint and tacks—had these on hand

Be Picky - it's the key to your perfect space

I’ve never thought of myself as a picky person—that equates to high maintenance, which I definitely am not. But when it comes to how my house looks and functions, yes, actually I am. And that’s okay. I want my house work hard for my family and be a beautiful place to spend time. Our lives are always changing and our home should be, too.


Many people are frustrated with their homes’ décor and furniture, but they don’t know exactly why or how to ‘fix’ it. If you have a room in your house that you don’t like—maybe it’s an awkward furniture layout or a room that just seems to fall flat, I would first look critically at every piece in the room and ask yourself, ‘do I really like this?’ and also, how does the piece relate to everything else around it? Many rooms suffer from what I call ‘matchy-matchy’ syndrome*, and when you grow tired of the look you pretty much hate the entire room. If that’s the case, consider a cosmetic change or that it may be time to break up and find something more ‘you’.


There’s no rule that says you can’t remove/change matching set pieces that just don’t do it for you, because here’s the thing: your home should be a carefully curated and thoughtful space created with things that you love. I consider myself an ‘editor’ in my own house: I edit out what I don’t want, and add in what I do want. I’m always changing, and sometimes pieces I previously liked just don’t work for me or my family anymore. Out they go to make space for pieces that I do need to come into my life.


* By ‘matchy-matchy,’ I don’t mean a pair of matching armchairs, or lamps, or a set of dining room chairs or the like, I mean entire rooms of matching furniture. What makes a space interesting and alive is the look of being collected over time and with intention, and it takes patience to find the right pieces. I’d love to know—what spaces in your home are bugging you & how can you ‘edit’ them?

3 Steps to a Mudroom Makeover

Right about this time of year I start dreaming of indoor projects I can tackle to make my home better. One of the most challenging spaces we all deal with is the entry to our homes. What to do with all of the utilitarian ‘stuff’ that can look hideous dumped at the door, not to mention the space looking remotely pulled together, considering it’s basically an open closet. I’m up for a challenge though, how about you?

Here are 3 ideas you can use right now to make your space a little more beautiful and more functional. First, and I’m not counting this in my 3 tips, partly because it should be a consideration in ANY room you want to change, is to revisit your paint color. Do you need a just some paint touchups, or another color altogether? I love some classic neutrals for an (almost) instant, inexpensive change that is timeless.

1. Install coat hooks for coats, backpacks, purses, etc. My personal favorite, relatively easy update is a board and batten wall with the coat hooks installed in the boards. Such a classic look that will elevate your coats and kids’ backpacks for sure. Paint it white!

2.  Add a big, colorful area rug. Many times people throw down a small rug the size of a hand towel at their door, but go bigger with a rug that’s at least 2 by 3 feet (3 by 5 feet if space allows). This larger size really makes your space feel substantial, as well as protects your floor from wet and muddy shoes.

3. Add simple bench seating with large baskets and/or boot trays underneath. Even if you only have a small wall in which to put your ‘mudroom’, it’s doable. And you can even create a mudroom in your garage! Never underestimate how a smart, functional, well thought out space can make you feel and function.