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Building a Dream House: Master Bathroom Tour

white subway tile with a claw foot tub

I have a huge confession: we are so good at starting projects around the Dream House, and so, so, so bad at finishing them! I keep coming up with awesome new ideas for posts for this column, and I’ll do a teaser post or a post about starting the project, and then months later, the project still isn’t done. So I have to find new things to post about. It’s like starting a new book every day and never finishing a single one. But it hit me again the other night that I haven’t given you a tour of very many rooms in the Dream House. We covered the kitchen a few months ago, but I feel like most of the rooms are still works in progress, so I don’t want to show them to you yet. Except for the master bathroom. For some strange reason, the master bathroom was the first room to be fully decorated and ready to go around here. Ok, probably more like 99% decorated, which is pretty good in my book! So here we go: a Dream House master bathroom tour!

grey bathroom with white woodwork and vanities

One of the things people comment on when they look around our house is the lack of counter space in the bathrooms. We purposely didn’t put in vanities with lots of horizontal storage space because in our experience, horizontal surfaces mean one thing: clutter. If you put a horizontal surface somewhere, it will slowly fill with stuff. Stacks of books, bottles of lotion, phone chargers, a pair of earrings you took off 3 weeks ago and absentmindedly set down. The stuff just piles up. So we made a conscious effort to plan thoughtful, out-of-sight storage instead of lots of horizontal counter space. The master bathroom in the Dream House has wall-mounted medicine cabinets for items that get used every day, like toothbrushes, contact lenses, and chapstick. There’s a little ladder-shaped shelf between the vanities that offers plenty of temporary surface area where you can put your hairbrush or make-up while you’re getting ready. And there’s a tall, floor-to-ceiling linen closet for extra toilet paper, clean bed sheets, and baskets full of odds and ends.

floor to ceiling built in linen closet

We fell in love with some very beautiful and very expensive vanities in a fancy catalog, and decided to see if we could get something similar made for a lot less. The sinks come from IKEA, and the bases were custom made by our cabinet maker. They look exactly like the expensive ones we loved, and were a fraction of the cost. My favorite thing about the vanities is shelf at the bottom of each that holds a wire basket filled with towels. I had that set-up pictured in my mind months before we moved in, and it was one of the first things I did last Fall after getting settled.

custom built vanity with IKEA sink

My husband is one of those guys that actually has opinions about how he wants the house to look. Most of the decisions about what kind of fixtures or carpet or flooring or tile to put in the house were very much a joint decision. But the enormous walk-in shower in the master bathroom was all him. Everyone in the family loves showers, and we usually throw all the kids in there at the same time. In our old house with the teeny-tiny shower, that was tough to do (although no one complained), but the new walk-in shower is perfect for hosing off three or four kids at once. The floor and ceiling are covered in the same white subway tile as the walls in the rest of the bathroom, and the floor has the same white hex tile. But to add interest, we did a wrap around mosaic tile stripe in shades of minty green and grey. It’s the most popular place in the whole house!

walk in tiled shower

Here are a few more fun detail shots of the bathroom. We are really happy with it!

wire basket under bathroom vanity

linen closet with baskets and glass doors

grey bathroom with white woodwork and oil-rubbed bronze fixtures

chair in the corner of the bathroom

grey bathroom with white woodwork, vanities, and oil-rubbed bronze fixtures

Organize With This: DIY Back To School Projects

We are smack dab in the middle of back-to-school season and with it always comes the need to start fresh with organization. It is time to get back to daily routines, lunch packing and nightly homework, which I always find a bit welcoming after a few months of lazy yet playful summer days.

Back-to-school season typically comes with a bit of shopping for new supplies, clothing and gear to ensure everyone is well equipped for a successful year. However, all of that shopping can get expensive, and when it comes to finding ways to organize the papers and schedules, I like to try my hand at some creative DIY solutions. Often times, there are fun crafts and activities that can be done with the kids to be sure everyone is involved and on the same organizing page.

Here is a lovely round-up of DIY school related projects that are sure to help your family transition into the best school year yet.

Organized School Station

Courtesy of Centsational Girl

Grab a quart of paint and give a dated piece of furniture a whole new life and function. Above, an old media cabinet was transformed into a functional homework station complete with paper, supplies, a computer and calendar. Homework stations create a cozy and consistent place to focus on daily studies, keeping all of the essentials within reach.

DIY Craft Caddy

Courtesy of Fynes Designs

If you don’t have a specific homework station carved out, this DIY caddy is a fantastic alternate solution. Fill it with tubes and jars with daily homework essentials such as pens, pencils, highlighters, glue, scissors, etc… and you have yourself a portable homework station that can be used at the dining table or kitchen counter.

DIY Book Caddy

Courtesy of IHeart Organizing

Who knew dish racks could be so versatile? Sure, they are great for drying your daily dinnerware, however, they can also double as file storage and as the sweetest book organizer around.

DIY Calendar

Courtesy of The 36th Avenue

School and busy schedules go hand-in-hand. Keep the entire family on the same page by creating a large DIY calendar. Whether you utilize dry erase paint or a chalkboard decal, by creating an oversized version that can be mounted in a centralized location, everyone will know when baseball practice lands and what day the final exam takes place.

Homework Station Paper Roll

Courtesy of IHeart Organizing

Another way to manage daily homework assignments and chores, is to install a roll of paper on a towel bar just above their desk. By adding chalkboard clips, your child can easily check off his or her daily tasks.

DIY Clothing Dividers

Manage the morning mad dash to the bus by being prepared a few days ahead of time. Day-of-the-week clothing dividers can be made from cereal box cardboard to organize pre-planned clothing attire.

DIY Drawer Dividers

Courtesy of IHeart Organizing

Looking for more ways to re-use empty food packaging? These colorful DIY drawer dividers will keep daily school supplies nice and tidy.

DIY Lunch Bags

Courtesy of The Purl Bee

These DIY lunch bags are sure to be the talk of the lunch table! And although we are talking back-to-school, I am about to sew one for myself because they are just so charming!

DIY Pencil Pouch

Courtesy of Kireei

Small zippered pouches offer endless versatility and can store everything from charging cables to coloring pencils and work wonders for keeping a backpack organized. And bonus, they are something that you can make at home with your sewing machine!

DIY Paper Organizer

Courtesy of Crazy Little Projects

How about creating a portable desk with the help of some fabric and elastic? This DIY on-the-go organizer has the ability to hold a phone or calculator, notes, pens, a tablet and paper! This little setup is fantastic for students studying at home, at school and even in the car or bus.

Paperclip Page Flags

Courtesy of Paper & Pin

For those of you that prefer lighter DIY projects, these little paperclip flags may be just what you are looking for. Simply pair washi tape with paper clips and you will create some very functional yet fancy page markers.

DIY Color Block Pencils

Courtesy of The Crafted Life

Another charming and simple way to dress up everyday school supplies is with a little craft paint!

DIY Wall Cubbies

Courtesy of The House of Wood

And last but not least, these stunning DIY wall pockets are the perfect solution for managing the abundance of papers and books that come home from school each day.

How are you getting creative with your back-to-school organization this year?

How to Wear Fall’s Prettiest Makeup Looks

Transitioning your makeup routine to cooler weather typically involves ditching everything spring-y (and dare we say fun?) in favor of dark, moody colors. No so this year. New fall launches feature tons of upbeat blues, teals, and greens for eyes and feminine pinks for lips. Since these saturated colors can be scary for some, we asked a few of our favorite beauty experts for ideas on how to wear these runway favorites in real life.

Clockwise from top: Clockwise from top: Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Defining EyeShadow Wet/Dry in Emerald Envy, Hyper Teal, and Blue Fury, $25 each; Clinique Skinny Stick in Lanky Lapis, $16.50; Vintage by Jessica Liebeskind Velvet Lip Crayon in Vintage Rose, $22; Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Amazing Grace, $32; Maybelline New York Lip Studio Color Blur in I’m Blushing, $8.99; Lancôme Grandiôse Mascara in Bleu Mirifique, $32; Photo: Jeff Harris.


Smoky eye: Blogger Caralyn Brook of recently demoed a dramatic new twist on the traditional smoky eye. Instead of smudging charcoal or even black shadow, she used a combination of rose gold and metallic green. If you’re not a fan of green, this look would also work with bright blue, navy, or teal options. Click here for the full tutorial.


Photo courtesy of Caralyn Brook/Mascara


Subtle liner: Not ready to go crazy with color on your eyes? That’s totally fine. Instead of going all out with shadow, try a  swoosh of eyeliner along your bottom lashes. Clinique tapped makeup artist Florrie White to show you how to achieve the look with their new ultra-precise liner called the Skinny Stick (shown in Mini Moss, below).  Again, you can do this with any of the new hues: Blues, greens, and teals are all a go. Click here for the full video.


Photo courtesy of Clinique


Pink lips: A matte finish is the way to go, since super-shiny can look a little juvenile in this shade. For a full-on statement, just swipe the color onto your mouth and be done with it. For a more subdued take, try dabbing the product onto your lips with your pointer finger—you’ll get a subtle wash of pink. Bobbi Brown makeup artist Cassandra Garcia created the look below for the fall 2015 Tibi runway show.


Photo courtesy of Bobbi Brown



5 Tips for Carrying a Palette Throughout the Home

Hi BHG readers!  My name is Lauren Liess and I’m the decorator for the 2015 BHG Innovation Home. My firm began the decorating plans this past Winter, and I’m so excited to walk you through our thought process as we get closer to the big reveal in October. Today, I’m sharing tips for how keep a color palette cohesive throughout an entire home.

1. Stick to a general palette and vary the accent colors to keep it interesting.

When I’m working on a palette for a house, I like to carry a general color scheme throughout and vary the accent colors in different proportions. For the Innovation Home, I started with a heavy dose of blue and added in green and yellow accents at different ratios throughout the house. Some rooms are more heavily accented in yellow, whereas other colors are more accented in green.

2. The walls don’t need to do all the color “work.”

It’s still possible to have a colorful space with neutral walls by bringing in color with the furnishings, curtains and other accents. For example in the Innovation Home living room, I used a blue sofa and blue patterned curtains which make the palette come across as very “blue” without actually painting the walls blue, but in other rooms, I used blue walls and different-colored furnishings to stay true to my palette.

3. Think of texture like a color in your palette.

For the natural, relaxed look I love, texture is key and is as important to a palette as any color would be.  Just as I made sure to include particular colors in the Innovation Home palette, I was also careful to include lots of natural woven textures–like seagrass, grasscloth, and water hyacinth–throughout.

4. Opt for earthy.

In a fresh color palette, I like to include enough “earthy” materials and colors so that the color palette doesn’t start to feel too cute or juvenile. Pieces of wood furniture, worn metals and natural all work to add depth and sophistication to a colorful palette.

5. Choose paint color last.

Select paint colors for a house last, after already choosing the furnishings and the fabrics. It’s much easier to find paint colors that work with fabrics than it is the other way around.

New York City makeup artist and photographer Tina Turnbow preps A-lister faces for the red carpet, magazines, and personal appearances on the regular. (Allow us to name drop: You’ve seen her work on Keri Russell, Debra Messing, Amanda Peet, Mary Louise Parker, and many, many more.) Here, five products she always keeps in her glam-on-the-go kit:

CoverGirl LashBlast Clump Crusher Mascara is one of my favorite mascaras ever. I use it on my clients all the time—it’s surprisingly dramatic. The secret is to really wiggle it into the root of the lashes, and then used the curved brush to push the hairs up and give everything a little lift.”

WEI Tibetan Chrysanthemum Correcting Eye Treatment Pads are perfect if eyes look tired. You won’t believe how well they work! The individual pads are cold, so they constrict the blood vessels, tightening puffiness. You’ll look more awake in minutes. All of my clients die over them.”

LORAC Pro Palettes come with tons of super pigmented shades. You can blend them out so they’re sheer or concentrate the color for a bolder look. You can even use them as liner. Plus, I love that they have real staying power, and I can trust that they won’t crease throughout the night.”

“Bright lipstick will call attention to any flakiness or dryness on the lips. Before I apply a bright color, I always prep the lips with Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. Dab it on with a finger, then leave it on for at least one minute, so it has time to sink in.”

“NARS Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder takes down shine without making skin look flat in photos. It has really nice light reflecting properties and leaves skin with a flattering smooth texture. I use a fluffy brush to dust it onto the T-zone.”

Get the Look: Elements of a Stylish Stairwell

Beautiful stairwells with loads of personality are on my brain these days. I painted my stairwell (goodbye beige) a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m working on adding personality to it. And naturally that got me to thinking about the elements of a stylish stairway: banisters, artwork, the stair surface (carpet, wood), and walls. Here’s what I’m feeling inspired by currently:

1. Banisters

If the architecture of your stairwell allows for a visual banister, consider something outside the box. Railings can come in a variety of different materials – anything from wood to metal or glass. These two below are my current faves due to their bright colors.

A gorgeous fretwork railing is stunning on its own, but painted this eye-popping coral, it becomes a serious style statement.

Coral fretwork


This metal railing feels fresh and beachy painted in a bold marine blue.

Blue banister


2. Artwork

This collection of family photos in black and white has loads of personality when framed in bright emerald green frames to match the painted “runner.”


But if your style runs a little more eclectic, this colorful display feels fun with a varied collection of frames, artwork, and other ephemera. Did you see the zebra runner too? It’s all a fun spin on what looks to be an otherwise traditional space (those floors and banister!).

funky gallery wall


Speaking of eclecticism, all the mirrors on this stairwell are totally different, but they are given continuity thanks to their monochromatic color scheme. This would be an easy and potentially inexpensive DIY with mirrors from estate or garage sales. A fresh coat of spray paint et voila!

Fretwork railing


3. Flooring

The options for stairwell flooring runs the gamut. We currently have carpet, but I’m curious about removing it and doing something a little more visual. Runners are a great way to express your style – anything from a specific shape, such as this Chinoiserie-inspired nailhead runner to something a little more casual like a stripe.



Sisal is a chic option, and it feels so clean and crisp when bordered in this black contrast trim.

Urban Electric


But there’s something to be said for full-on carpet when it’s as colorful and graphic as this green quatrefoil below.

Quatrefoil carpet runner


For all you DIY-ers out there, check out Dash & Albert’s extremely detailed how-to post on installing your own runners. This makes me think I could absolutely tackle this project myself!

4. Walls

Wallpaper, paint, or trim — any of these can add style to the stairwell. I love how this white and black polka dot wallpaper below feels especially preppy with that emerald green runner. It isn’t overwhelming since it’s papered on only one wall.

polka dot walls


And for texture, shiplap adds loads of charm and texture.

Shiplap stairs


I love a great stairwell and it’s a great place to have some fun. I can’t wait to finalize the design for mine!

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