Choosing our Exterior Paint Color

Choosing paint colors can be tricky. It's one of the most frequent topics I am asked about. Choosing exterior paint colors can be even trickier as colors will often look very different on the front, back and sides of your home depending on which direction your house faces and where sun and shade are. Finding a paint color that looks good on all sides, in all lighting, during the day and at night can be overwhelming. 

My biggest advice is to test, test, test. Never go by the that little paper swatch and even if you've used the color before in a different space it doesn't mean it will work somewhere else. I always recommend painting a decent size swatch (12' x 12" at least) on all 4 walls of an interior room or on front, back and side of your exterior. 

Watch the swatches for a few days and check how the color looks at different times of day. Light makes such a difference in how paint colors appear and you want to find a color that you love during the day and at night equally. 

On to our house...

Our home was built in 1968 and is a mix of brick and wood. I know painting brick is a controversial subject, but I LOVE painted brick. Especially if your brick is like mine - a gross yellow-y brown with pink mortar. WHY WOULD ANYONE USE PINK MORTAR?! It is beyond me, but my house is proof that it happened. 


When I see this picture from the original real estate listing, I have a hard time remembering why in the world we even went to see it. It's a little bit (OK, A LOT) of an ugly duckling I know, but it seriously has some great bones. We saw so much potential and we knew we could make it amazing. So I know you might be cringing right now, but just wait till we finish this exterior makeover. 

Below are the current paint swatches we are deciding between.


1 / Custom color I mixed and used on our last home's exterior

2 / Benjamin Moore Black Iron

3 / A mix of 1 and 2

4 / A slightly darker mix of 1 and 2 

It's really hard to tell between 3 and 4 in this picture, but in person you can definitely see that 4 is darker. I really like 3 and 4 and I think one of those is our winner. I'm going to let it marinate for a few more days before I fully decide.

If you follow me on Instagram, I posted the easy process of mixing your own color to get the perfect shade in my stories. I may try to figure out how to put the stories all together in one video and post it here (we'll see....I'm not the most tech savvy).  

Which one is your favorite? 1, 2, 3 or 4? I'd love to hear your thoughts! 


|Before & After| English Village Project: Round 2 - Master Bedroom


In my last post I revealed the new formal living room and sun room from my English Village project. Today, I am revealing the master bedroom! This room is HUGE! Which sounds great and it is in many ways, but it can also create some design challenges. There were so many big spaces and empty corners to fill and our goal was to fill them without making the space look cluttered and over done.

I'm really happy with how it all came together and how we balanced the layout without adding too much. It's also worth noting that even though the before and after is dramatic we really only added a few new furniture pieces. We kept the same bed and the bedside tables. The chairs in the seating area were previously downstairs in the living room so we didn't even have to buy those. We mainly relied on lots of good accessories (vintage moroccan rug, sconces, new drapes, beautiful bedding, and white oak bench) to add pattern and texture and really transform this space.   

Here we go:

Before... A little dark and heavy


After....Same bed. Same bedside tables. We lightened things up by getting rid of the heavy lamps and the large, dark recliner that was in the corner. Adding the moroccan rug really lightens up the floor and brings in a fun pattern. And obviously, beautiful bedding makes a big difference!


Sources: Leather chair: Barnaby Lane / Rug: Drift Home Collection / Lumbar Pillow: My Haven Home / Bench: Rejuvenation my clients defense her husband is the one with the clothes hoarding/piling problem :) So we stole his giant recliner and sofa so he could no longer pile. Kidding. Sort of. We actually moved that sofa down to the sunroom and it fit perfectly in front of the sunroom window. And we moved his recliner to his man cave.  


After.....As I mentioned, we brought these chairs up from the living room and I really like how they create seating without blocking the window like the sofa did previously. We replaced those very heavy iron floor lamps with a more delicate brass lamp. We kept the bamboo shades because they add great texture, but we also added a beautiful ivory linen drape to soften the room and to frame the seating area. And a little pop of indigo is always a good thing!


Sources: Drapes: Loom Decor / Pillows: My Haven Home / Side Table: Crate & Barrel 

Before....this area was begging for something. We went back and forth on whether to add shelving, a large mirror, a great piece of many options.


After......While we were sourcing chairs for the living room we came across this great woven leather chair from Barnaby and we knew it would be perfect next to that window. We added the ladder for height and visual interest. The walnut wall hooks were a last minute find from an artisan in Slovenia. I begged him to rush them to me which he very nicely did. 


Sources: Ladder: Crate & Barrel / Turkish Towel: Burkleman /  Walnut Hooks: Raw Originals 

A few more photos of the details.....


I love this linocut art. I found it on Etsy


Sources: African woven bowl: Local and Lejos 


Interior Design: ADID Studio

Photography credit: Graham Yelton


|Before & After| English Village Project: Round 2 - Living Room & Sun Room!


It's been a little while for this poor, neglected blog. I'm hoping to change that and post here more regularly - I just need about 12 more hours in the day! 

I started working on this beautiful 1920's tudor in English Village almost a year ago. We started with the kitchen and two bathrooms. And after we completed those in December,  the client asked me to continue with her formal living room, sun room & master bedroom. 

The living room & sunroom both have beautiful windows and a lot of natural light, but the dark wood floors and the overcrowding from too many pieces of furniture made it feel a little heavy and dark. Our goal was to make it feel lighter, a little more casual and a little more modern.

| Living Room Before |


| Living Room After |


And we can't forget the sunroom!

| Sunroom Before |

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 | Sunroom After |


Much improved, don't you think? I really love the way these spaces came together. We minimized the amount of furniture so the room could breath, and we softened the vibe by bringing in layered rugs, lots of vintage textiles, lighter wood and beautiful leather accents. 

Next up.....the master bedroom transformation!

Photos by: Graham Yelton

|Before & After| English Village Project: Kitchen

I'm sad this project is over because these clients were really fun to work with! They were laid back and easy to please and really trusted my vision for their space. This project started out as a tiny powder bath & a small kitchen facelift. It turned in to more of a major kitchen facelift and half way through, the clients decided to add in their master bath and their outdoor patio space as well. I'm so pleased with how each space turned out! I'll stick to the kitchen here and share the other spaces in a separate post. 

First.....the before:


This kitchen design was only five years old, but the clients really wanted something different. The mirrored backsplash and the stainless steel shelving and accent wall made the space feel cold. The space doesn't get much natural light so one million recessed lights had been added to offset this, but it was too many and added a harsh, unflattering light. The clients wanted to make the kitchen feel more warm and inviting and I definitely think we accomplished that!!

The afters:

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My plan for the space was to brighten it up, but also bring in warmth and depth. We removed many of the recessed lights and instead brought in pendants over the island and sconces over the sink that brought a soft, more flattering light. We added depth by painting the lower cabinets a beautiful, deep navy/charcoal color. For warmth, we selected handmade tile in a warm white in place of the mirrored backsplash and stainless steel insert above the cooktop. We repeated that same tile on the opposite wall from counter to ceiling to add visual interest. We replaced all the stainless steel shelving with floating wood shelves and we switched out the satin nickel hardware with warm brass. Leather barstools for the island and a vintage turkish runner with hints of coral and navy were the perfect accessories to finish out the space.  

There were no layout changes, major construction or demo, but the transformation is pretty dramatic!

Stay tuned for the bathrooms and outdoor spaces next!

|Before & After| My Kitchen!

I finally got the professional photos back of my house and I am so excited to share with you guys! There are a lot of pictures so I'm going to divide the spaces up into separate posts. We'll start with the kitchen. 

My husband and I knew this was our house the minute we pulled up, before we even set foot inside. We just had that feeling. When we walked in it was full of yellow walls, a mint green bathroom, a lot of wood paneling, light switch plates with brass eagles (not making that up) and an astroturf garage! But I saw the potential and I knew we could make it amazing. 

So first, the before kitchen pictures. 

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And the after:


I'm still shocked when I look back at the before pictures. I can't believe the change!

We started by removing that paneled wall between the den and kitchen to open up the space. Taking that wall down brought in so much natural light and made both spaces feel larger. Next, we demoed everything including 6 layers of flooring in the kitchen (no lie) and all the cabinets and appliances. I'm so glad I went with my gut on the black cabinets even though almost everyone told me I was crazy. I LOVE them. And that backsplash - those 2x8 subway tiles are so good! They are still classic, but just different enough from the standard size. And having them Installed in a vertical pattern adds that modern twist that makes me so happy. I had a local company build my open shelves and I love the way they break up the dark cabinets and give me something to constantly re-arrange and style. 

You can't tell from the pictures, but the tall cabinets on the right side actually lead to a large walk in pantry. We stole some space from the garage to make that happen, which was my contractors genius idea. Even though it's hidden, its one of the best, most functional features of this kitchen and I'm so glad he thought of it. I plan to take some pictures and post about the pantry at some point. 

Check back soon for before & afters of the rest of the house!

Kitchen Sources: General Contractor: Lorino Construction, Cabinets: Brewer Cabinets, Tile: South Cypress, Open Shelving: Barnwood Customs, Hardware: Brandino Brass, Plumbing Fixtures: Fixtures & Finishes, Appliances: Kitchen Aid, Sconces: Cedar & Moss.

After Photos by Ashley Lauren Studios

|Before & After| Crestwood Bath

A small bathroom can be a challenge, but it doesn't have to lack fun design. We did not have a huge budget for this project so we splurged on a few things that would make a big impact and we kept the rest very affordable.  

Previously this bathroom was a 90's wonderland of taupe and bad tile and a really scary tub with jets that spewed mildew. 

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And here is the after!

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This bathroom only has one tiny window so we lightened it up as much as possible with a bright white paint. The marble hex floor tile was the biggest splurge, but the scale was perfect for this small space and I love the color variation the marble brings. Tiling out the front of the tub and a feature wall behind the sink was another extra that wasn't necessary, but it really finishes out the space nicely. The pedestal sink, toilet, mirror and even faucet were all very affordable. We finished off the space with a great light fixture from Cedar & Moss a fun turkish rug in coral and navy for some color! 

Such a big improvement for such a little space! 


Currently Coveting: H&M Home Edition

I come across so many great pieces while sourcing decor and furniture for projects and I want to buy them all! But since I can't, I thought it would be really fun to share a few of my favorites each month. 

I'm hoping to make this a regular, monthly series of all the things I'm currently coveting. So here's my first edition, featuring my new favorite in affordable home decor: H&M Home. 

I only recently discovered that H&M has a home section. And so far I've loved every single piece i've ordered. I've been very impressed with the quality and the price point is so good.

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\\ Links for all the products pictured are below \\

1. Metal Wire Basket //A pretty catchall that can be used in so many ways

2. Black Stoneware Planter //I have this planter and I'm obsessed. The lines are so good and I love the matte finish

3. Moss Knit Throw //Throws with fringe or poms add great texture to your bed or sofa

4. Gray Stoneware //I'm really into the color and matte finish of these

5. Candles //So many good candles. These make great gifts and are great for shelf and vignette styling too. A friend bought me this one and the packaging is just as cute as the candle! 

6. Wooden Spoons //Is it weird to have wooden spoons on a favorite list? I've been on the hunt for good ones and the wood color and shape of these are perfect!

7. Copper planter //I love little metallic accents here and there - and copper is definitely having a moment.

8. Woven basket & hamper //Their basket & storage section is impressive. I ordered 3 of these black hampers for my laundry room. They are the perfect size and the woven texture is so much better than a plain old plastic laundry basket.   

Have you purchased anything from H&M Home? If you have, let me know your favorites!

*This is not a sponsored post. Just sharing for fun!


Design Board: Kitchen/Den

We are getting close on our renovation and I am scrambling to make final decisions on furniture and furniture layouts (and a million other little details). I find design boards are really helpful to me for choosing furniture. Seeing everything together in front of me (instead of just in my head) really helps me to see what works together and what doesn't. 

My biggest struggle in this project has been this kitchen/den space. If you've been following along, there was previously a wall dividing these 2 spaces making them both dark and small and I was dead set on removing that wall to open them both up. I was so glad to see it gone, but I didn't anticipate the design challenge in making sure that all the furniture and finishes in this big open space worked together and the space still functioned well.

Just to recap: here's the space before we did any work. 

Here's the space right after they removed that lovely paneled wall.

And then the space once they removed all the old cabinets & flooring

Here's a view from the other direction right after they started installing my cabinets. {side note: I am so so happy with my black cabinets!}

My goal is to have this new open space function as three things: kitchen, eat in kitchen area and den/sitting area. Below is the design board I've been working on for this space.

Design board sources: Bar Stools // Sofa // Rug // Woven Chair // Leather Poufs // Coffee table  // Light fixture // Tulip table: vintage // black Eames style chairs // Artwork

I am so excited to finish our renovation and share the before and after pics! So far I'm really happy with how everything is coming together! Stay tuned.....




My Favorite Modern Light Sources

Lighting is so much fun! It's like the jewelry of a room - you can add drama, a little sophistication or even a hint of glam with the perfect light fixture. I've spent hours lately sourcing lighting for my own home trying to find the perfect lights to add a little modern touch, while not blowing my budget. And since finding great lights at an affordable price can be difficult I thought I'd share some of my favorites!

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1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13

I wish I had a place for all of them in my home! So far, I plan to use [1] in my kitchen above the open shelving. [5] In my powder bath. [10] I've already ordered and it's currently sitting in the garage. The picture doesn't do it justice - it's so much larger in person - almost 5 feet across! It's really pretty and I can't wait to see it hanging from my vaulted ceilings in the living room.

For our den, I'm still trying to choose between the other chandeliers above. I recently stumbled across Billy Cotton's Pick Up Stick collection and fell in love hard, but they are so out of my budget it's not even funny. I'm really drawn to [11] and [12] above because they remind me the most of the Billy Cotton. [9] has a totally different vibe going on but I love it so much also and [13] really makes a statement with the large glass globes and its slightly asymmetrical shape. Just give me ALL THE LIGHTS!

Which one is your favorite? 

Powder Bath Moodboard: #clientmemyselfandi

I never could have imagined how many hours I would spend agonizing over the details of a tiny 5'x5' powder bath! I consider myself to be a pretty quick decision maker, but apparently that only holds true when it comes to other peoples homes. Not my own.

So it took me a while, but this moodboard finally came together and I'm pretty happy about it! I can't wait to see this fun, little bathroom come to life!

Kitchen Moodboard: #clientmemyselfandi

If you follow on Instagram, you probably know that I've purchased a new home! And while it's got great bones and some amazing architectural features, it's in need of some updates! The first area to go will be the kitchen! Currently it's a room full of bad 90's oak cabinets and a diamond backsplash. Plus it's small and dark with a poor layout that is not functional. 

Here's the current kitchen: 

The wall on the left separates the kitchen from the den. This wall makes both rooms small and dark. So we are taking it out completely to open up the floor plan and bring in more natural light. I can't wait!

Here's a quick sketch of the new kitchen layout

Below is my moodboard for the new space. I'm bringing in lots of modern elements like open shelving, vertical subway tile and white quartz countertops), but still keeping a few classic elements like the shaker style cabinet doors.

Below are a few dreamy kitchens from my favorite designers that I have been obsessing over lately. 

via Kellen Minor (Kellen.Minor on insta)

via Kellen Minor (Kellen.Minor on insta)

We should start demo in a few weeks. Stayed tuned for more updates!