Weekend Reading

Leaves are beginning to fall from the trees in my town. It finally felt like autumn this week so I brought out a few white pumpkins and some scented candles and scattered them around the house. This weekend I’m busy on a fireplace makeover project, and I’m picking out the floor tile for the two bathrooms at the flip house in Las Vegas from some samples I’ve had shipped. I hope to have the fireplace makeover complete to show you next week.

I wrote last weekend that I was taking a motorcycle safety course and the good news is I passed it and also my written exam at the DMV. As an early birthday present, I bought myself a 150cc Vespa for riding around town, it was delivered today so I’ll be taking it out on a ride around the neighborhood. I’m really excited about my new toy, it’s something I’ve wanted for many years and now it’s real!

Favorite links/projects below:

succulent airplant wreath pottery barn

Perfect for fall: a front door display using succulents.

A beautiful home decorated in a black and white palette.

Love this layered little boy’s room.

A smart way to add privacy to front door sidelights.

Everything you wanted to know about butcher block countertops.

Simple and charming: DIY clay bowl.

I wish I could crochet cause I’d totally make this for my nephew.

One pot burrito chicken and rice (looks delish).

A love story: when you meet your soulmate on the subway (aw).


Have a great weekend!

Fall Farmer’s Market Salad

I can’t believe how time is flying and my little munchkin is already 2 months old. And you know what that means? It means that it’s back to life, back to reality. Time to wrap up these guest blog posts with a big finish from my pal Whitney Fisch from Jewhungry. Back when I actually had time to read blogs, Jewhungry was one that I actually READ. Whit has lots to say about food, parenting, and believe it or not, her husband is a real life marine biologist (I thought that only existed in a Seinfeld episode)! Whitney’s chocolate love muffins are a staple in my home, and if you make them, they will be in yours too. Welcome Whitney!

I am so honored to be on this beautiful website! I have been a fan of Chanie and her work for years! I’m doubly excited to be on here while she’s at home, loving on her new baby girl. Hurray!

The recipe I’ve got for ya’ll today is one of those that, once assembled and enjoyed, you think to yourself, “ahhhh, the secret is most definitely in the sauce!” I have been a fan of salads since I was a kid. Truly. My grandfather used to love to take my brother and I out for lunch when we would visit our grandparents in Louisville, KY. He would take us all over town and my go-to order as a spritely 7 year-old was salad. I’m not sure what calls to me in a salad. Maybe it’s the fact that the toppings can be endless. Maybe it’s the crisp freshness of the lettuce itself or the variations one can make on the same thing. I can’t really pinpoint what the one thing is that I truly love about salad other than the dressing. Good Lord, gimme all the dressing. I remember reading Michelle Bernstein’s cookbook, Cuisine a Latina, in which she unabashedly proclaims that she LOVES drenching her salads in dressing. That’s my kinda lady! And therefore, for you today, I have a simply beautiful Fall Farmer’s Market salad in which I actually did, in fact, get all the ingredients from the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. It’s a beautiful salad regardless of dressing but the pesto vinaigrette really takes it up a notch, if you ask me. I also like to use this dressing as a dip for french fries or polenta fries. That’s the great thing about salad dressing . . . it goes with everything!

Related Recipes:

roasted veggie quinoa salad
Israeli couscous with honey roasted root vegetables
spicy roasted carrot fries
gluten free pesto zucchini fries

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Article Source: Fall Farmer’s Market Salad

Creative Container Plantings

It’s funny when we in the design world get giddy about particular plants and consider them trendy when in fact they’ve been around forever, we’re just rediscovering them and featuring them in new ways. Succulents are still immensely popular and for good reason, they’re attractive and low maintenance.

I made a recent trip to my local West Elm and noticed as I was browsing around they were featuring a local floral designer who specialized in succulents. That’s one of the things I appreciate about West Elm, they promote local artists through pop up shops and other events. I found out the floral designer’s name was Jodi and she owned a business called Flourish so I contacted her to create something custom for me.

kate boat succulent planter

I brought Jodi my canoe shaped white ceramic container and inside it she combined tiered succulents in all shapes and textures. Once they were firmly packed in soil, she layered the top with white rocks. It sits on my dining room table and is so stunning in person. Ever since I visited the Sunset Idea House I’ve wanted a living centerpiece of my own and I’m so glad I turned to Jodi for this creation.

succulents boat planter

While I waited for my creation and watched it take shape I took photographs a few of the other arrangements in her shop. I was inspired by the creativity seen, how she filled different shapely containers with succulents and airplants and accompanied and paired them with vines, moss, and rocks to create living works of art. Jodi’s work inspired me and reminded me how beautiful nature can be when controlled in a skilled way.


flourish log planter

flourish succulents 1


  flourish succulents 3


flourish living frame


flourish white containers

flourish wood ball succulents


flourish iron orb succulents


Find even more examples of Jodi’s work on her Flourish website.

flourish succulents

Can you imagine any of these pieces of living artwork in your home? Stunning!

Single Sink Vanity Hunt

I’m headed to Las Vegas later this week to spend a few days working on the house. I’ll be tiling a fireplace and getting started on the hall bathroom. It’s a full bathroom with shower that is shared by the two bedrooms and is also used by guests since this is a single story home. I want it to be practical and pretty, and also not blow my remodeling budget.

hall bath before

I went looking for a single sink vanity that was both attractive and affordable. The flooring will also be replaced so I am looking for a freestanding style instead of cabinet base style. Prices are all over the place, I want one that will fit that niche seen in the picture above. I also want one that comes with a top since I don’t want to deal with fabricating a new countertop in here.

The palette will be classic and neutral since this is a flip. Also I don’t want to spend more than $1,000 on the vanity. Since the walls will be white I’m looking to create contrast with wood or a gray finish so I’m considering these four:

hall bathroom vanities

james martin / espresso hardwood / winterfell / legion

I’d love to do a patterned tile on the floor in here since it’s a smaller space, that would add a nice detail. I’ve got two in mind, and I’ve ordered samples so as soon as they arrive I can make a final decision on the vanity. I’m excited to transform this space! I’ll keep you posted on the bathroom as the project progresses.🙂

Making the Most of Small Closets: Big Girl Room

girl bedroom 8

I had to rework the closet in Mabrey’s room when I replaced her crib/toddler bed with a twin trundle. Bringing in a larger bed necessitated moving most of the playthings to the closet to free up floor space. You can see how the closet used to look when the room served as a nursery right here. A freestanding shelving unit (it lived in our previous home’s craft closet) was a temporary fix that worked well for the first few years to corral diapering essentials and a quickly evolving wardrobe. (Little ones outgrow clothing so quickly!) However, it wasn’t the most functional solution for a preschooler.


I sold the shelving unit and put the money towards the room makeover. To accommodate larger toy items like the dollhouse, shopping cart and stroller, we added a second shelf under the existing shelf and hanging rod. I measured the height of the dollhouse and shopping cart to allow for clearance, then we added cleats to the back and sides of the closet. We cut and laid a shelf board across the cleats. All the wood was left over from the whole house renovation (a longer shelf used to hang in the boys’ closet), so the cost to add the shelf was nil. I painted the shelf and closet to match the rest of the room.


I kept the closet curtain panel. With the door to the room opening up on to the closet, it’s just a less cumbersome setup versus a legit door. Plus, I really like using curtains vs. doors on children’s closets for practical reasons: no smashed fingers, easy access for little ones, no slamming doors! The curtain matches the panels at the window and hangs from an inexpensive tension rod just behind the stop of the door frame. Years ago, I hemmed it to puddle slightly at the floor for a casual vibe. The wood dot hooks next to the closet double as curtain tie backs.


The floor of the closet serves as a mini “garage” housing wheeled items like a stroller, shopping cart and portable toy box. The shopping cart was a joint gift from family a few years back, and it’s the toy Mabrey plays with most often. The rolling toy box is new. (Yes, I spray painted the green rims white and replaced the green rope with a white one because #typeA.) I filled it with blocks and Lincoln Logs from the boys’ closet since they’ve pretty much outgrown them and Mabrey plays with them more. (BONUS: This freed up space in the boys’ closet!) It’s so great having these items out of the way but within easy reach. Mabrey can pull them out on her own to play with in her room or in the living room. A laundry basket sits to the right of the toy box.

Mabrey doesn’t play with the stroller all that much so it sits in the corner for now. She doesn’t seem to have a huge interest in baby dolls. In fact, she keeps asking me if she has to have a husband and kids when she grows up. I tell her, “Absolutely not! You can do whatever you want and have any kind of family you want.” She says she wants to work, have a house and a cat, and she wants me to come visit her. So sweet!


The newly added shelf holds a dollhouse which Mabrey actually enjoys playing with in the closet. (See how I tweaked it here.) It’s right at eye level, so I guess that’s why. Even so, it can be easily moved out to the coffee table in the living room for access to all sides. A small wire basket off to the right holds a set of mini wooden figurines that Mabrey plays with in the house.


I stash books on the left and rotate them in and out of the wall-mounted bookshelf next to Mabrey’s bed, so we don’t get stuck reading the same books over and over again. It kinda works? If Mabrey had it her way, we’d read Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever every night until she moved out. #somuchpointing


Dresses, tutus, butterfly wings and a few sweaters hang from an existing rod. I finally upgraded to wooden children’s hangers. I always thought they were too expensive for fast-growing kids, but I found these at IKEA for cheap. Woven baskets along the top shelf hold hand-me-downs that don’t quite fit yet. They’re organized by size and I rotate them in as needed.


One of my renovation regrets is not adding a hardwired light to Mabrey’s closet. (We did in the other bedroom closets.) The closet is so teeny that I thought it wouldn’t matter, but I was wrong. Hindsight is 20/20. We finally added a battery-operated, motion-sensing LED light overhead, and it’s my favorite thing about the closet now. We can actually see the closet contents in the dark, and the light turns off on its own!

I love how functional this closet is now, and I can totally see it evolving with Mabrey’s needs. Once the toys are long gone, a second hanging rod could be installed below the lower shelf for more clothing storage. Small, tidy closets for the win!

P.S. – A DIY hidden litter box.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Article Source: Making the Most of Small Closets: Big Girl Room

Weekend Reading

Happy Sunday friends. Today I’m finishing up the last day of a motorcycle training class. Crazy right? It’s equal parts challenging and thrilling and today is test day. Yikes, I hope I pass!

Why am I putting my self through this course? I’ll tell ya! Traveling in Europe this past summer sparked my longtime desire to own a Vespa and ride it around my home town. It’s been a dream of mine for a few years but to do so and be insured in California I need a M1 license. To get one I’m taking a safety course where I train on a real motorcycle. It’s challenging to say the least, but thrilling too. I’m definitely outside my comfort zone, wish me luck!

Favorite links from the week below:

dark cabinet blue sofas

A beautiful Connecticut home makeover.

25 “best” blue paints.

Before you install DIY shiplap, read this.

Yes you can change the color of your appliances.

Inspiring experts in hand lettering.

I love this superhero inspired cardigan!

Want to binge watch a new TV show? Hollywood’s 100 favorites.