Jill Waage

Building a New Home: 5 Important Lessons We Learned

1. The big three: Siding, Roofing, and Stone

We spent days debating between a gray-ish taupe or a beige-ish gray for the siding. Did the stone facing make the taupe siding look too green? Did the gray make the brown stones look too brown? What about the roofing color? Once we put all three side by side, the combination became obvious.

Lesson: Always choose exterior materials at the same time.


2. The kitchen Island

Mere inches seem like miles when you’re talking about storage and workspace for an island. First, we had to prioritize: More storage or breakfast bar seating? In the end, we came up with features that gave us both. Although we didn’t want a huge island (How do you reach the center to clean?), we were able to gain more storage by making the layout T-shaped with a raised end cabinet and still had space for plenty of stools.

Lesson: Think outside the box when you’re outfitting the island.

3. Bathroom floorplans

How many times do you think you can re-arrange a bathroom? Well, for the three-and-a-half baths in the house, we went through no less than 10 iterations. And that doesn’t count the pencil sketches or iPad doodles. Or the versions our kitchen and bath designer worked over in her own head before showing to us. However, going through those iterations did get us to a clever arrangement for the master bath that is far from where we started. And allowed innovative bath products to shine—a tub with music, a shower with digital controls, and a really cool way to watch TV.

Lesson: There is more than one way to design a bath. Don’t feel hemmed in by conventional layouts.


4. The TV placement in the living room

This could be the most discussed wall in the entire house! With the changes in television sizes and formats, the design of a media wall isn’t the standard proposition that it used to be. We knew we wanted to showcase its spot in today’s family life, so we turned to our designer for help. She came up with a configuration for the TV, fireplace, and shelving that is sleek, balanced, and modern. And feels right at home in the open floorplan.

Lesson: Because electronics will continue to change, think about flexibility. And remember that finishes and paint colors can help integrate a television seamlessly into a room.

5. And the easiest decision? Black cladding for the windows. We loved it in theory and we’re loving it in reality. Some things you just know.

Lesson: Trust your instincts.


Rachel Shingleton

Get the look: Matisse-Inspired Decor & Accessories

Get the look: inspired by Henri Matisse. Wallpaper by Kate Zaremba. Pagoda print by Pencil Shavings Studio

Have you noticed that Matisse-inspired decor and accessories are all the rage these days? Maybe it’s the recent exhibition at MoMA of Matisse’s cut-outs that has everyone excited again about the sea-like designs and technicolor graphic symbols, but Matisse’s influence lives on, even over sixty years after his death.

Henri Matisse was born in France and was one of the founders of Fauvism. With a career that lasted until his death at the age of 84, Matisse dabbled in a variety of different mediums including painting, sculpture, graphic design, and paper cutting. All told, his paintings were magnetic to me with their use of color and were the ones I gravitated to most when I was an art student in Paris over ten years ago. The brilliantly unexpected paintings of the women in technicolor-hued spaces inspired similar (but poorly rendered!) versions of my own little Parisian apartment. I fell in love with his bold interiors in unusual color schemes. There is a ridiculous amount of inspiration to be had: women reclining on yellow sofas (velvet maybe?), goldfish swimming in bowls, patterned dhurrie rugs, and striped linens create a dizzying amount of texture and visual interest.

Paintings by Fauvist Henri Matisse

sources: Henri Matisse

So how does this translate to interiors? There are oodles of items to be found inspired by Matisse, especially the paper cut series. I recently picked up a roll of Kate Zaremba‘s gorgeous multi-hued wallpaper as shown above (also in black) and I couldn’t love it more. It’s currently pinned up on the wall in my studio, but imagine how stunning it would be in a powder bathroom. She also offers the same print in textiles such as these placemats.

Kate Zaremba

Porthault Matisse-inspired linens

Porthault offers this Matisse-inspired print in its luxury line of linens. If you want to keep from going overboard on the pattern, pair it with a solid hue and do pops of color on accent pillows to compliment the busy print.DIY Matisse bowl w/ balloon

If you’re of the DIY persuasion, check out this fun little egg created by Karuski’s Little Shop of Colours. It was made by attaching paper-cut shapes to a balloon with mod podge. So clever – I’m tempted to try this one with my 7 year old! I’m sure he’d love popping the balloon after the paper dried. (Oh, if you’re looking for more Matisse-inspired projects, check out this book over on Amazon.)Karen Kimmel

Finally, Karen Kimmel Studios offers this shape-shifter mobile in a couple of different colorways. It would be great to hang on a wall or in a child’s bedroom.

Ok, friends – tell me, are you inspired by Matisse? Share your fave finds in the comments!

Erin Menardi

We Heart It: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is right around the corner–and what better way to show her how much you love her than with a handmade gift she’ll absolutely love? This week, take a look at some cute ideas I rounded up for all of the wonderful women in your life!


Keepsakes are always in style–if she loves to cook, something like this adorable hand print apron from Simply + Kierste could be the perfect way to say thank you for everything she does!



Everyone loves getting flowers–make hers extra special by making a personalized vase to hold them in! I love this idea from Homes Stories A to Z.



If she can’t make it to the spa, help her relax with these deliciously-scented lavender lemon soaps from A Pumpkin And A Princess!



If you’ve got a few extra hours this week, try this adorable Mother’s Day sign from Sawdust And Embryos. Personalize the words, colors and shape to express all of her wonderful qualities!



And sometimes, flowers are the perfect touch. If you’re lucky enough to have multiple moms to give gifts to, make a batch of these gorgeous mini bouquets from Homey Oh My! for a simple way to say, “I love you.”



Have a wonderful week! Show those ladies some love.




BHG Guest Blogger

5 Tips for Setting the Perfect Summer Table

Hi! I’m Camille Styles, founder of CamilleStyles.com and author of Camille Styles Entertaining.

I would definitely call myself a “summer girl” — it’s the season I most look forward to all year long. Growing up, my end-of-May birthday usually fell during the last week of school, and even now the day represents freedom in my mind: the time to lighten up and have some fun! There’s nothing like that first dip in the pool that recalls sunny childhood memories and gets me in the mood to ditch work early for a picnic in the park complete with cold fried chicken, juicy strawberries and fresh-squeezed lemonade. This is the season for unfussy, effortless entertaining; fine china and perfectly-arranged flowers just don’t feel right at this time of year! Here’s how I set a table fit for a dinner party that captures the carefree vibe of summer.

1. Dress the table in summery textures. In the same way I might throw on shirts in fabrics like linen when it’s hot outside, think in terms of light, breathable materials like cotton and linen when dressing your table for a dinner party. I have a collection of light blankets from India and Mexico that I repurpose as the most gorgeous tablecloths — their vibrant colors and textures feel festive without trying too hard, and are bold enough to set the tone for an entire celebration.2. Incorporate elements that feel like summer vacation. There’s nowhere I’d rather be than at the beach, and since my home in Austin is pretty landlocked, I’ve always been obsessed with collecting textures and shapes that recall marine life: the wild shapes of sea coral, spiral patterns of shells and roughness of sand are all so beautiful. I place elements I’ve scavenged from past beach vacations around the house to instantly take me away, and place them on the center of the table for a simple, 2-minute centerpiece.

3. Celebrate color! Summer is when I really embrace color on the table. I usually choose either all cool shades (blues, greens, lavender), or all warm shades (pinks, reds, oranges), and then go to town! Layer different patterns like florals and stripes in striking color combinations for a bold look, then pile on vibrant dishes, mismatched napkins and colorful cocktails. I love pieces that incorporate textural or exotic touches like woven Guatemalan patterns or Indian-inspired tassels to satisfy the wanderlust that strikes more frequently in the summertime. If the minimalist in you is cringing at the thought of all that color, try sticking with a neutral palette and adding one vibrant pop. My bright teal tablecloth always makes a statement in our dining room that’s otherwise cream, white and light wood.

4. Let summer produce take center stage. Summer is a constant reminder of the earth’s generosity: just take a stroll past farmers market stalls brimming with juicy peaches, heirloom tomatoes in every shade, and summer squash begging to be tossed on the grill and devoured. Set out a big platter of your market haul – a colorful salad or sweet slices of watermelon sprinkled with sea salt – and let it play double-duty as family-style feast and beautiful centerpiece.

5. Create a glowing ambiance. As the sun sets, create a magical glow with some strategically-placed candles and lights. For my husband’s birthday party a couple years ago, we surrounded the pool with tons of votive candles that lit up the night in such an unforgettable way. String up white café lights overhead, place a few lanterns with candles inside around the patio or scatter bamboo torches filled with citronella oil along the perimeter of the yard. They’ll ward off bugs while adding light!

Khristian A. Howell

Outdoor Oasis – Creating Your Happy Place

outdoor living


Raise your hand if you are doing the springtime happy dance! Now that winter is finally giving up the fight it is time to freshen up or revamp those outdoor spaces. Whether you dwell in the city, the suburbs, or the country any outdoor space you are fortunate to have can become your little oasis during the season. The key to creating an outdoor space that you love is to really think of it as an extension of your living area. This space has the potential to be the place you will spend a lot of time during the spring and summer (and fall if you are lucky!). Think about how the area can function for you. Do you love dining al fresco? Be sure to consider comfortable seating and sun protection. Also think about lighting after dark as those late summer dinners turn into long evenings with pretty cocktails. Do you love to entertain? Create multiple vignettes designed for people to gather and chat. Do you dream all winter long of those wonderful summer afternoons that you can spend with a light throw and a book? A cozy couch, sectional or even a hammock will be on the top of your priority list. Here are three different looks to help you get the juices flowing for your upcoming refresh to your outdoor space. You’ve been living for lazy summer days all winter long. Now is the time to play and enjoy the sun!

outdoor space pied de terre


This look is perfect for the urban city dweller. Carpet tiles are a great option since they can be cut to accommodate your space. This is a terrific way to add a little softness under foot if you have a little balcony or any city outdoor space without grass. Furnishings with a bit of wood are great for adding an organic touch. A little wall planter helps to serve the same purpose and make the space feel alive in an urban environment

outdoor living


Lover of fresh color and pretty pattern? This look is for you! This is also the perfect setting for a sweet Mother’s Day brunch! Keep it feeling well loved and gathered by using a fun mix of different chairs, sweet floral patterns and a mix of serving ware.

outdoor living


Update the all American picnic table and bench feeling by keeping the wooden table and chairs and adding saturated colors and nature inspired patterns to the mix. This looks is the perfect backdrop to your gatherings all summer long.

Jennifer OBrien

Vintage Living — Displaying Your Collections

EditVintage Living-Dispalying Your Collections

Open shelving has become a hot home trend, although a classic idea it has recently made a come back in a big way. You can find this trend in kitchens & pretty much every room in the house. I do love the look of open display and having the creative freedom to style in dimensional way. Open shelving is used throughout my home and through the years I have changed the look countless times. I must confess though, in the beginning I was a little intimidated by displaying my collections. My mindset was that everything had to be perfectly styled but as I realized the perfect part comes from self expression. With that being said you do want to create a visual connection through balance and repetition. Here are a few of my favorite examples of that….

This is a piece I just styled for my kitchen nook with function as a main priority, that helped me narrow down the items I wanted to display. Finding purpose gave me a visual direction.

City Farmhouse-displaying a functional collection


Creating balance through symmetry is always a good rule of thumb. This vintage piece highlights a collected look of natural elements and repeats color & texture through the glass jars, plants and wire baskets.

Liz Marie Blog Gray Bookshelf Styling


This is also a great example of bringing function to your piece while displaying your collections. The warm wood tones, with white ceramic, wine bottles, glass details and aged metal tell a story of simplicity and purpose.Our Vintage Home-Rustic Open Shelving


Displaying a collection of books never gets old, it brings texture and can be a grounding element. The great thing about books is they are very easy to find used for very little money if you don’t feel you have a large enough collection for display. Thoughts from Alice Styling an Eclectic Bookshelf


Another example of creating balance with color, texture and worn details. The transparency of the repeated glass gives a sense of spaciousness

and light .

White Buffalo Styling


These next two images also highlight a sense of continuity through there collections but also are aware that less is more. If you want your treasured pieces to stand out then don’t be afraid to let them be a focal point.

Styled Dining Room Shelving - The Wood Grain Cottage


So Much Better With Age Rustic Open Shelves


This open display of vintage items above a bed couldn’t be more perfect and purposeful. You can find balance here through the repeated color tones and theme.

Christine Choi Photography Style Me Pretty Open Shelving Above Bed Displays Vinatge Collections


An important part of displaying your collected pieces is finding balance through height. Don’t be afraid to go vertical and display on your walls as well. You see a small risk pays off as the art hung on the wall brings the height needed to give continuity.

Rooms for Rent


Displaying a collection doesn’t always mean on shelves, nor does it have to include home accessories. This pipe rack/wardrobe is a perfect solution to a space that may be lacking storage. Here a creative solution is met visual appeal.

Vintage Pipe Clothing Rack via Etsy. Something like this might be useful in the future.


Have a beautiful week,

Jen-City Farmhouse