Fall Foliage

In autumn we invite richer, earthier colors into our homes and with September around the corner, I’ll be setting that tone in my home too.

I follow several wedding blogs, I love the dresses and venues and vignettes, but I especially love to look at the floral arrangements with foliage styled in fresh ways.

What I love about these floral groupings is they’re not the predictable orange and brown. Instead, the designers mix in a pop of pink, apricot, plum, citrus, or lavender to keep the palette fresh. Pale pastels and deep jewel tones also play a part. Varied textures, shapes, hues, and vessels are what keep them interesting. We can all create similar medleys in our own homes during the autumn season with our own smaller scale vignettes and tablescapes.

Below, notice how the soft pastel blooms mixed with earth tone leaves and berry stems create a lovely contrast.

 roses and fall leaves bicycle

style me pretty


Mix wild grasses, evergreen stems, eucalyptus and oak (or maple) leaves with stock flowers for a stunning combination.

 wild grasses eucalyptus fall floral

the knot


Gather field flowers and grasses and blend them with wild stems, contain them in an antique silver compote.

 wild floral bouquet

style me pretty


Blend trailing vines and olive branches with softer botanicals, then inject a branch of fruit or a flower in a bold contrasting color.

 olive branch apricot arrangement



Herbs are unexpected additions to floral arrangements, pop stems of rosemary or thyme between leaf stems and budding roses to add style and scent.

 rosemary roses dark vessel

100 layer cake


When you group unexpected foliage together it really wows. This autumn, consider pairing random branches from your yard with herbs and a basic bunch of flowers from the market and you’ll have yourself an eye-catching fall display!


Noteworthy Items and Ideas from the 2017 IKEA Catalog

IKEA 2017

The 2017 IKEA catalog is out! Have you had a chance to pore over it yet? Each year I share my takeaways and this year is no different. I received my copy last week and finally had a chance to look it over. I made a list of the items and ideas that caught my eye. I thought I would share them with you today. In an effort to avoid ruining the novelty for others, I won’t be sharing photos of each item. I’d love for you to experience the catalog on your own then refer to my list if you feel inclined. If you don’t have a catalog in your hands, you can view it online here. Let’s get started!

pg. 10, 11, 196 The NORRARYD dining chair is a modern take on the traditional Windsor chair. I love the scale. (The back isn’t too high.) It comes in three versatile colors: black, white and red.

pg. 24, 25 I love the DIY coffee table idea! The open storage and lower profile make it ideal for smaller and/or open concept spaces. You could stash books, games and toys in the base. I’d love it even more if the crates were reclaimed or vintage. I would get creative with the top. What about butcher block, painted plywood, remnant marble or feather-finish laminate?

pg. 30, 177 You can’t go wrong with a big, inexpensive stockpot like the VARDAGEN.

pg. 56-57 I need to see them in person, but I feel like the TORHAMN cabinet fronts could work well in the right context. (In a modern farmhouse with lots of white? I don’t particularly like how they’re styled in the catalog.) The wood grain might get a little busy, so I’d be inclined to use white open shelving in lieu of upper cabinets. There are a few more new cabinet front styles listed online, but I still think IKEA is missing a huge opportunity by not offering unfinished, paintable options and timeless, classic designs like true shaker fronts.

pg. 66-67, 184 All the heart eyes for an organized pantry, especially the steel IVAR drawers and mini fridge.

pg. 82-83, 252 The transitional style of the MALSJÖ cabinet is so handsome. The recessed brass pulls are my favorite detail making this piece one of my top picks for 2017. I’d use it as a mini home library to corral books and albums or in a dining space to hold serveware, barware and alcohol.

pg. 88, 229 When I designed a nursery for my eldest (twelve years ago!) I used a PÖANG chair instead of a rocker and it worked great. I love the leather upholstery option.

pg. 108-109, 272 I’m all over those shapely FLÅDIS baskets.

pg. 116, 302 The FLISAT children’s series features practical storage in natural wood tones. Mabrey has the wall storage (not shown in the catalog, see it online) in her room.

pg. 124-125, 238 I spy flatwoven rugs made with jute, wool and sisal. They’re great for adding natural texture to any space. Priced affordably, they’re sure to be bestsellers.

boys bedroom after 2

pg. 129 Many of you have asked about the curved ceiling track I used for the boys’ bunk bed enclosure. It was discontinued but it looks like IKEA has improved the design. The new VIDGA series hugs closer to the ceiling and is white to blend in with most ceilings. (The older version sat a few inches off the ceiling and was silver.) A corner track is available to create enclosures and room dividers.

pg. 173 It isn’t new, but the BITTERGURKA plant pot is too cute not to mention. The small scale makes it perfect for growing herbs in the kitchen during cooler months.

pg. 190 I’ve always loved the classic and inexpensive kitchen linens at IKEA. The new VARDAGEN napkins and tablecloth are wonderful additions to the line. I’d use them for everything from everyday family meals to summer picnics to Thanksgiving dinner. So versatile!

pg. 207, 255, 273 I’m drawn to the muted colors and metal detailing of the FJÄLLA boxes. I like them paired with the fabric-covered KVARNVIK boxes for contrast.

pg. 221 The NOCKEBY sectional is good-looking and I like the practicality of a washable cover, but I need to give it a sit in person to determine how comfortable it is. The light beige and light gray upholstery options look promising.

pg. 248 The STILLHET tealight holders are so pretty.

pg. 319 The SLADDA bike is perfect for urban life and sleepy coastal towns. I love all the adorable accessories!

That’s my list. Truthfully, this year’s catalog isn’t my favorite. The staged rooms read a little too catalog, and some of the new things I’m normally excited to see (i.e., large furniture pieces, bedding, pillow covers, lighting, cabinet fronts, etc.) just weren’t there for me. (Although, I’m curious to see the EKBACKEN concrete lookalike laminate countertop in person.) Fortunately, many of my favorites are still available: STOCKHOLM sofa, MÖRBYLÅNGA dining table, the HEKTAR and SINNERLIG pendants, LAXARBY fronts…to name a few. I did appreciate the personal and behind-the-scenes stories woven throughout the catalog. It think it would be great if IKEA could somehow give the catalog more of a lived-in, lifestyle vibe. Maybe shoot even more in actual homes? I get the best ideas when IKEA products are mixed with vintage or bespoke items and shot within a real life scene. I enjoy catalogs that promote ideas alongside items. Just my two cents🙂

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the newest IKEA catalog. Any favorite pieces?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Article Source: Noteworthy Items and Ideas from the 2017 IKEA Catalog

Chocolate Meltaway Cake

You know those insane 3-tier cakes that you see at fancy birthday parties or weddings (like these)? Well Melissa of Lil’ Miss Cakes is one of the bakers that makes those beautiful creations and I’m super stoked to have her guest post on my blog today! This whole guest blogging thing is so exciting for me because I get to introduce you to some of my all time favorite blogger friends and Melissa is one of them. I love how she posts accessible recipes for us non-professionals (like these stained glass cookies or these pumpkin chai hamantaschen). She’s really bringing it today with her twist on a yeasted babka or kokosh cake. I love me some babka, but the only time I ever make it is when I have leftover challah dough (and I don’t bake challah very often). Enter Melissa’s babka hack and you can be making a no-yeast chocolate meltaway anytime. I can’t wait to try it!

Welcome Melissa!

Hey hey! I’m Melissa of Lil’ Miss Cakes. Over on my site I kind of do it all. I share my creative cakes, share delicious and dairy-free dessert recipes, and I also design and sell custom cookie cutters. I love Chanie and her blog, she is super talented. Her food photography is stunning and her recipes are spot on, I can always find the perfect family friendly recipe to whip up for dinner. I’m so happy that the blogging world has brought us together and I’m so excited to share a recipe here with you! Thank you so much, Chanie for allowing me to guest post and congrats on your daughter, she is gorgeous! Sit back, relax, and enjoy her!

Since we all don’t always have lots of time to bake, I like to come up with impressive desserts that don’t take all day in the kitchen. I had been craving a chocolate babka/kokosh cake for a long time, but making a yeast dough is too time consuming, and doesn’t always turn out well. I needed a cake that I can mix up and bake quickly, as soon as the mood strikes. It had to be fudgy and super chocolatey, with easy to find ingredients. This cake does it all! It looks really impressive, but whips up in no time. There are a few dishes to wash, but you won’t be waiting for dough to rise all day long. There is no rolling out dough, twisting, shaping, second rising. None of that. Just mix, add to the pan, and bake. The cake is moist and tender, the chocolate is oozes everywhere, and the crumbs give the perfect amount of crunch. The best part of it all, this recipe is pareve, but I bet you won’t be able to tell!

Related Recipes:

quick and easy chocolate rugelach

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Article Source: Chocolate Meltaway Cake

Creamy White Paint Colors

A great question landed in my inbox last week, it was from Dakota, she writes “I was trying to locate what color you have painted the trim and doors in your home?  Your cabinets in the kitchen appear to be more of a creamy white, which I also have in my home.  We are looking to have our entire home repainted, as the current trim is a very pinky beige white, but nothing seems to go with our kitchen cabinets. They are a linen white, but I don’t want to use such a creamy color throughout the house. How did you choose your trim color and is it less of a creamy white than your cabinets?”

Yep, my kitchen and family room cabinets are creamy white and the trim and crown in my home are painted a brighter white. I’ve had the same creamy white cabinets in my kitchen for almost ten years. I haven’t photographed the space in a few years but you can see older pictures of it here. The crown moulding and trim in our house is a brighter white (Kelly Moore Swiss Coffee). I painted my family room cabinets in a creamy white (Benjamin Moore Linen White) several years ago to complement the creamy white cabinets in my adjacent kitchen.

Yes you can blend different white paint colors the most important thing is to make sure the undertones don’t clash. It’s great that you’re giving your trim a refresh. You can choose a white that is brighter for your trim or you can stick with a creamy white paint color for your trim too. I’d avoid anything too stark white, it can come off as cold or clinical. Below are some off whites that I love, the colors on the screen appear a bit more vanilla than they are in real life so I’d encourage you to pick up a few samples and try them out in your home!


 benjamin moore swiss coffee

benjamin moore swiss coffee via houzz

 dover white

sherwin williams dover white

 ben moore ivory white

benjamin moore ivory white

 creamy white paint colors

Darlene rounded up some decorators’ favorite white paint colors, also don’t miss colour expert Maria Killam’s article on mixing white and cream paint colors. I also shared five tips for choosing the right white paint at My Colortopia two years ago, those guidelines still apply!

Do you have a favorite creamy white paint color? If so share it in the comments!

image sources: 1 / 2 / 3


Weekend Reading

Last night I took the kids to see Pete’s Dragon, it was very sweet! Tonight I’m off to enjoy dinner with a group of friends and a favorite singer who is performing in San Francisco. Tomorrow I’ll be starting a new furniture makeover project that I can’t wait to share with you soon! Hope you’re enjoying lovely weather wherever you are as we transition from summer to fall. Favorite links below.

hamptons show house

So much bold beautiful color in the Coastal Living Hamptons Showhouse.

I also loved this beach house tour.

Lots of shiplap and charm in this Texas cottage.

A smart & stylish fireplace makeover.

Love this pretty & practical DIY: mini clothesline bowls.

Is humanity really living in a golden age?

An inspiring post on creativity.


Sunset Idea House Tour + Takeaways

I was invited to attend a preview of the Sunset Magazine Idea House here in the Bay Area. The home is multilevel on a dramatic slope that takes in views of the Bay and is decorated with a combination of modern and transitional furnishings. The entire home was light and bright with an organic feel due to the wood floors, textural accents, and abundance of green plants. The designer on this project was Lauren Geremia and there were a lot of great takeaways that caught my eye.

1. Yes you can wallpaper the kitchen. This was such a beautiful detail and brilliant idea, the use of the William Morris bird & pomegranate wallpaper behind glass as a backsplash. I love this idea because the paper adds beautiful pattern but is protected from moisture or grease by the glass.

 kitchen wallpaper sunset

 wallpaper in kitchen sunset


2. Create a larger chandelier with smaller pendants. This was another ingenious installation in the dining room, the use of six small pendants in a row to create a larger chandelier effect.

 pendant lighting dining

 pendants lined up dining


 pendants as chandelier



3. Layer smaller rugs on larger ones. Throughout the home the designer chose large scale neutral rugs and layered them with smaller rugs on top to add pattern and interest. If you have a rug you’d love to use in a room, say a vintage Kilim, but it’s too small for a space, consider buying a larger rug that fits and layering the smaller on top. It works! (Depicted below are the guest room, master bedroom, and office.)

 guest room

 master bedroom layered rug

 office layered rug


4. Opt for warm neutrals instead of cool. I loved that the sofa and some of the other furnishings in this home were a soft buttery yellow instead of the gray we see so much of. It was a warmer and equally as lovely choice, one that picked up on the dry grasses that exist on the slopes of this Northern California landscape.

butter hue sofa

 butter yellow sofa in family room

5. Use plants to fill spaces and create moments. I loved that every room had a potted plant or tree growing near the light, helping to blur the transition between indoors and out.

 potted tree family room

 natural light family room


 leafy plants

Use a large and wide container to create a living centerpiece, it will last longer than flowers!

 living table centerpiece

Each of the multiple decks that looked out the the view had planters in beautiful modern containers which added necessary greenery to a home that doesn’t have a rear yard due to the sloped lot.

 container plantings trio

 container plantings on deck


Here are a few other takeaways, never fear dark walls in small spaces! In this bathroom the designer used Cosmos by Sarkos wallpaper to create drama, the brass details look so beautiful paired with it.

 dark wallpaper in powder room


Who says a media console has to be functional only, why not a beautiful piece of furniture too? I loved this lacquered black console in the family room.

 lacquered console

I also admired the consistent flooring throughout, this was a wide plank pale oak flooring, I don’t know the source but I can get it. I thought it was beautiful to use it on all floors, it appears the builder finished the edges of the stairs with mitered trim.

 plank stairs floors

 stair detail


Yay for wood! The kitchen featured stained wood cabinetry and marble countertops, and a lovely little niche created with these open shelves.

 wood open shelves kitchen


The tour concluded with a wine tasting by J Lohr on one of the outdoor decks overlooking downtown Oakland and the San Francisco Bay beyond. The sun popped out just in time to admire the view, so beautiful!

 lower deck sunset idea house


A big thank you to Sunset Magazine for the preview of the Idea House. It opens tomorrow for those in the Bay Area who wish to tour the home in person. Find more details about this home in the Berkeley hills on the Sunset website including details about the floor plan, sponsors, and design team. Most of the furniture and accessories are from ATG Stores, light fixtures by Lamps Plus. Architect: Robert Nebolon; Builder: Landmark Development; Designer: Lauren Geremia.

A Night In (But Kinda Out)

night in 3

Remember the shade sail project I mentioned a while back? We finally tackled it! I realize I’m totally jumping the gun by giving you a lame sneak peek in the dark, but I promise to follow up with a ‘how we did it’ post soon, along with general changes we’ve made to the backyard and daytime pics. The thing is a few blogger friends asked me to share a favorite nighttime scene at our house, warm glowy lights and all. I had my heart set on sharing the back deck for the ‘A Night In’ series hosted by Julia and Kim. A week’s worth of rain nearly foiled my plans, but one night the downpour held off just long enough for me to quickly towel things off, bring out dry cushions, light a few candles and snap pics. Raindrops were sprinkling my lens by the end of the harried shoot and I’m not 100% comfortable shooting in such low light, but here are some of the better shots. It’s really magical in person!

night in 2

night in 5

night in 7

Since installing the shade sails, this outdoor spot has become my favorite nighttime hangout. (Recently, it’s been way too hot to enjoy it during the day – even in the shade.) After the kids are in bed, I plop down on the sectional with some rosé and a book and listen to the crickets do their thing. One good thing about the kids’ school year starting so early is that reasonable bedtimes are back. I have kid-free evenings once again! At least until someone gets up to tell me they’re thirsty. It’s inevitable.

night in 8

Three years in, the sectional cushions are holding up well. To promote longevity, I store them in the attic for the winter and stash them in the garage on a tarp during wet summer weather. The throw pillows are a mix of outdoor and indoor cushions. You might recognize a few kilim pillows from our living room. After tossing them on the sectional last minute for color, I now want to hoard etsy kilim covers, treat them with Scotch Guard outdoor spray and stuff them with outdoor inserts. The gold bulb string lights are from Rejuvenation. They create the prettiest ambiance.

a night in 1

It’s difficult to tell from the nighttime pictures, but the bottom halves of the bulbs are gold. I originally chose them because I like the metallic detail, but the gold actually gives the string lights two benefits: 1) The bulbs look like they’re glowing during the day when they aren’t plugged in. 2) The gold reflects the light upward at nighttime for a more diffused, less glaring effect from below. They can be used indoors or out. I’d love to see them on a Christmas tree! If string lights and ornaments had a baby, these would be it.

night in 4

In case you’re wondering, the shade sails do not hold water. The smallest raindrops pass right through which is ideal. We don’t want sagging sails! They’re purely sun-blocking. At night, they give the impression of a ceiling which feels really cozy.

There are still a few tweaks to make out here. I’ve been itching to switch out the coffee table for a non-matching one. The dining table has seen better days. We need a fan for relief from the heat and mosquitos. I want to plant climbing, flowering vines (clematis?) at the base of the shade sail poles to soften them. All in good time. Did you notice I rotated the sectional to face the house? We like it so much better this way! It really makes the deck feel like an outdoor room now instead of a stage facing the darkness. Plus, it makes for a great view from the kitchen window.

If you love peeping houses at night (I do!), be sure to check out more nighttime scenes from these talented bloggers:

Chris Loves Julia
Yellow Brick Home
The Makerista
The Faux Martha
Making It Lovely
Brittany Makes

*This post sponsored in part by Rejuvenation. Much thanks to Julia and Kim for organizing!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Article Source: A Night In (But Kinda Out)