Bibliophile

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

I have a confession to make….. I am a lover of books.   Real books.  You won’t find me pouring over a new edition of Game of Thrones on a Kindle because, call me old fashioned, I still love the look and feel of a good book, dog earred and all.  If you’re a bibliophile like myself, you wish you could be surrounded by them!   Well, why not? Here are amazing book inspired spaces and artwork you can implement into your own home or office!

Book Accessories

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You can pull on your crafty pants and make this book art or you can purchase if from Etsy!

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Romantic hanging book decorations.

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Hit up your local garage sales and thrift stores to gather books and make this amazing wall piece.

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All you need is a little twine and a little time.

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Have a book that’s falling apart?  Find a narrow picture frame and line it with the loose pages or modge podge the papers on a coffee table top.

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If you’re willing to sacrifice a terrible book, like, say….Fifty Shades, Then use an Xacto knife to cut out a hole and place a little dirt and a succulent for a simple, yet beautiful centerpiece.

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Have a bell jar laying around? Place a few books inside with your favorite decoration and viola! An instant centerpiece.

Unique Book Organization 

Read Me Literary Classics Juniper Books Head On

Juniper Books creates custom covers for book organization and stylish shelves!

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Juniper Books

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Use your child’s favorite illustration as book covers.

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The titles are in the letters!

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Stack your books on the wall and paint a masterpiece on the spines!

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Color coordinate your books to look like a rainbow!

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Or coordinate by value.

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Flip your books backwards to show the pages.  A word of caution: It will be harder to find what you want to read, but it creates a lovely “shabby chic” look.

Innovative Book Storage

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Store books under your stair risers.

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Hide your books behind an art piece.

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Utilize that empty fireplace as storage.  Just keep open flames far, far away.

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Store books below eye level for a clean contemporary look.

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This is a great option if you need to hide few naughty novels for the kiddies.

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A little reading nook under the stairs.

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Stack large, hardcover books and use as a coffee table or a nightstand.

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Dedicate all the walls for all the books!

Itty Bitty Spaces

Do we really need big homes?

I keep thinking my husband and I need a bigger apartment, but then it dawns on me that we really only occupy 4 out of 6 rooms in our apartment and the rooms we don’t occupy just accumulate stuff.  And  I am so. Sick. Of stuff!  If we could find the perfect small apartment (with the perfect closets and storage options), I know it’ll help encourage us to live more simply.  Because, really, I’m o.k. with a with a quaint little home as long as I can have a HUGE plot of land. 🙂

Small, modular spaces are the newest design trend blowing upon the internet and I just love all of the innovative ways one person or multiple persons habitat an itty bitty space.

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Love Graham Hill’s life edited apartment.  Click the link to watch a video tour!

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A 425 sq. ft. apartment is absolutely inhabitable if you have 25′ high ceilings.

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They cleverly implemented cubbies in this 240 sq. ft. apartment.

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A neat convertible apartment in Manhattan.

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I love how the bed is tucked away with a curtain for added privacy in this Swedish crib.

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A simple partition wall is all you need to separate the space in this Tamka apartment.

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Slanted roof in a small space? Use it as a design element! 

Tiny spaces, big ideas. What do you think? – XOXO Tiff

Pantone Pick: Blush

I’ve been fixated on Blush for quite some time now.  I’ve seen it everywhere as of late… from the soft blooms of Spring’s first flowers, to my friend Narayani’s new baby’s soft skin.

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Blush has been a major color trend on the runways since last Spring and it’s still one of the hottest colors on the market.  What I find the most fascinating about Blush is the soft, subtle pink hue can either be a neutral tone or a statement.

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The Blush walls go perfectly with this mix of classical and contemporary pieces.

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What a fun room! A pop of yellow compliments the neutral pink in the space.

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A contemporary pink damask wall covering with a rustic dining set.

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Blush looks amazing in this dining room as an accent wall!

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A cozy, yet glamorous living room.

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The pink sofa really stands out next to the black and white pattern wall!

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Blush and gold, a classy combo.

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Reupholster vintage pieces in blush!

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A quirky, pop art hallway.

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Liven up a white space with blush accents.

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Bright and beautiful bedroom.

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Once again, can’t go wrong with matching blush with black and white!

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Love the contrast of the dark wood floor with the blush textiles.

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So sophisticated.

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I love everything about this blush and grey combination.

“When a girl ceases to blush, she has lost the most powerful charm of her beauty” – Unknown

XOXO Tiff

Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin Roof! Rustic!

Once you get to know me, you’ll find that I’m very wayward.  I love to travel and explore new areas of the world so much, that I can’t decide where I’d like to eventually settle down to live.  I drive my husband crazy with “This week, I think we should consider living in Denver” to “remember last month when I said let’s move to Portland? Let’s do that instead!”  Until I find the city/town/village of my dreams and finally convince myself into dumping all my money into a mortgage, I will remain a renter. (And will be for quite some time, I suspect)

Don’t get me wrong, I would eventually like a home to call my own someday. I’ll occasionally find myself scoping through home magazines and residential designs on Pinterest for future plans.  As of right now, I’m OBSESSED with this month’s issue of Elle Decor featuring Ellen’s rustic chic home.  It is a beautiful 26 acre property that once belonged to 20’s actor William Powell turned monastery turned rehab center turned operating horse facility.  The history of their house is interesting enough, but just look at how they combined style and sophistication with rustic, repurposed details. I swoon!

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Fireplace in the kitchen? Yes, please!

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The fireplace is the main focus of the space and they utilized the sides cleverly for storage.

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Skip the typical wicker furniture for your patio and go with comfortable lounge furniture in leather!

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Horse stable turned into offices? Why not?

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Tall, open ceilings  and walls in whitewash brighten up the dining area!

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Imagine throwing house parties here!

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1 of 6 cabins that surround their property.  This is the “Romantic Cabin”

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Aren’t they adorable?

One day, I will find a barn to renovate and call home.  Until then, I will continue my search for the perfect town and drool over inspiring homes, such as Ellen’s.  Oh, and I would love a backyard that looks like this, please and thank you! – XOXO Tiff

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Floral Prints

Ahhh, what a sunny Sunday it was.  The weather was PERFECT yesterday and I spent every single minute I could outside.  I have the sunburn to prove it.

I finally set up my planters and potted some beautiful flowers to decorate my favorite spot on the patio where I typically have my  pot of jasmine tea, knit, or embroider while I watch the pups frolic/chew sticks in the yard.  That spot is my place of zen and the budding flowers make it even happier and more peaceful. I want flowers everywhere now! I was so inspired, I researched floral interiors and found a plethora of beautiful floral wallpaper that, if implemented correctly in the space, can bring a lot of personality into any room!

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The stylized flowers and cheery yellow work so well together!

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This looks like a sexy dressing room from Moulin Rouge! 

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A more subtle pattern with neutral colors.

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Match the main piece in your room with a bold color from the wallpaper .

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So classy! Gold and white work so well together!

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White floors and ceilings with the blue pattern wallpaper really brighten up this space!

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Can’t go wrong with Asian prints!

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I swoon!  The blue and swirling floral pattern creates a relaxing atmosphere.

Feeling inspired yet? If you’d like to add a little nature to your walls, check out Design Your Wall online. They have a little bit of everything, from modern, vintage, glam, to Indie!  Here’s a sneaky peek at their inventory. Let me know what you think! – xoxo Tiff

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Isabelle Duck Egg for you vintage lovers.

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How about this stylized Poppy print?

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Who doesn’t like daisies? Who I ask you??

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The tried and true floral damask in a beautiful magenta!

The Salvage Yard

It’s Spring(ish?)!!!

I love Chicago, but it doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of seasons.  Oh, well.

It may be cold and blowing outside but I’ve been getting into the “spring” of things by re-watching the 1993 version of The Secret Garden for the hundredth time and planning urban gardening projects for my own bit of earth.  My main goal for this year is to collect salvaged goods and utilized them for my garden; such as old coffee burlap bags to grow my sweet potatoes in and reclaimed lumber to make a 4×4 raised bed.  The worn, antique  look brings real character into a garden’s design and I’m doing my part by repurposing items before they’re tossed into some landfill. I can’t wait for this weather to cooperate so I can get my hands dirty!

Here are some other charming upcycled garden examples I came across during my research. Enjoy!

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Mini Greenhouse made from old window frames by North Peace

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Turn a window into a vertical garden! Click here for the tutorial.

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Turn that old light fixture into a bird bath!

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Nail old boxes to the wall and you have a display case for your pots!

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Or use an old ladder as a plant holder.

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Make a  fence or place for vines to grow on with old gears or rims.

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Just one of the many, many ways to repurpose a pallet.

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A mirror adds dimension as well as beauty.

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Repurpose that old toolbox into a planter!

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This colander planter with built-in drainage system!

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Don’t throw away those broken pots!

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 A chair planter? Yes, please! Tutorial here.

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A creative use for old garden fencing.

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Found knobs turned into industrial flowers!

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How about using an industrial table as a workbench or patio furniture?

Do you have a salvage garden?  Please share your ideas or projects with me! XOXO Tiff

Pantone Pick: Emerald

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St. Patrick’s Day is soon upon us and while the Chi-rish are gearing up for Chicago’s biggest rager of the year, I’m dreaming up inspirations for all things Irish… and what is more inspiring for this holiday than the color green?  Emerald exploded on the scene as the color trend of the year and its regal shade inspired different green tones to pop up everywhere from runways to decor.  Personally, its one of my favorite colors to work with.  It adds a relaxing and refreshing feel to any space and, in the right application, adds drama into any room.  Check out these beautiful emerald spaces that will sham-rock your world! #shamelesscheesystpatrickjoke

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How fun is this emerald and pink combination applied with traditional pieces?

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A great way to liven up a hallway or foyer.

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A crisp, bold wall application mixed with fun black and white prints.

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A playful, bohemian living area.

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Add some color to subway tiles and they make the whole space look dramatic!

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Love this Warhol inspired bedroom!

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What genius decor for a patio!

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This velvet sofa is just like a kitty’s fuzzy belly. You just want to rub your face on it.

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Keep the design consistent by matching textiles with small detailing on other furniture pieces.

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Reupholster those classic chairs in this season’s hottest color.

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Or just repaint the frame!

Cabinets (indulgy)

A great way to update those boring kitchen cabinets.

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Keep it subtle by keeping the furniture neutral and the accessories bright!

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Another neutral room with bold curtains.

“May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home. May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam. May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures. May all life’s passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!” –Old Irish Blessing

XOXO Tiff

Bicycle! Bicycle!

Everyone has a place they absolutely hate in their house.  It’s that area that slowly grows into a mountain of tossed clothes, half-finished projects, and other random brickelbrack.  It’s the clutter corner.  For me, it’s my husband’s clutter corner.  As an interior decorator, I try to make sure everything in my apartment has its place.  This is the one area Dave won’t let me touch since he needs “his own space” to throw his random stuff.  I try my best to avoid looking at it as much as possible, otherwise this rage just builds up inside.  There was one thing that sat in the corner for such a long time, though, and I couldn’t stands it no mo’.  A discarded bicycle wheel. IN my apartment.  With no intentional uses for the future. Instead of tossing it out in the alley, I decided to get creative because, you know, that’s what I do…

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Please excuse the desk clutter. Yet another project to tackle…

I love how something that I simply saw as junk is now a functional piece of art in my office area.  The spokes are great at holding paper memos and I also use bright binder clips for better security and an added pop of color.  I love the different reactions I get from my house guests.   I get comments such as “Oh, so clever!” to “You are such a Hipster…”  I have no doubt in my mind that Dave will accumulate more abandoned bike wheels, so I’ve prepared myself for the inevitable by researching other great ways to upcycle a bicycle wheel!

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A clock! If you don’t have the wherewithal to make your own, you can purchase this  model on Etsy.

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A lazy Susan for the dining table.

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A potholder! Just add extension hooks, a sturdy chain, and bolt to the ceiling. Boom.

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A mobile for the outdoors. Or add old glass bottles close together to make a wind chime!

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A garden trellis for you fellow urban gardeners. This works great for sweet peas.

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I see a table like this swank-ing up a bachelor pad.

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My inner flower child is swooning. Swooning!!

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Let your creative juices flow and design a wall mural.

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Create a lighting fixture by wrapping christmas lights around the wheel.

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Decor for a bicycle themed wedding or event.

Can you think up other cool ways to upcycle discarded bicycle wheels? Email me your ideas! XOXO Tiff

Take Me Home, Country Roads…

It has been a looooooong time since my last post! My apologies.  It’s time to focus on updating this blog with fabulous, green design tips on a more consistent basis for you fellow readers.

Why the long delay? Well…

First, this happened:

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And anyone who has gotten married (or had the pleasure of being involved with planning  one) knows the time-suckage that follows planning, organizing, and coordinating a wedding.  Especially us DIY brides….why did we do that to ourselves??? : P

And then, this happened…

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Yes, you are seeing that correctly. I traded the CTA for a tractor, my apartment for a barn loft, homeless people for pigs…who, not surprisingly, smell the same…

I decided that 2013 is going to be a big year for ch-ch-changes!  I was in need of a technological detox and  always dreamed of volunteering my time for a bigger cause.  At the end of December, I moved on from my last employer in order to delve into hands-on work  and gain some perspective.   I found the WWoofing program after a lot of research and found it was the best program for someone who wanted to volunteer and travel for a limited period of time.  One can volunteer their time on an organic farm anywhere in the world for as long as the farm needs your help and they offer room, board, and food. Fabulous! And so I saved, made a plan, and set off to the Pacific Northwest.

What a beautiful experience!  I spent my time working on a women run farm called Growing Seeds in Corbett, OR and everything they grew or raised was donated to the Growing Seeds daycare centers.  What a wonderful concept! How could I not be onboard?  The farm was located right next to the Columbia Gorge, the scenery was absolutely picturesque, and it was only 15 minutes from Portland so I could still get my urban fix.  During my 6 weeks, I felt like I did it all. From gathering and cleaning eggs, building a sheep birthing pen, repairing a greenhouse structure, to mucking a duck coop.  It was hard, but rewarding work.  I’ve also learned quite a bit about composting, preparing the fields and plumes for the spring, and the complexities of becoming certified USDA Organic.  If you see the label on any food product, know it’s the real deal!

After my sabbatical, I’m back here in my city.  Home sweet home.  How I’ve missed my people here, my hang-outs I frequent, and the accessibility… but I find I really miss the simplicity and beauty of living in the country. I’ll miss having my morning cup of tea on the back porch while watching the lambs play,  giving the pigs belly rubs after their late afternoon feeding, and the quiet serenity of nature. On a gloomy, winter Chicago day like today, I was researching country homes and planning for my future one.  Some of the designs I stumbled upon can be implemented into some of the old Victorian or Gable homes I see right here in my neighborhood!

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A classic country farm rehabbed into a contemporary home. French by French Designs

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High, dark ceilings with beautiful, distressed built ins. By LBG Interiors

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Another great example of a high ceiling with exposed beams and a contrasting white kitchen.

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A cozy chalet featuring natural stone and wood elements with a soft, fur rug.

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My dream tub…

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No, wait! THIS is my dream tub…..

Store It Here, Store It There…

Sorry for the lack of new posts, but after traveling for a week, trying to catch up with work, and dealing with strep… my brain is mush momentarily.  Also, having an apartment that feels and looks like this doesn’t help either:

Not as extreme or gross, but you get the idea. 

I love my little apartment, but it really sucks having only 2 closets…..storage is always lacking when it comes to Chicago apartments.  Renters will find that closets are tiny and few and, sometimes, you have to resort to using that neglected oven as blanket and pillow storage.  Being an apartment veteran the past 7 years, I have had to come up with crafty ways to store my clothes, jewelry, and other possessions.  Hanging necklaces on the wall and declaring it art, for one example.  After Pinterest exploded on the scene, it’s good to see other renters got crafty with their space.

In the Kitchen

I love the idea of using pinboards.

Proudly display your dinnerware.

Grab & go system.

The bathroom…

Everything on the door and within reach.

…Or store your towels and supplies above the door!

A lazy susan in the cabinet! Genius!

Every little space available can be utilized!

And your bling…

Let your jewelry as wall art

Fabric tackboards for your jewelry, beautiful!

This reminds me of those 2nd grade presentations we use to do, only cooler.

As a designer and anyone involved with crafting, I find this organization amazing:

I had to chastise myself for not thinking of this before!  Anyone into crafts could use this!  Designers, jewelers, scrapbookers, I could go on and on…How can one recreate this? So simple! All you need to do is run to your nearest Home Depot.

1.) To hang you tools or samples, all you need is a simple towel bar!  That’s right, a simple towel bar,  like the one you can find at Home Depot for only $8!  Buy as many as you need and set up on your wall.

2.) You’ll need extender hooks like these to hang off the bar.  Simple, sturdy, and cute!

3.) A magnetic strip is great for holder scissors, rulers, and other tools so it’s within reach. Only $18 at Target.

What are some cool, crafty way you stored your belongings?

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