One Room Challenge – Week 1

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DIY Wool Felt Pom Pom Trivet

This cooler weather in October gives me the desire to cozy up my house with things that offer warmth and texture. Last week I worked on a DIY craft project to achieve that: a wool felt pom pom trivet for use in the kitchen or on the dining table.


I gained a love of crafting with wool felt pom poms when I completed this paper leaf garland for my holiday mantel. Their soft and fuzzy texture is just so charming and I love that you can buy them in larger sizes and in any color imaginable.

Plenty of DIYers have created a version of this felt trivet project and many of their projects do it with a needle and thread. I wanted to get the look but quicker and easier so I used hot glue instead of stitching the felt balls it together. Using the hot glue method, this really is one of the quickest and easiest DIY projects I’ve ever done.




For this craft project I used the Arrow Fastener Dual Temperature Glue Gun with wool felt pom poms purchased in four colors and a cork base found on Amazon.



I purchased 2cm wool felt pom poms in colors that were fall hues but would also complement my kitchen. The colors you see are gray, snow, stone, and olive wool felt pom poms from Crafty Wool Felt on Etsy (the shop 90+ colors available).



The process is incredibly simple. Find the middle of the cork trivet base and glue the first felt ball down. Work your way around with hot glue, holding each pom pom in place for about 10 seconds to keep the arrangement tight. Consider protecting your final trivet with a spray of ScotchGuard to resist stains.




I confess the ideas started out as a circle trivet but as I got to the edges I thought at the last second, why not turn this into a hexagon instead? It’s just a matter of squeezing the glued wool felt balls into corners and making straight lines around the perimeter. If you want to recreate this shape take it one felt ball at a time, holding each one in place as you form the geometric shape. Or you could trim the cork base into that shape beforehand.

Consider protecting your final trivet with a spray of ScotchGuard to resist stains.


The textures of these wool felt balls are oh so cozy to the touch and you can recreate these in any color palette or pattern you like. If you create your own, I’d love to see what color combinations you choose!






Some of you might question if the cork visible underneath. It is just a little bit if you look at the cork directly from a straight angle. You could use thinner cork bases and not have that issue, but since it sits on top of a counter or tabletop it’s not too noticeable.




It’s a fun and easy afternoon craft project, perfect for a rainy day, and a project you can complete in under an hour, just in time to enjoy a hot cup of tea. 🙂


Happy Fall, y’all.



*This post brought to you in partnership with Arrow Fastener tools! All opinions are mine, thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog. 🙂

Weekend Reading

Hello friends and happy weekend! I am loving this late September season of transition with its cooler mornings and warm afternoons. The blue skies playing the role of backdrop to changing leaves. It feels magical, I want to soak up every minute of it.

This weekend is event free for me, and I’m breathing a sigh of relief! I need the few days to play catch up on my long list of things to do. I’ll be photographing the Vegas kitchen remodel later in October, I can’t wait to share it with you, it looks amazing so far!

Favorite links below:


I pinned several images from this designer showhouse.

I love the eucalyptus arrangement on Kim’s mantel.

Great combo of mixed materials in this kitchen reno. The range!

New to DIY building? This wood nightstand project is a great place to start.

It’s hard to choose a favorite among these beautiful blue rugs.

“I am not on anyone else’s timeline but my own.”  Yes to this.

What I wish I knew at every age.

Traveling? How to pack light.

An amusing Twitter war.


Look for Less: Étagères

I mentioned in my last post that after refinishing the floors, I wasn’t bringing anything back into my home that I didn’t absolutely love. This has left me with a few bare walls and corners, one of them the five foot wide space of wall between my family room and dining room. I decided an étagère would be the best fit by maximizing the use of vertical space and providing me with more storage.

The étagère is a versatile piece of furniture because it can live just about anywhere: an office, dining room, living room, bedroom. Most tend to be shallow in depth so they don’t push into a room taking up too much space. Étagères are the elegant cousin of the bulkier bookcase with their thinner frames, open backs, and more formal style.

These shelving units store anything from kitchen goods to office supplies to bathroom towels. Styles vary from chinoiserie to industrial. I’m a fan of the golden versions, glamorous, but practical too.


gold + walnut étagère


sally wheat interiors




asymmetrical étagère


studio glid


gold branch étagère


bungalow 5



High end versions like this one and this one cost thousands of dollars, but as always I hunt down more affordable choices so you can get the look for less with these options all under $500.

gold aimee / alize / nickel / zona

dzu walnut / orleans metal / harper / edison

At Last! Refinished Hardwood Floors

Wow I can’t tell you how happy I am to be waking up each morning to look at at my completely refinished hardwood floors.

I’ve had this inspiration image saved on my desktop for a year. It was EXACTLY how I wanted my floors to look in my home.

tim barber

When we expanded and renovated our house almost ten years ago, we continued the red oak floors throughout the house. A seamless transition from room to room in community spaces has always appealed to me, and since the original house’s footprint had oak hardwood, it made sense to match it and continue it throughout. I opted for a natural finish back in 2008 and it looked great for a few years, but little did I know at the time the oil-based polyurethane that was used to protect them would yellow so dramatically over time. After a few years I began to hate my floors.

I replaced the carpet on my staircase with hardwood several years ago and stained the stairs dark, I shared the experience here. I even expressed that I would refinish my downstairs floors to match the staircase, but it took me SEVEN years to finally hire the crew that could get it done. How’s that for procrastination? 🙂 I was motivated by the replacement of the carpet with engineered hardwood in the master and upstairs hallway and wanted the downstairs to match.

I’ll never again use real wood in a kitchen or bathroom, it’s just too risky with the water damage that can occur. In the Las Vegas houses, I’ve installed more modern products like wood look porcelain tile and luxury vinyl plank. I added the same waterproof vinyl plank in my studio above the garage.

But when it came to the 1300 square feet of hardwood flooring in the downstairs of my home I had to make a decision: either refinish them, replace them, or cover them with something else. Replacing them was cost prohibitive. No matter how great the new luxury vinyl plank wood look products are, covering my existing wood flooring with vinyl seemed a crime, so refinishing them was the best option.

Here’s how they look now that the job is complete:


When it came to the stain choice for the floors, I knew I wanted something in the Walnut or Jacobean family. I was adamant about not having any yellow or red undertones. My refinisher suggested one coat of Ebony which I balked at in the beginning. Black stain? What? But when he brought me a sample of Ebony and Jacobean on red oak floors, I was convinced the Ebony stain would give me what I wanted: a dark stain that masked the red undertones in the oak wood.

He brought me a sample of red oak with Jacobean and Ebony, both were close but the Jacobean had a hint of red to it. Not too noticeable, but he steered me toward the Ebony and I’m glad I went with it.


Above is the image of the stain sample on the bottom step of my staircase. Notice the difference between the bottom floor, the steps and the suggested stains, Jacobean on top and Ebony below. Seeing the difference made me decide to also have the staircase steps redone so that the stain was consistent between the downstairs floor and the hardwood steps to the second floor.

My floors had also suffered some damage over the last ten years, with dents in places and some significant wear and tear near the doors due to traffic, another reason I was anxious to have them refinished.



So here’s the basic process. After the furniture was all moved out, the crew came in with a machine sander and got to work, first with 36 grit, then followed up by a second sanding at 50 grit to removed the old polyurethane that was on the floor and get to the raw wood. Notice how much the oil based polyurethane had yellowed, that’s what was bugging me all these years!



As I mentioned, for consistency I also had the stairs sanded down so that the stain on the downstairs floors would match the stain on the hardwood steps.



After sanding it twice, they added a wood filler to the floor to fill in any dents or damage. Notice that I didn’t have to remove any baseboards! They were able to use the big sander for most of the floors, and hand sanders and scrapers next to the baseboards.



After the wood filler, the guys sanded a third time, this time with 100 grit and again with an orbital sander to make sure it was perfectly smooth.



Before the stain was applied they vacuumed the floors. Just before they applied the stain (with a garden sprayer like tool) they misted the floors with water to open up the pores so it would accept the ebony stain.



These pics were taken by the crew, sorry one is blurry, but it shows the machine with its attached pads that were used to apply a single coat of Ebony stain to the sanded red oak floors.




One the stain was dry it was time for the protective coat. They used a water based formula, one that won’t yellow like the one I had before. They applied three coats in a satin finish, buffing with light abrasion between the first and second coats.



There were places where the stain had splashed onto the baseboards, so all of the baseboards and stair risers needed repainted after the crew left, this was a huge chore. Props to Matt for tackling this project and making his way around the house with paintbrush and tape to cover any stain residue on the baseboards.



As I mentioned in the beginning we had the grueling task of completely moving out of the house so the work could be completed. All the furniture went either in the garage or the courtyard. My dining room table spent 10 days covered outside before it could be moved back in. Say hello to Matt about to move it back inside! Nice work sir. 🙂



As much as I love my new floors, what’s true is the darker stain shows every little thing. I admit the natural wood floors hid more dirt but I wanted dark so I’ve got to keep up with them. To do it, I give the floors a daily quick sweep with a Bona duster with a velcro microfiber cloth attached, it makes keeping the floors clean quick and easy.



The Ebony sheen was the right call, it gave me a rich dark stain on my floors, I also love the satin finish, it’s a very subtle sheen. It changes in depth too, darker in the evening…


… but lighter during the day. 🙂


You’ll recall I remodeled the powder room just a few weeks ago. Here’s a peek at the space with the new dark stained floors.


I’m not allowed to put any rugs down for two weeks until the protective coat fully cures. We’re slowly moving furniture back in, but with my vow to not have anything come inside that isn’t meaningful. We made a pact, if it’s clutter or simply unimportant, it doesn’t come back into the home. As a result, my garage is filled with a lot of things, and it will take me weeks to donate or sell it all. But I started piecing back together the community spaces, first the family room.


My teal sectional sofa and the trio of mirrors I love, but not the inherited chair that used to sit in the left corner, so I’ll be shopping for a cozy reading chair to replace it. For now, that corner sits empty.


We’re enjoying the barely furnished nature of the house, it feels brand new again. Cozy and comfortable, but also like a breath of fresh air.

I’m inspired to make more changes such as swapping out light fixtures and bringing in some new rugs and art. Stay tuned.

Weekend Reading

It’s been quiet around here for the last two weeks, I know. That trip to France distracted me but I decided to soak it all in instead of worrying about blogging. Thanks for your patience with me. I’ve spent the last few days getting caught up, and recovering from a little jet lag.

While I was away, my home underwent a big change. The entire downstairs floor is oak wood and they’ve needed to be refinished for years. The polyurethane had yellowed and there was damage in several places. Before I left for France, we moved all the furniture to the garage, then Matt and the kids moved up to the studio for a week so an entire crew could come in and refinish the floors. It was a major headache but props to Matt for handling it in my absence. I’ll share the story next week!

Favorite links from the week below:


Don’t miss this farmhouse cottage makeover.

This beach house kitchen has a gorgeous backsplash.

I’m also crushing on this textured brick pattern tile.

Shiplap in a shower? Why yes it can be done.

Celebrity homes are usually quite posh, but this one is warm and welcoming.

You heard Trading Spaces is returning, right?

Weekend getaway idea: 10 fall hiking trails in the US.


Three Days in Bordeaux

I arrived home last night from an amazing trip to the south of France and it was a whirlwind nine days. Once I landed in France I hit the ground running since there was a lot I wanted to see.

I toured Bordeaux and the surrounding wine regions of Medoc and St. Émilion for three days. I then took the train to Aix-en-Provence where I spent three days taking small trips to Cassis, Avignon, and the Pont du Gard. My last stop was Nice, with a few more day trips to Eze, Monaco, and St. Paul du Vence. Words cannot describe how amazing this trip was!

I wont bombard you with vacation photos all at once, but I did want to share just a glimpse of what I experienced in Bordeaux, France. As you know I live in the California wine country where we grow and bottle our own wine. I’ve grown up around it but I wanted to experience something different and it was one of the reasons I chose Bordeaux as my first stop.

I learned so very much about how they make wine in this region of France, and they’ve been doing it centuries longer than we have. They label their wines by appellation, not by grape like we do. The growth, blending, and marketing is all very controlled. A very small percentage of their wineries (they call them chateaus) are open to the public for tastings, but since I was part of small tours, I was able to visit a few.

There are several companies that offer small 6-8 person wine country tour groups, I signed up for one on my first day. You hop in a small air conditioned van with other English speaking people from all around the world, it’s great fun. I met the nicest people from Australia, South Africa, England, Ireland, etc. I did this on several days throughout my trip and as a result made many new friends, it greatly enhanced my travel experience! I also did a few DIY excursions while in France where I just hopped on busses and trains on my own.

In Bordeaux in September, the weather was hit and miss during my stay, sometimes cloudy, sometimes sunny, it’s unpredictable! Taking small wine tours allowed me to get out into the countryside and see the flatter Medoc wine region known for their cabernet blends. I went on a day trip with Bordovino, they are located in a central spot in town and have friendly and informative guides.


On another day, I took a train to visit hilltop St. Émilion, known for their merlot and cabernet blends. It drizzled this day but I loved strolling the cobblestone streets, admiring all the architecture and charming shops.


One must indulge in cheese and wine and bread while touring in France, especially after a hike around the town.


There is a beautiful church in St. Émilion that is also worth a tour. It was difficult to photograph on a cloudy day but I loved this courtyard with all its arches.

In St. Emilion, there are a lot of wine shops in a condensed area which do offer tastings, so if you only have one day to explore a wine region outside Bordeaux, I’d highly recommend this hilltop town. It’s so easy to get to by train, simply take the tram in town to the Gare St. Jean and buy a ticket to St. Émilion. Plan on a 45 minute train ride, walk to the town (about half a mile) and spending a few hours walking around, then the train ride back, it’s a charming little day trip!


Bordeaux is famous for little cakes called cannales, they have a caramelized exterior with a custardy center, don’t miss a taste of this regional specialty!

I stayed in a small hotel in the heart of town which made it easy to get around and see everything I wanted to see on foot. Another great way to see the city of Bordeaux is on a bicycle tour, I used Bordeaux Bike Tour and Jean-Christophe was an excellent guide. It was a leisurely ride around town, with our guide pointing out all the landmarks and sharing the history of the city. I recommend a bike tour as a great way to get acclimated and capture a feel for the city so you can explore it on foot later.

After my bike tour I spent the afternoon and evening walking all around town and had dinner at the most charming café surrounded by a mix of locals and tourists. You’ll notice again the weather is unpredictable, rain showers one hour, sunny the next. Bordeaux is a beautiful city, filled with meandering streets and cafes, lovely shops, and a great evening scene with people walking all around, sharing beer or wine and dinner at all the little cafes. I loved my three days here!




In the cities of France, you know many people ride scooters and motorcycles to get around. I ride a white Vespa around my hometown so I was always on the lookout for them while in France. This one parked on the sidewalk caught my eye, such a great color!


I put together a 2 minute video to give you a flavor for the region of Bordeaux on my new YouTube channel. Watch it below!

If you’re a wine lover (or just want to tour a really cool French city) put Bordeaux on your list of places to visit!