Fixer Upper Fascination

In case you’ve been living under an HGTV sized rock, you may not know about their latest design superstars: Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame.  After watching way too many episodes of House Hunters, Property Brothers and Love It Or List It, I find their fun, quirky humor and cozy design style so refreshing.  For those that don’t know, Chip and Joanna are a husband-wife team that helps Waco, TX area families find, purchase and renovate homes.

Chip & Joanna

Chip & Joanna

Joanna got her start with a small home furnishing shop Magnolia Market (which now has an online presence) and they slowly graduated to more intense design and home renovations.  Their recent skyrocketing success has allowed them to purchase and renovate a whole complex known as The Silos that houses an updated, larger shop for Joanna as well as a place for vendors to sell goods on the weekend and they’re soon opening a bakery on premise!  You can read all about The Silos here.

Original Magnolia Market

Original Market

The exterior of a new location of Magnolia Market at the Silos, owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, on Thursday, October 29, 2015 at Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, Texas. (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)

New & Improved Magnolia Market!

Now in season 3, Fixer Upper showcases Chip and Joanna’s down-to-earth personalities and fun approach to home renovation.  What I find so refreshing is how genuine and honest they come across vs. some of those other HGTV personalities that feel SO scripted.  Fixer Upper is way more docu-series than how-to show.  You see them interact as a couple, a bit of their home life with their 4 adorable kids, their huge farm the family calls home as well as all the fun design stuff.

And Joanna’s style is taking the internet by storm.  Part shabby chic mixed with part rustic industrial, she finds a way to incorporate vintage style in traditional spaces with modern luxuries.  Her expertise is truly finding something old and making it new again in an interesting way.  Think old piping turned funky bookshelf or tobacco factory beams crafted into a beautiful dining table.  Jo’s also fantastic at finding old but interesting architectural pieces and incorporating them in new ways.

Bookshelf

pipe & board shelving

Pantry Doors

I’m OBSESSED with these doors! She turned them into pantry & laundry room entries

On top of their show and the renovations that come with it, The Silos and their family farm, they also have a realty company.  And because she doesn’t have enough to do, Jo has a great blog too (which is where I originally found her before I knew about the show).  All of this in addition to the new B & B they just opened which was featured as season 3’s Christmas episode.  They really have crafted a little Waco empire over the last few years!

So for your eyeballs’ enjoyment, here are just a few of my favorite Fixer Upper moments from season 3:

Stairwell

Knock a wall down, add an interesting iron railing

Bay window

Highlight the traditional beauty of original bay windows by making them a serious focal point

Loft turned library

Extra hallway space = loft turned library Map as art

An old map makes the perfect vintage artwork

Shiplap on shiplap

Jo LOVES her some shiplap.  #shiplap

european inspired entryway

A change of pace for the Gaines: a European-inspired entryway

colonial inspired dining room

Loving this colonial-like dining room.  Reminds me of historic homes in PA!

mantle turned art

Wouldn’t be a Gaines job without some added architectural detail!

Anyone else as obsessed with them as I am?  I find Chip quirky but hysterical and it’s definitely one of the few design shows I’ve got Jefe hooked on too!

Life Happens While You’re Busy Making Other Plans

New year, new blog, new fiance, new home.  You read that right, Jefe & Sledge are finally getting hitched! Needless to say it was a rather exciting holiday season as Jefe popped the question right before Thanksgiving.

After the confetti and bubbles in the champagne settled and the parents all had wedding bells on the brain, Jefe and I started to discuss what was next for us.  The big plan if you will.

That led us to Craigslist, an apartment showing and a quick lease signing later, we had the keys to a new place.

So what convinced us to decide to sign a lease while visiting family and planning a wedding all over Christmas break?  Central air.  Refinished hardwoods. Sconces.  A fireplace (nonworking, but it’s beautiful).  FRENCH DOORS.

I’m sure you all want to read a little less and ogle a little more so without further ado, here’s our new place!

 

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Front entrance! White roses line the walkway.

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Our amazing living room!  It’s bright, airy, super spacious yet cozy.

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Great archway in to the dining room.

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A chandelier we don’t hate!  And ALL the lights in the apartment are on dimmers!

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The kitchen is large with plenty of counter space.  The colors have proven a bit challenging as I don’t know how to accessorize two-toned blue floors and buttery yellow walls, but I’m up for it!

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The second bedroom we’ll be using as our home office.  (I can see the Red Sox paraphernalia filling the walls now….)

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And our master.  The place was renovated with such an eye for design while still being neutral enough that we can inject our own style in to it.  Because of this, I don’t even hate the boob light because it matches everything else!

There’s plenty more to come (including our amazing bathroom with pedestal sink and original penny tile floor) but as our place is still COVERED in boxes, we’re not quite ready for the full, non-Craigslist ad pictures yet.

But there’s definitely more to come in the next few weeks!  Sledge is back (and engaged!)

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Isn’t It Pinteresting?

It’s been way too long since I gave you all some pure, unadulterated eye candy and random musings on the world so that’s what you’ve got today while I’m hopping a cross-country flight back to La-La-Land. I’ll be back later later this week with my usual recap of Ellen’s Design Challenge.

Let’s start with a little Pinterest visual stimulation (all the images below can be found on my Pinterest page). Here are some of the things I’ve been drooling over lately:

BEDROOMS

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KITCHENS

White Kitchen Blue Tilesource

Design Sponge Kitchen Redosource

Grey Kitchen Cabinets Wood Shelvessource

Warm Wood with rugsource

What’s Cooking In The Kitchen
Speaking of kitchens….. after Jefe noticed a bunch of our nonstick pots and pans chipping, we decided it was time for some replacements. I did a little research and turns out Sur La Table, my new favorite place to spend any and all extra cash, sells some of the highest quality sets for under $250.

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Thanks to a sale and a leftover gift card from Christmas, we brought a new set home last weekend. I also happened to pick up a copy of The Joy of Cooking finally, so naturally I figured the combination of my new purchases would instantly turn me in to Julia Child.

Later that night I discovered I wasn’t that far off the mark: I whipped up one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever made. Chicken piccata with a side of green beans almondine. Although now I think I’ve raised Jefe’s standards a little too high for the amount of time I actually have to spend in the kitchen…

Chicken Piccata with Green Beans Almondine

Fashion Forward
Have any of you been following the latest fashion trend? The industry is FINALLY starting to take notice of the completely untapped resource of plus size consumers. From ModCloth’s amazing commitment to equal opportunity sizing and the wealth of plus-size fashion bloggers to Target’s latest Ava & Viv collection, women of all sizes are finally being given fashion-forward clothing options. I love the new Swimsuits For All ad campaign; who needs a Victoria’s Secret Angel when you can have Ashley Graham? Makes me *almost* brave enough to try out one of their high-waisted bikinis. Almost.

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And as a result of this new trend, I’ve discovered some new blogs that I’m loving! Nicolette Mason in particular is my new current fav. Girl’s got sass and style that does not quit!

A little light reading…..
I love the Kindle app on my iPad. I’ve found myself reading so much more, especially since it can sync will all my devices. Waiting in line at the grocery store? No problem! You’ve got time to crank out another few paragraphs. The downside? Since you don’t have a physical book and its 800 pages literally staring you in the face, it’s all too easy to get sucked in to a book without fully realizing the commitment that you’re making.

Case in point: thanks to all the great feminist reviews of Starz’ new series Outlander and me without access to the channel, I decided to start reading the book. Literally THOUSANDS of pages and 6 books later, I’m fully engrossed in the series with at least another 2 books and a few more THOUSANDS pages to go. But damn is it good – Claire is the most incredibly fierce female character I’ve read in a LONG time.  And the hot Scot playing her 18th century love doesn’t hurt either… Example #1: Starz’s new ads for season one:

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All the reading though has reminded me how much I love it and list of things next on the docket for after I finally finish Outlander is growing quite long. Number one is Amy Poehler’s latest (I know, I know, I’m behind the times on this one). Thanks to my fav site The Everygirl, I’m certain that #2 on the list, What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding (best.  title.  ever.) is going to give me a SERIOUS case of wanderlust.

What I Was Doing.....source

So there you have it. Random musings and a few very pretty pictures for the week. What have you all had your eye on? New cookware? Or maybe a new book you’d love to get lost in? I highly recommend Scottish time travel circa 1743 🙂

Oh Baby… Nursery

Babies, babies everywhere.  I can’t count on one hand the number of little bundles of joy that are about to arrive on the doorsteps of friends and family in the next few months.  This happens to include my stepsister who welcomed my adorable first nephew on Sunday!

My best friend also happens to be due in the next week so she recently asked me for some nursery inspiration while she prepped for the arrival of her little girl.  So today I’m sharing some of my favorite finds for all styles of nurseries from neutral and glamorous to gender specific and rustic.

Classic Nursery

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Let’s start with this classic beauty.  Neutral colors with a slightly playful theme thanks to the zebra and hot air balloon and a classic crib.

Grey Modern Glam Nursery

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Contemporary, abstract art over a crib – so glamorous.  And the contrast of colors against the moody grey walls – perfection.  The patterned rug just kicks it up a notch.  This particular nursery is clearly doing double duty too for when those giddy grandparents come to visit.

Neutral Modern Glam Nursery

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How luxurious does this nursery feel?  It’s gender neutral and could so easily be achieved with a little blood, sweat and DIY.  All you need is quite a bit of cheap off-white fabric, a staple gun, some painters tape and a gallon of paint.  Top it off with a glamorous light fixture and you’re in business.

Rustic Nursery

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So I cheated a bit and this is an old ad from Restoration Hardware’s Baby & Kids line.  But I’m completely in love with the rustic charm and the perfect way they styled a nursery that’s a little girlie without looking like a pink crayon vomitted everywhere.

Vintage Pale Blue Nursery

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Vintage charm is all over this room.  I love that the desaturated blue of the walls is a few shades off the traditional baby blue of most nurseries.  And the bunting combined with a it of chevron on those curtains brings it in to the 21st century.

Traditional Vintage Nursery

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If you’re looking for more of a traditional space, this is the room for you.  I die over the antique-looking toys and that mirror over the crib is so elegant.

Super Glam Nursery

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This gem has been making the blog rounds for quite some time, but I completely see why – you want glamour for your little girl, this is the room for her.  Shiny surfaces and animal print?  CHECK!

Grey and Purple French Nursery

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Or maybe she is more into shabby chic, French country charm?  Done!

Peach Grey Champagne Nursery

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Or you think she’ll be a little eclectic, but with a sweet side?  A room filled with peach, champagne and gold is the place for her.

Eclectic Boys Nursery

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Perhaps it is a little boy who needs a little eclectic space of his own?  Combine an industrial fixture with a vintage map and some burlap curtains, and you’re good to go.

Navy Glam Nursery

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White and navy with a touch of silver is perfection.  All the pieces (minus the crib) could be repurposed as the child grows or seamlessly moved in to other rooms of the house.

The Animal Print Shop by Sharon Montrose

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Minimalist, white and clean.  But the light wood, adorable artwork and the sheepskin rug warm up the space for a little bundle of joy.

The Animal Print Shop by Sharon Montrose.

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Then their are those new moms who just know their little one will be fashionable and always on trend.  Then herringbone and tassel garlands are just for them (and it serves as a stylish alternative to a mobile).

Navy and Red Modern Nursery

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I think we’ve seen some variation of that rug a few times… looks like it’s a clear winner in nursery land.  When paired with striped crib bedding and crisp roman shades, the room suddenly has a preppy feel.

Grey and Pink Glam Nursery

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Maybe you just want to embrace your little girl’s feminine side?  Swatches of pink, monogrammed wall art and a chandelier are just for her.

Neutral Glam Combo Nursery Guest Bed

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If you’re raising a little gentleman or lady, this elegant nursery/guest room combo is the perfect space.

Modern Glam Nursery

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Modern.  Pink.  Perfection.  And I don’t even like pink.

Pink and Gold Princess Nursery

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If she really is a princess, this space is for her.

Modern Boy Nursery

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I die over that kelly green wall paper.  Baby would love staring at it!

Modern Graphic Nursery

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Modern and graphic.  With a hint of mid-century modern thrown in.

And now for a little extra dose of awesome: a few celebrity nurseries to drool over:

Bill and Giuliana Rancic Nursery

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Bill & Giuliana’s house is perfection.  I expect nothing less for their little guy’s space.  I want that grasscloth wallpaper.  Now.

Jenna Lyons Nursery

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This nursery belongs to momma/queen of style Jenna Lyons.

The Animal Print Shop

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I’m loving the clean lines and soothing colors of this beauty, the home of Molly Sims’ babe.

So what do you think – I see some serious themes popping up lately in nursery styles – print rugs and giant giraffes are clearly all the rage.  I also love the practicality of most of the spaces – all of them seem to be able to easily transition as the child grows older.  And not a licensed character in sight!  Not that I have anything against Mickey or Buzz Lightyear… I’d just prefer a little more subtle use of whimsy 😉

The Warwick

As some of you know, I spend my days answering phones, scheduling and doing all the glamourous tasks given to a Hollywood assistant. But every now and then we do actually get to experience some of the glitz and glamour in person…. Last night I had to work the LA premiere of MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM. I have yet to see the movie, but I know that anything that stars Idris Elba is going to be freaking fantastic (side note: he’s just as dreamy in person. I may have swooned when he walked by me on the red carpet…)

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Anyways, this post is about beautiful spaces, not beautiful men. Like every other Hollywood premiere since the dawn of time, the film screening was followed by an after party. I was one of the lucky few who got to get a sneak peek at the event space before the party: the newly opened club THE WARWICK in the heart of Hollywood on Sunset Blvd.

It. Was. GORGEOUS. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  We’re talking supple leather couches, fireplaces backed with herringbone-patterned brick, brass accents and beautiful rugs.

They were still prepping the space while I was there so I only managed to snag a few quick iPhone photos that I shared on Twitter, but I managed to grab some other great pics of the space online. I’m not normally a Hollywood club goer but this is making me seriously reconsider that stance. I hate lines but I would definitely wait to get inside of this space again.

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Upstairs area:

Warwick-Upstairs

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(Photos courtesy of herehere, here, here and here)

The space is the perfect eclectic mix of old school study, Hollywood glamour with just a touch of industrial.  And the art and accessories just take it to a whole new level – giant nude black and white photos on either side of the main bar and this guy perched on top:

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He’s kind of fabulous and I wanted to take him home just to see Jefe’s reaction.

So who wants to spend next Saturday at the Warwick with me?!  I’m ready to put on my party shoes and throw back a scotch.

Charm City – Baltimore

So this post is long overdue. I think my guilt caught up with me after Jefe and I had a marathon viewing of The Wire this weekend. I admittedly now feel schooled in the ways of the Baltimore inner-city projects so I figured it was time to indulge and share in the more opulent (and touristy) side of the city.  Please excuse the excessive use of Instagram/crappy iPhone photos – I was doing my best to not be attached to my phone the whole time, so the few quick snaps I took are all covered in hipster filters or *may* be a bit blurry…. a photographer I am not.

Jefe and I kicked off our summer vacation back in early August in Baltimore. The Sox were in town playing the Orioles (yes, it does always come back to baseball in our house), so Jefe insisted we bring the parents and check out Camden Yards as his dad had never been. And seeing as it was only a hop, skip, and a 90 minute drive from my hometown, my mom and stepdad came down to join us.

When in Baltimore, what better way than to start the day at Inner Harbor? It’s definitely become more of a tourist trap than I remember since the last time I visited a decade ago, but I still had fun.  The boys checked out the USS Constellation and the USS Torsk while my mom, Jefe’s mom Gloria and I walked around the water.

USS Constellation

USS Constellation

USS_Torsk_(SS-423)_in_Baltimore

USS Torsk

Thanks to a few recommendations from friends, I decided that crabs at Captain James Crab House was the most authentic option for lunch.  Eight hours later, we arrived via water taxi (I kid; it was only 45 minutes but felt like forever on an empty stomach).  It was quite the ride and although not everyone arrived at the restaurant with appetites thanks to some choppy water, it actually was a great way to see the entire harbor and cool off during an otherwise muggy day.

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Now let’s talk crabs. I may be from the east coast, and had my fair share of lobster growing up thanks to family vacations to Maine, but I am a bit of a crab-cracking novice. And I was the veteran of our group of 6.  Needless to say, the family was thankful we also ordered some corn on the cob… and a pizza.  Let’s just say that yanking out minuscule morsels of crustacean was not the family’s idea of fun.  We ordered a dozen medium sized ones for the table and this guy was still left.

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But I did not go down without a fight. I was definitely the last crab-eating woman standing as I was determined to prove them all wrong.  But I didn’t.  And I was still hungry.  Ce’st la vie.  We did get a great story out of the experience and had a great time despite things not going quite according to plan.  Here’s our obligatory shot of the fan:

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After my failed attempt at local cuisine, we headed back across the water so we could head to Camden Yards for the game. It drizzled off and on, but we kept dry for the most part. The only casualty may have been my mom’s hair.  Luckily we headed back to the hotel that night with two very happy Wells boys: the Sox won and they had an infamous story to tell.  Big Papi, the Red Sox designated hitter, was ejected from the game over a blown call by the home plate umpire that resulted in him destroying the dugout phone with his bat.  We were sitting about halfway up the stadium so we had no idea how crazy things got until we saw the replay on SportsCenter that night.

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One of the real highlights for me, though, besides the whole family bonding and baseball game thing was our hotel.  It was incredible.  Incredible in that “totally from another era, I want to go to there” kind of way.  Known as the B & O building, built in 1906, it was originally the home of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company.  You can find historic touches throughout, from the main hall entryway to black & white images of trains in the guest rooms.

So without further ado, I bring you the Monaco Hotel:

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The ground floor entryway, looking towards the elevator bank

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Looking immediately to your right, to the B & O Brasserie where we had a fabulous breakfast.

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The window detail behind and above you as you enter the ground floor.

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The right side of the incredible stairwell as you enter further in to the ground floor, before you reach the elevators.

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The left side of the entryway, with original lamps.

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Looking up!

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The stairwell from above.

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The incredible, open second floor above the stairwells.

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The 2nd floor hallway.

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The 2nd floor elevator bank.  Look at that marble!  The plaster detailing!  The CHANDELIER!

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Around the corner from the elevators.  I love these old, original touches, like the mail slot.

Walking further down the hall, you reach the front desk and the lobby area just off of that known as “The Living Room”.  They offer beverages throughout the day and offer a free cocktail hour that seemed like a steal.  We unfortunately didn’t get to participate, but here are a few gems from THE LIVING ROOM….

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Chess for two (and a viewer…)

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Looking directly in to the space and the incredible, double-sided fireplace.

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I got photobombed THROUGH the fire.

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One of the many sitting areas next to the fireplace.

Unfortunately we were so busy that I didn’t get to truly document the hotel, including our room, in all of it’s glory.  But their website has some great examples:

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The next morning, we met up with one of my oldest friends for brunch at Miss Shirley’s, which was amazing.  Then we headed out, fighting off a monsoon on our way to Spring Lake, NJ.  You can check out my post on this gorgeous town HERE.  It was so relaxing to spend a few days in this beautiful place.  Jefe and I even got back in to running.  When you’re staring at this, who wouldn’t want to?!

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I Got Purple, I Got Grape

For my latest design project, I’m venturing in to some new, very bright territory.  My client/friend is going through a bit of a life change and wanted to revamp her bedroom with a serious injection of tranquility and COLOR.  The combination of the two has been a bit challenging to say the least.  Per her request, I’ve been doing some serious research on purple rooms.

As I’m still working on the finishing touches of the mood board and overall plan for her room, I thought I’d share some of my inspiration as the color choice can be very tricky to work with.

So for today’s post, I bring you the PURPLE ROOM ROUND-UP!

Crate & Barrel

This was our initial inspiration to kick off the project.  A purple throw quickly turned in to purple walls….

Purple & Teal

Luckily we’re not taking it quite this extreme, but sometimes you have to go too big and edit, than to play it too safe from the start.

Feminine Purple

A more feminine, softer take on the color.

Neutral Purple

A neutral, more organic feel.

Elle Decor 4

Deep, rich, and a little moody.  Perfect for a bedroom.

House to Home 1

Loving the juxtaposition of feminine colors with the more masculine, modern lines of the paint treatment.

Purple Grasscloth

I just want to pet grasscloth.  I’ve loved it since the first time I saw it in the home of a wealthy friend of my grandmother.  And in such a fun color, you can’t go wrong.  It’s such a hip take on a traditional design tool.

Dark Purple

Bold and girlie.

House to Home 2

Soft, simple and relaxing.

Elle Decor 1

Upscale meets young and funky.

Elle Decor 2

Tranquil and fresh when combined with crisp white cabinetry.

Purple Chaise Room

Probably the closest in feel to where we’ll actually end up…

I’ve found that I’m most drawn to the shades of purple with grey and blue undertones while my friend loves the shades verging on pink and red.  So what do you guys think?  Would you ever paint a room purple?  I can honestly say that I can knock that off my list of design firsts; as a kid, my stepmom painted over the rose stenciling of my childhood bedroom, with a bright purple for my teen years.  I naturally chose a vibrant teal for the trim.  Gotta love those 90’s color palettes…