Feb
26

4 Ways to Give a Traditional Space a Modern Touch

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The biggest issue I faced when picking up and moving halfway across the country into my new home was that it was 114 years old. It doesn’t get much more traditional than this colonial beast, but when you fall in love with a space that’s the opposite of your aesthetic what’s there to do? I’m partnering with HP x360 #BendTheRules + Meghan Trainor’s That Bass Tour to talk it out and share four ways I’ve modernized my home.

Add Contemporary Art. This tip is first for a reason, and that’s because it adds the biggest dose of personality right off the bat. I’ve added pieces and prints of all shapes and sizes through my home, grouping the smaller together and leaving the oversized to stand on their own. One thing I abided by was sticking to the same frame style and color – simple and white. It helps to pull everything together and achieve the sleekness I was after.

 

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Embrace Clean Lines. Furniture, light fixtures, all of it. I love how the simplicity of almost all of my dining room in particular is the polar opposite of the ornate banister on the stairway and the 10-inch moldings throughout the house. It allows you to appreciate what the space does best without competing with it, which should really be the end goal of every design decision you make.

 

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Go Light and Bright. Before I moved in the moldings and framework were thankfully already painted white, but the walls were a buttercream yellow. Safe for staging, but not even a little bit my taste. So within two months I had painted the entire interior (you read that right, all of it) a lovely white-grey/grey-white. The natural light bounces throughout now, creating an almost gallery-like feel that makes every room feel bigger.

 

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Use Modern Patterns. I like to keep my patterns in check by using them sparingly and choosing modern global repeats. It keeps things feeling fresh and contemporary while breaking up the monotony of large fields of color for your eye. I prefer to neutral tones, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from color if that’s your aesthetic.

 

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The HP x360 has four great things going on for it, too. Actually four modes – notebook/laptop, tablet, stand, and tent – in one device. I’ve especially loved using tent mode in the kitchen, it’s so convenient to have my favorite recipes at arm’s length while I make dinner. Its touchscreen properties also make the tablet mode perfect for flipping through my emails in bed first thing in the morning (bad habit, I know). The compact size and weight are perfect for carrying the x360 around the house from one room to another like I tend to do through the day. See all four modes here, along with more info on HP + Meghan Trainor’s That Bass Tour and episodes from the fan-generated documentary being created using the HP x360 Convertible PC.

 

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This post sponsored by HP. Be sure to follow along with the Meghan Trainor tour by watching Behind The Scenes episodes or following @HP for updates. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Crush!

Feb
17

Casper

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Last week a beautiful thing showed up on my doorstep in a large cardboard box. A MATTRESS.

 

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It’s pure magic that something as large as a queen size mattress can be folded over upon itself and delivered on a doorstep. My 8-year-old spring mattress had seen better days and my lower back was letting me know about it. Because mail delivery mattresses are a popular thing lately I looked into a few different options, but one came out on top – Casper.

 

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After I hauled the burrito-like bedroll out of the box (and took a breather, because let’s be honest), I hauled it onto my box spring and cut along the spot they indicated. And then I stood back and watched as it grew, and grew, AND GREW. It was like an air mattress inflating without the air!

Then voila – I had a new mattress.

I laid down on the thing immediately and basked in the glory of my brilliance and handiwork. When I was finished I noticed that the Casper mattress was supporting my body in all the right places. There was no pressure on my hips or shoulders, my lower back wasn’t arched in space, and I wasn’t sinking.

 

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Each Casper is made from support foam topped with memory foam topped with an inch and a half of high-performace latex that helps keep the bed cool as you sleep. (I can hardly wait to test this out come summer.) Going a step further in sourcing, the knit fabrics come from South Carolina, the wovens from Belgium, and they’re all sewn together in Illinois and South Carolina before being distributed out of New York. And it doesn’t hurt that both Casper‘s site and social media presence have a great sense of humor about them, an all around great brand that I’m happy to support.

 

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Each mattress is backed by a 100-night, no-hassle return policy, and 10-year full warranty. Oh, and free shipping both ways even if you decide to return it. So if you think a Casper mattress might be for you and want to give it a go, email me at designcrushing@gmail.com and I’ll help you out with a code for $50 off!

I received product in exchange for this post. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush going!

Jan
14

Framebridge

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I have a confession to make. I’m a legitimate print hoarder.

I’d guess I own around forty pieces of varying shapes and sizes, but only about half are actually framed. As someone who likes to change up the art in her home frequently this presents a little bit of a problem, and if you visit you’ll often find pieces hung by metal clips/pants hanger/washi tape.

 

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Because I’m such a portrasti-framer (Can that please be a thing?) I’ve become very excited about affordable online framing. And one in particular, Framebridge. Basically you visit their site, then input the size of your piece and choose a frame style and a mat if you’d like one. Framebridge calculates the cost and then gives you the option of receiving a tube or flat mailing supplies or using your own. They email you the free shipping label to print and affix and you’re set. You can also send them a file you wish to have printed and framed.

 

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A few weeks later your art shows up back at your house and ready to hang! I’ve used a similar service in the past that I was not nearly as impressed with. Framebridge‘s attention to detail and protective packaging had me smiling from ear to ear. Each frame comes with a bracket and nail to assure an all-around quality experience (and eliminates the need to dig through your own things to track one down).

 

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These are two screen printed posters by Jordan Grace Owens that I’ve owned for just over a year, previously victims of the aforementioned pant hanger treatment. I chose a simple thin natural wood frame – the Marin – for both pieces so as not to detract from the art, and I also opted for no mat. The end result is just what I envisioned, two pops of color to welcome guests into my home in the entryway.

 

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Try Framebridge for yourself before January 29th and receive 15% off any order with the code DESIGNCRUSH!

This post is sponsored by Framebridge. I received product and compensation in exchange for my thoughts of the experience. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush going!

Jan
06

Making the Entry Winter-Ready

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I’m trying to live a slightly more minimal lifestyle these days, but winter with all of its layers is trying to throw a bit of a wrench in my best laid plans. Scarves, hats, gloves, boots – the necessities of cold weather are no fun to corral. My usual (bad) habit it to shove as much as possible into the pockets of the coat I just took off and hang it on the stairs’ bottom newel post.

 

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My solution was to take those unfortunate habits and make them work to my advantage. By adding a wooden bench with woven accents I created a small storage area right out in the open. Boots can be tucked underneath while other cold weather gear can be stacked on the lower shelf. It will also make a great place to sit to lace up footwear, as well as a spot to put friends’ bags when they’re over for a visit.

 

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The pastel blue seat of the bench will make transitioning to spring and summer easy with its breezy feel. And I’m also really feeling the combination of the woven pattern next to my tribal throw rug. Completely unexpected and slightly out of my comfort zone, but it seems to be working well.

 

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I tucked a white sherpa throw into a vintage metal crate nearby for those extra cold Pennsylvania days that will be here soon enough. The idea being that you walk in the front door, take all of your outdoor gear off, and grab a blanket to cozy up with immediately. (It’s especially going to come in handy after I come inside after taking down those Christmas decorations!) So take that winter, because I’ve got you all figured out.

 

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This post is sponsored by Target. Shop Home Décor for modern luxury made easy.  All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that keep Design Crush going.

Dec
16

Creating a Holiday Candy Buffet

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It’s holiday party season – are you organizing one this year? I’ve been having a few friends over here and there, which I much prefer to one grand shindig. More quality time to talk and just hang out at the speed I prefer. I wanted to pull together a little takeaway for each gathering and came up with this candy buffet in my dining room as a sweet treat to end the evening.

 

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I used the metallic tones I tend to gravitate towards during the holidays as a starting point. Lots of glass jars of different sizes, small porcelain bowls, gem-cut mercury glass bowls, a metal hammered gold bowl, and a few pieces that I already had tucked away round out the spread nicely.

 

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Layering different heights adds visual interest that pulls you right through the buffet as you gather your goodies on the go. I stuck to a palette of silver, blue, red, and green candy and was sure to include lots of different types – chocolate, fruit flavored, chewy, hard – lots of different textures and flavors to satisfy even the choosiest visitor!

 

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The main focal point is a group of three paper trees I made a few years ago, a sweet white ceramic stag head, and several tea lights in small mason jars to add lots of sparkle and shine to the surface. A flocked wreath hanging in the overhead in the window added some extra holiday spirit.

 

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Of course we couldn’t forget the most iconic Christmas classics – candy canes and peppermints. Miniature candy canes are perfect for adding to a cup of hot chocolate. Use one as a stir until it dissolves for a twist on the old standby.

 

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The buffet is easy to replenish as things run out between get togethers and looks pretty enough when not in use. Hope your holiday season is stress-free and sweet!

Shop the buffet: Ceramic Stag Head // Small Gold Metal Hammered Serving Bowl // 18″ Flocked Wreath with Blue Ornaments // Assorted Porcelain Dip Bowls // Silver Mercury Glass Cereal Bowl // Small Frosted Gold Mason Jar // Medium Frosted Silver Mason Jar // Medium Frosted Gold Mason Jar

 

This post is sponsored by Target. Shop Home Décor for modern luxury made easy.

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Nov
26

Repaired + Reimagined: My Dad’s Coat Rack

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This coat rack? It’s seen a lot. I’ve had it since graduating high school, before that it held robes and belts in my parents’ room, and before that who knows. It was my Dad’s and I have no idea how long he had it in his possession. The bottom line – it sorely needed an update if there was going to be any place for it in my home.

 

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Case in point.

It had seen better days and was showing some serious wear and tear in the form of several deep nicks and a loss of stability. (I’d already repaired that part here with a bit of wood filler, toothpicks, and elbow grease.)

 

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So when ScotchBlue™ Painters Tape and The Home Depot reached out about doing a project with Behr® and Wooster® I knew which piece was begging for my attention. I’d hoped to use the coat rack in the nook of my staircase which has white walls and light wood floors, so I also knew that I wanted it to be an interesting piece to look at with at least a little bit of color.

Supplies:
• drop cloth
• sanding block
Behr® Marquee™ Dawn Gray #MQ5-28
Behr® Marquee™ Manhattan Blue #MQ5-9
Wooster® Pro 2″ Nylon Thin Angle Slash Brush
• ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape Multi-Surface with Advanced Edge-Lock™ Paint Line Protector 2093EL

 

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I started out by deciding I wanted to leave the top ten inches or so naked before taping it off with ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape at that spot and sanding everything south of that mark. I made sure to smooth the edges of the tape really well to avoid any paint bleed.

 

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Then I sort of eyeballed how large of an area I wanted the semi-gloss Dawn Gray to cover in my colorblocked scheme – about a foot. I left the bottom edge ragged knowing that I’d be taping it off for my second color.

 

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After taping off, I painted the rest of the rack with semi-gloss Manhattan Blue. After it dried (the Behr® Marquee™ covered in one beautiful coat) I flipped it over and painted the underside as well.

 

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See that clean straight line? That’s the stuff painting dreams are made of. It’s always best to remove painter’s tape when the paint itself isn’t completely dry, and to pull at an angle. This helps keep that line super straight.

 

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I’m so happy with the end result! My once ragged hand-me-down coat rack has fresh life just in time for being hung full of winter coats, hats, and scarves.

I am proud to be a 3M, Behr®, and Wooster® – sponsored blogger, and, as part of my responsibilities, I get the opportunity to evaluate products. Opinions are my own and additional product used in the project were selected by me. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush going!

Home Depot Consumer Program // The Home Depot Twitter // The Home Depot Facebook // The Home Depot Pinterest // ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape Twitter // ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape Facebook // ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape Pinterest

Nov
25

Nespresso VertuoLine + Seasonal Coffee Drinks

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I’ve always been fascinated by single-serve coffee systems, but vastly underwhelmed by what’s on the market. The ability to cater to your family’s or guests’ preferences, especially during all of those holiday get togethers, can be such a lovely touch when entertaining. But when the coffee itself tastes unimpressive and the machine has a working life of maybe a year… well, what’s the point?

 

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When Nespresso reached out about trying out their new VertuoLine I was hesitant, but what changed my mind was that Nespresso works in coffee. They aren’t just some brand who’s decided to create a new machine and outsource the main ingredient. VertuoLine is an intuitive system that uses Centrifusion technology and barcode reading (cup size, rotation, temperature, flow rate, and brew time) to brew 8 oz cups of coffee and 1.35 oz espressos.

 

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The VertuoLine’s hallmark is the incredible crema – the foam formed on each espresso top – it creates with every cup. And honestly it really is impressive. Once I got my hands on the machine itself I couldn’t believe that this was a cup of coffee that I’d made in around a minute in my own kitchen.

 

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I also got to play around with an automatic milk frother, the Aeroccino+. With the push of a button I had perfect hot milk and froth (it can also warm milk without the froth or froth cold milk). It’s basically my favorite new kitchen gadget of 2014.

The VertuoLine comes with a sample box of their eight coffee and four espresso blends. And after trying nearly all of them I decided to create a few coffee drinks and put it all to the test.

 

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Ingredients:
Melozio capsule
• 2 oz skim milk
• 1 Tbsp honey, plus more for drizzling

Place Melozio capsule into the VertuoLine and brew into mug. While brewing, pour 2 oz skim milk into Aeroccino+ along with one tablespoon of honey. Press button to froth. When finished, gently pour milk into coffee, then spoon froth on top. Drizzle with honey. Drink up.

 

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Ingredients:
Odacio capsule
• 2 oz eggnog

Place Odacio capsule into the VertuoLine and brew into mug or heat-safe glass. While brewing, pour 2 oz eggnog into Aeroccino+. Press button to froth. Pour eggnog slowly into coffee to achieve that great separation. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: I received product and compensation for this collaboration with Nespresso. As always all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that help keep Design Crush going!

Nov
14

For Love of Cats

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This girl right here is my 15-year-old, essentially a high school freshman. She came into my life during an especially tough time, my sophomore year of college when I was going through difficult bouts of anxiety and depression. Roxy was like liquid Xanax for my life, she was six weeks old and weighed 1.1 lbs when I adopted her and we’ve been through so much. (Right down to a big surgery she had two Decembers ago for a chronic issue called megacolon.) She’s feisty to the core and loves me unconditionally as only a pet can.

 

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Just over a year later this big love muffin came along. Peanut had been found abandoned, trapped inside a covered litter box with the opening taped shut and no hope for escape. When I heard that my vet was looking for a home for him I signed on, sight unseen. He had the biggest pink nose, the tip of his tail was broken, and patches of fur were missing from his fight to escape the litter box he’d been trapped in. And it was love at first sight! Peanut is the biggest teddybear (20 lbs at one point, now down to 15 lbs) and the guy I cuddle with every night before bed. As I always whisper in his ear, we were meant to be!

 

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After the May 2013 tornadoes in Oklahoma I signed up to foster eight 2-month old kittens. (One of the two litters was actually discovered in a collapsed elementary school under piles of debris.) It took a few months to get them all healthy and adopted, and this girl – Rainey – was the last in my home. She was nearly feral when we began our journey and still prefers lots of alone time, but has also learned the joys of a good cuddle session. And after all she’d been through, and how comfortable she eventually became in my home, I knew there was no way she was going anywhere anytime soon.

 

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I’m a believer in spoiling my pets, but when the holidays roll around there’s all the more reason to spread the love. Fancy Feast likes to refer to this time of year as Feastivities and this year they’re teaming up with Refinery29 to curate their 2014 Gift Guide, a collection of wow-worthy items to dazzles cats and their owners alike. The star item is the 31st annual Fancy Feast ornament, each one is crafted by hand from the folks at JJ Potts and all proceeds go directly to AdoptAPet.com. I can’t wait to order one for myself and all of the other cat lovers in my life!

 

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If you’re in New York City you can visit Fancy Feast at Refinery29’s Tinseltown holiday bazaar December 13th and 14th and see the gift guide come to life.  From the real ingredients in Fancy Feast Broth, to the carefully-crafted holiday ornament and the hand-picked items in this year’s Feastivities Gift Guide, Feastivities is the perfect way to wow cats and cat lovers alike this holiday season!

Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post, however all words and opinions are my own as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush’s content fresh!

Nov
13

Making Dessert Count: Dense Bittersweet Chocolate Cake

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Dessert is a big part of the holidays, in fact I think it’s a big part of any successful get together. It’s the time when it’s okay to indulge a little and let the conversation flow. Some of my favorite times have been spent gathered around a table – dining or coffee – with friends and family at the end of a delicious meal. So when Target asked me to share just what makes holiday entertaining special – that sweet finish worth lingering over – I couldn’t resist.

 

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To me dessert isn’t just about what’s on the plates, it’s just as much about the ambiance. You want to create a relaxed atmosphere that makes your guests feel comfortable and happy. In my home that means lowered lights, candles, and quiet music in the background that doesn’t overshadow the conversation.

 

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This is one of my favorite holiday desserts that’s a year round classic doesn’t say “holiday” at all. (But no fear, it can easily be dressed up with some whipped cream and red berries to make it so!) I prefer to serve this Dense Bittersweet Chocolate Cake with a dusting of powdered sugar and coffee. A thin slice is all that’s needed, and it isn’t the sort of sweet that can’t be eaten quickly, it’s meant to be savored – inviting the conversation that makes the holidays so wonderful. . These mercury glass plates spotlight the not too sweet slices quite nicely, while a gold charger easily doubles as a serving plate for the cake itself. My favorite mood lighting continues to be tea lights, they’re so easy and sparkly set in a few small frosted gold mason jars. Hours of talking and memories await!

 

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Dense Bittersweet Chocolate Cake
serves 10

Ingredients
• 12 oz fine bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
• 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 C) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 3/4 C sugar
• 5 large eggs, separated and brought to room temperature
• 3/4 C flour

Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line bottom with a round of parchment or wax paper, then butter paper.

Melt chocolate and butter in a large (microwave-safe) bowl in the microwave set at 50% power for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once every 60 seconds. Cool completely. Whisk in vanilla, salt, and 6 tablespoons sugar. Add yolks 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in flour.

Beat whites with a pinch of salt in a bowl using an electric mixer at medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks, then add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until whites hold stiff glossy peaks.

Whisk one fourth of whites into chocolate mixture, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Pour batter into springform pan and spread evenly.

Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted into cake center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove side of pan and cool cake completely. Invert cake onto rack and remove bottom of pan, discarding paper, then invert cake onto a plate. Enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Target. Shop Home Décor for modern luxury made easy.

Disclaimer: This post sponsored by Target. All words and opinions are my own as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep our content fresh!

Nov
10

Win It: Lulu & Georgia

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Today I’m finally sharing a small part of my new home with you! I’ve been eagerly awaiting this day for a few months. Today it’s just a tiny slice, but starting in a few weeks we’ll be moving on to the entire first floor (I hope you’re half as ready to see it as I am to share.)

 

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So yes, this is clearly the kitchen. Well, about half of it really. I’m going to save the what I love I love/what I hate/what I’ve done/what’s left do rant for the full post on the room, but one of my very favorite parts is this incredible set of Edith bar chairs. They’re easy on the eyes as well as the rear with a generous seat and slim cushion. I’ve never had an island or breakfast bar in any previous kitchen, so I was really excited to find these guys over on Lula & Georgia. They’re perfect for the mid-century vibe that I love and aim for in most of my decor and I know they’ll be a part of my kitchen for years to come.

 

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I’m also eyeballing the Henry Vase, Taman Lamp, Rizzo Bench, Ombre Moroccan Rug, and Monica Minimalist Side Table for my home as I figure out what I still need to complete a few of the other rooms.

So I’m about to get to the good part here… which is that you have the chance to win $100 to spend at Lulu & Georgia! Maybe you’re looking for a new throw to keep warm this winter or want to put it towards something larger like a piece of furniture. Whatever you the case, good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway