7 November 2017
Cast about on Pinterest and you’ll very quickly find exhaustive (and exhausting!) lists about what to include in a guest room. Some of them are helpful, but many go a little overboard, I think! It’s important to remember our guests aren’t coming to us because we’re the Ritz-Carlton — they’re coming to us to enjoy our company, and gracious hospitality is an added bonus.
With all of our family living at least a state away, we’re no strangers to house guests. As we approach the holidays, here are the few of the things we’ve done (and some that we’d like to do!) that have made their stays comfortable and special…
1. Hang a mirror in the bedroom. If, as in our home, a few bedrooms share the same bathroom, it’s great to have mirrors in the bedrooms to cut down on morning congestion — that way, gals can do their makeup, etc. without delaying showers. I’m hoping to hang this one in our main guest room (above) before our Christmas guests arrive!
2. Set out a few essentials. Your guest bathroom doesn’t need to function as a pharmacy, but it’s nice to stock a few things guests may have forgotten either on the counter or in a drawer: a toothbrush, toothpaste, tampons (those can go in the drawer, ha!), Q-tips, a shower cap, etc. We keep larger pump bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in the shower instead of using and tossing bar soap every time. Don’t forget to keep a few extra rolls of toilet paper where guests can easily find them! And to REALLY be prepared for everything, always have one of these within arm’s reach — your guests will thank you!!
3. Add greenery. Because of their fleetingness, a bud vase of blooms or clipped greenery from your neighborhood says “I thought of you and I’m excited you’re here” like nothing else.
4. Make space. Clear a few hangers in the closet and empty out a drawer if there’s a dresser in the room. Until I had a child I NEVER unpacked anywhere, but now that we usually share a suitcase, it’s so much nicer to get things organized in a drawer, even if we’re only staying for a day or two!
5. Hang them up. Right now, our guest bath has three towel bars, which seems generous, but when 6+ people are sharing the bathroom, space runs out quickly. Before Christmas, I’m hoping to remove one of the bars and add hooks, instead, to give everyone a place to dry their towels! My Parisienne heart kind of loves these ones.
6. Light the way. Especially if you have older guests (or much younger ones!), add a nightlight or two to the hallway for nighttime bathroom runs.
7. Stock their room. Set out folded towels before they arrive. Tuck an extra blanket and extra pillows in the closet. Keep a box of tissues on the nightstand and a little wastebasket in the corner. Add a stack of a few of your favorite books or magazines. Write out the wi-fi password on a post-it note, or pop it in a little frame if you’re feeling fancy.
8. Make it comfy. We recently purchased this fluffy mattress topper for our “blue bedroom,” and for $60 it has made that room’s overly-firm mattress SO much comfier. Five stars.
9. Pack some snacks. If you don’t think your guests will be comfortable rummaging through your pantry (not a problem with my family, ha!), set out a basket or tray with a few snacks on your counter: granola bars, bananas, apples, clementines, trail mix, little bags of Pirate’s Booty…
10. Leave the light on. Finally, if your guests are arriving in the evening, I think one of the loveliest touches is turning on a bedside lamp in their room to greet them. There’s nothing like a soft, warm glow to set a cozy tone.
Before I leave you, it has to be said: when we first moved to our house, our guest bedrooms were largely empty, and the thought of rounding up eight pillows to sleep all of our family members when they came for Christmas was daunting (and required stretching the budget to secure one for each person, let alone extras!).
Your guests don’t expect anything close to perfection; they just want to spend time with you. Hopefully some of these ideas are helpful, but know that all of them are overshadowed by a kind, warm, engaged hostess – you!! It’s not about being fancy or photographable, it’s about setting the scene for a relaxed, memorable visit with the ones you love. Let that guide your preparations, and you’ll be golden.
Any other tips to add? I know there are so many more! My friend left a water carafe on my bedside table when I visited her last year, and it made me feel so chic! :)
P.S. We always make our guests sign our guest book — there is a strong tradition of guest books in our family!
Photos by Anna Routh from our last home tour. Affiliate links are used in this post!
3 November 2017
Soon after June was born and we realized how much time we’d be spending on the floor for the foreseeable future, a new rug for our living room moved to the top of our “to buy” list. While I loved the look of our old rug, it was scratchy and thin (and I even predicted at the time we would want to replace it when a kiddo came along!).
For its replacement, we wanted something soft and plush. I’ve also always loved the look of Turkish/Persian/Oriental-style rugs, vintage or otherwise, so that was our top choice. (Plus, all those colors can more easily hide spills!) These were a few of the photos that inspired me:
Glitter Guide, My Domaine, My Domaine, Style At Home, Traditional Home
I logged several weeks of searching my usual haunts – like esalerugs, where I’ve had good luck before – but everything in the size we wanted (9×12) was absurdly out of our price range. Then, I stumbled upon the Betty rug on One Kings Lane, and couldn’t believe my eyes. While the colors weren’t perfect, the price absolutely was – $575 + shipping and taxes (our total ended up right at $650). Since we were able to sell our old rug for $100, our net price was just over $500, which I think is incredible!
We eagerly rolled the rug out when it arrived a few days later and… meh. I felt it was way more orange and brown in person than it had appeared in the online photo, and the blue was more steely than aqua. On the plus side, the plushness was just what we were hoping for, the size was right, and the price, of course, was excellent.
I debated for several days whether to return it and try again, but in the end, I didn’t think I could find anything I’d like better even close to that price and decided I just needed to accept it and move on.
We’ve now had it for about a year and a half, and I still feel about the same way, ha! I wish it had more pink instead of orange, that the blue was brighter, and that there was less brown. (My dream rug is pretty much this one, but at six times the price of our current rug, it’s not happening unless the CWD crew gives it to me for free :)) But it’s served us very well, and if I ever find a reasonably-priced rug I like better, I know I’ll be able to get a good resale price on this one. Plus, we’ve gotten lots of nice compliments on it from visitors, and that’s always appreciated :)
Oh rugs… they are so hard! Any pieces in your home you’re currently living with because the price is right? :)
P.S. If you want to snag our rug for yourself, it’s currently on OKL for only $499, which is less than we paid!! Such a steal!
Affiliate links are used in this post!
7 April 2017
John and I could not be more excited about our backyard project being underway! It’s still sometimes hard to believe it’s actually happening, because we’ve been talking about it for so long with no action!! But it’s real, it’s happening, and sooner than not the landscape folks will have packed up and we’ll be enjoying an entirely new backyard. I thought I’d share a little about our plans and inspiration, if you’re curious!
We had many months to plan and dream about what we’d like to include in our backyard, and here’s the wish list we came up with:
— more privacy
— more usable, flat lawn space
— L-shaped stairs leading down from the house, good for perching
— a pergola
— a flagstone patio with space for a dining table and fire pit
— string lights!
We are happily getting all of this, and we are so grateful! Here’s a little more detail about the major components of our plan:
— Remove the deck. In addition to liking the look of a patio more than a deck, we felt that dropping our seating area down three feet, to ground level, would help with privacy – because instead of having our heads above fence-level when seated, they would be below, so we wouldn’t constantly be looking into our neighbors’ yards.
— Remove two trees and level/grade the lawn. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE trees. Probably more than most people. Just ask John – I’m always grumbling about how the builders around here clear cut for new neighborhoods. But, in order to grade our lawn and maximize the small amount of space we have to work with, the trees had to go. Grading will also really help with privacy.
— Build a retaining wall. To deal with the differential created by grading our lawn, we’ll build a curving retaining wall along our back fence. Eventually it will be planted with lovely flowers and shrubs, but those will probably be added in over time as the budget allows.
— Add a patio. The deck will be replaced with a natural flagstone patio with space for dining, our grill, and a small fire pit. We were told flagstone was out of our budget by many landscaping companies, and I’m so grateful that we finally found the company we eventually hired!
— Add stairs and a walkway. Though we could have gone with simple wooden stairs down from the two doors leading to our backyard, I really wanted to make the stairs a focal point. They’ll also be made from flagstone, and should be an inviting place for people to perch. I can imagine friends lounging on them while hot dogs are grilling nearby and kids are playing on the lawn, which makes me so happy! A walkway will lead from the patio to our gate.
— Build a pergola. As a final privacy measure, we’ll be adding an airy, wooden screen on one side of the patio on which we can grow jasmine or climbing roses. It will also give us something to string lights to and from, a major priority! :)
And now, for a few inspiration pictures…
These images all helped inspire my vision for our stairs. I love how wide and welcoming they each are! And that Lucy Cuneo porch photo, top right… that’s the dream right there. Hoping to add lots of potted plants to our steps, too!
I had to include the backyard of our friends Meredith and Michael (middle right) – it’s always been one of my favorites!
I’m sure our backyard will not look nearly as good as any of these lovely spots, especially before our plants grow in, but these images all inspired me in some way – either the size of the lawn, or the materials used, or the shape of the space. Many of these have much larger pergolas than we’ll have, but I do love that look!
Over time, we hope to add lots of plantings for a lush, green look. I would love to include hostas, Confederate jasmine, climbing roses (maybe “Super Fairy”), David Austen roses, mock orange, and hydrangea! We’re also keeping our vegetable garden, and I’d love to find a spot to add more blueberry bushes.
So that’s our plan! So far, the deck and trees have been removed, the yard is partially graded, and the steps are partially constructed. We have our fingers crossed everything will be finished by the end of April, which would give us a few weeks to enjoy before it gets super hot out, haha!
Would y’all be interested in seeing in-progress shots, or should the next post be the reveal? Let me know what you think! :)
14 November 2016
Like so many lovely and marvelous things, I was introduced to Farmhouse Pottery via my friend Meredith – and immediately put one of their pieces on my wish list. Their elegant, rustic pottery is deceptively simple, but instantly recognizable. (I think it’s that unglazed bottom!)
I’m not even sure if they knew about my wish list, but when my in-laws visited Farmhouse’s workshop and store in Woodstock, Vermont a few months ago, they came home with a beehive crock for me! I probably looked like the heart-eyes emoji when I unwrapped the box :) It’s been the most beautiful spot for cut flowers, like the prettiest leftovers from the V9 launch party, above.
Fingers crossed I’ll get to visit their workshop myself some day, but in the meantime, I’ll follow along with their GORGEOUS (but also real-feeling) Instagram feed and add more pottery to my Christmas list! Starting with this and this :)
Any marvelous discoveries y’all have made lately?