21 January 2015
Well, friends, Christmas has finally wrapped up in the Ayer family! Yes, you read that right. My whole family wasn’t able to gather in December due to work and school schedules, so we declared Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend our celebration. The older I get, the more I understand that it’s not so much about when you celebrate, but the people with whom you celebrate!
The highlight of our weekend, however — beating out opening presents, many rounds of Mexican Train, and chasing my 13-month-old niece — had to be the enormous bonfire we lit in my parents’ backyard. My Dad disassembled the playground he had built 25 years prior and that we had spent thousands of hours playing on, and we sent it off in style with 20+ foot tall flames. It was a sight to see. We even roasted marshmallows in the embers after it had been burning for 12 hours!
Thankfully no neighbors called the fire department. In other news, we are making progress on our foyer! You may remember it from our house tour, when it looked a little empty:
It was sporting our beloved nautical chart, but that was about it. Over time, we hope to add a multicolored vintage rug, replace the light fixture, and add some sort of storage or seating. Many moons ago I came across a particular beauty on esalerugs.com, and fell in love:
I would click over to it multiple times a week for several weeks, until the sad notice popped up that it was being shipped to a (lucky!) client. I continued to look over the options every so often, but never saw something I loved quite as much – until this one appeared!
From my time spent browsing the site, I knew it was the one, and at 50% off, it fit within our budget. I showed John, and miracle of miracles, he immediately agreed! He must have know it was the one, too :) Here’s a peek at it in our house!
It arrived within a few days, and we’ve been super happy with the quality so far! Highly recommended. (And tip: if you’re not buying it at 50% off on this site, you shouldn’t be buying it!)
Now that we have the floor layer in place, I’ve moved on to the next! We’ve been debating whether to add a dresser…
Unknown, Seventh House on the Left, Better Homes & Gardens
a console table…
Young House Love, BHG
or a bench:
House Tweaking, Recently, Design*Sponge
John is leading toward a bench, but I like the idea of having a surface. We’d likely combine either with hooks on the wall and a shoe tray. Here’s a bit of inspiration for either scenario!
Mirror, tufted bench, boot tray, console table, flushmount light, dresser
Which would you choose? Do you have one or the other set-up in your house, and do you like it?
4 December 2014
Neutral in color, of course, not neutral as in boring! Here are some of my favorite picks for classic, cozy gifts to give and get.
A. Tortoise tray ($40) | Perfect to corral anything that needs corraling
B. Fir + Blue Sage candle ($30) | We love giving these candles as gifts but have kept several for our house, too. Once they burn down you’re left with a beautiful drinking glass!
C. Plaid tassel scarf ($68) | I fell in love with this scarf when Lisa posted it, and can think of about 10 people who would love to be gifted it! Apparently I’m not the only one, since it’s currently sold-out online. Maybe you could find it in stores?
D. Bell pitcher ($48) | I’m glad Meredith and Michael introduced me to this company, but now I want one of everything! Perfect for holding utensils or Queen Anne’s lace.
E. Plaid throw ($20) | Festive enough for Christmas, but neutral enough for year-round use
F. Ava star bracelet ($38) | Gorgeous and sparkly, and made by women in Uganda
G. Metallic taper candle holders ($13-$18) | Would look festive on any table or mantel
H. O Holy Night print ($20) | We received the canvas version as a wedding present, and it’s the star of our Christmas decor!
I. A Heifer animal (varies) | Whether you choose a goat or a flock of chickens, a donation to Heifer is the perfect gift for the person who has everything.
J. Hot cider candle ($24) | A delicious scent for fall, plus you’re left with a nifty enamel cup!
K. Nordic candle holders ($5 and $13) | I came thisclose to buying these in the store the other day, but decided to save my pennies. They’re so pretty and delicate in person!
L. Crystal garland bracelet ($36) | Just sparkly enough. Would look great in a mix with other bangles!
M. Anchor tray ($35) | Sea-inspired storage
P.S. More neutral gift guides here:
12 November 2014
Sometimes, we just don’t get things right on the first try, am I right? Once I started to plan our house’s color scheme, I knew I wanted to order a very large canvas of one of our wedding photos for the long wall on our first floor. The colors were perfect, and I loved the idea of being reminded of that beautiful day without having life-size portraits of ourselves staring back at us!
We saved up and ordered the largest size available through our photographer as our Christmas gift to each other in 2013. When it arrived, I was blown away by the quality (it looks like a painting even very close up!), but was a little sad it wasn’t larger. It’s 36×24″, but I would have loved for it to be even a foot wider to really fill that space.
For the last several months, I’ve known the wall was not finished, but I couldn’t figure out what to add to it thanks to a very unfortunately placed thermostat – right in the middle of the wall!! How rude. If this was our forever house, I would bust in and move that sucker over to sit on top of the light switch, but alas, that is not in the cards here. Slightly awkward, isn’t it?
Finally, I realized that instead of creating a grouping around the canvas to fill that space (I could never figure out a good way to do it), the best option would be to move the canvas over and add new art in its place. I would love to do a grid of four large frames, very orderly, to balance out the single large canvas and the more organic gallery grouping on the other living room wall. Please excuse my very poor Photoshop skills, but something like this…
I’ve been looking for a spot to do a grid like this, so I’m glad I finally found one! Here’s my inspiration:
Sources: Design Mom | HGTV | unknown | Design*Sponge
For the frames, I’m planning to do light wood – Target has some great options right now that I hope are large enough! I think black would be too harsh and white wouldn’t have enough contrast against our white wall. The photos will be black and white family photos, I think – maybe wedding themed. We shall see, and I will update y’all when we do!
P.S. More photos of our home!
27 October 2014
Have y’all ever explored the H&M home category? I just did for the first time over the weekend, and was super impressed! Lots of simple, good-looking goods that would be perfect for colder weather festivities, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. A few of my favorites:
Top to bottom and left to right: 2-pack checked napkins ($6) | cotton tablecloth ($25) | cake stand ($10) | candle holder ($10) | Christmas tree mat ($18) | cotton table runner ($10) | cotton tablecloth ($25) | dotted baby blanket ($18) | navy checked baby blanket ($18) | gray star place mat ($10) | checked throw ($35) | linen tablecloth ($60) | checked cushion cover ($18)
I’m thinking either the Christmas tree mat or the star tablecloth will be coming home with me. Any favorites from H&M home? Have any of you ever bought anything from them?
22 October 2014
As y’all know, I just finished sorting through the boxes my parents brought to our house from my childhood home. Though I brought a good chunk of my things when we first moved to North Carolina, there was a lot still left up north – we weren’t sure how long we were going to be here and we were only moving to an apartment, so we didn’t have that much room for storage! The remnants have been slowly migrating for the last few years, whenever my parents had room in their suitcases. The pile I just finished tackling represented the last big haul, so working through it felt like the completion of an epic project!
There were all sorts of goodies to sort through, including Irish dance trophies, elementary school yearbooks, and graduation gifts, but the bulk was magazine clippings. I’ve been a continual subscriber to Better Homes & Gardens and Martha Stewart Weddings since the seventh grade, and kept meticulous manila files of my favorite tear-outs over the years. I tossed the majority, but when I got to the Coastal Living Idea House from 2001 (13 years ago!), I stopped. It’s the first home inspiration I remember saving, and after all these years, it’s still my ultimate dream home. That porch!!
As I sat on the floor of our spare room and flipped through the pages, I was overcome by a really sweet feeling – a realization that I now have what that 14-year-old self dreamed about: a home of my very own, shared with the one I love most. Pretty amazing.
Some folks asked to see more when I posted this on instagram, so I thought I’d share a few more scanned shots here! After all, I may have a house of my own, but I think I’ll still keep this one around for future inspiration :)
Ten years after the Coastal Living feature, my jaw dropped when I flipped the page in Better Homes & Gardens and saw my house (or a very similar one in the same community) featured! It was so fun to see more angles:
And just for fun, a few more random clippings that made the “save” pile and were scanned for Pinterest posting:
It’s comforting to be reminded that some things never go out of style, isn’t it?
Do you have an ultimate dream home? If so, please share! If it’s online, I’d love to take a peek :)