BHG Guest Blogger

American Dream Builders: Small Homes, Big Style

Written on April 10, 2014 at 9:30 am , by



This season on #DreamBuilders we’ve seen our competitors reach for their highest creative limits, and the headline of that is that the best is yet to come, and YOU arrived to the party just in time to catch it!  We’ve watched them brave the elements, and then each other, all while pulling off the BIGGEST home transformations I’ve ever seen on Prime Time TV…and you know what, I’m loving every minute of it — not because I’m the host, but because it’s design at its inspired best returned to TV!



This week our contestants face what most of you contend with everyday…SPACE or lack thereof. Divided into four teams of two, they were each issued a modular home and given one direction: get as much style into this small space as you can. And guess what? They delivered BIG time. Along the way they found real small space innovations and inspired ideas that we can all takeaway at home. One being that real-sized furniture works best even in a small space. Small scale makes the room even smaller.

On top of that, for this episode we up’ed the ante by welcoming the BH&G editors on set to give their input and pick a space to feature in the pages of the magazine. Make no mistake, four editors staring you down made the stress even more palpable. To say the least, our contestants were definitely feeling the pressure!


So, you’ll have to tune on Sunday night at 8/7c and tell me what you think! Make sure to include me (@nateberkus) and @BHG in your tweet so we can talk all about it!

BHG Guest Blogger

Nate Berkus: American Dream Builders

Written on March 28, 2014 at 9:55 am , by


The first thing people ask me when they see me, or on my Facebook page, is…Nate, please come to my house! Because how we live really matters. Period, the end. It’s about living with what you love, in a space that reflects who you truly are. This show is about bringing high design back to television…design that I hope inspires people to think about their spaces in a new way. And that’s what you see on the show. Talented, passionate designers who are fighting for their point of view. Some of the choices you will love, some you won’t. And that’s the thing with design, it should always be about what feels good, about what speaks to you. That being said, there are rules…things that can help turn an okay space into a room that really feels special.





I love this living room transformation from last week’s episode. The mistake people often make is thinking they need 20 pieces in a room. But the thing is, if it’s well-chosen and edited, fewer pieces are fine. In this space they edited the book case and left only a few curated objects. I might not have made that choice but it certainly hits home the fact that more than books can live on your shelves. In fact,  that’s one of the take aways for me doing this show;  sometimes less really is more. People also think that they have to be adventurous with paint. If that’s what you love, I say do it. But freshly painted white walls will never go out of fashion. Keep to the same hues when you add color, like the grey and purple accents here. And don’t forget lighting. People, I can’t say it often enough…it’s one of the most important things to think about. Go flea market shopping and pick up vintage sconces or brass lamps. These are the details that will bring the room together. That will make it feel layered. And like a room you love to come home to.


How great is this wallpaper! Absolutely perfect for a kid’s room…that was my greatest takeaway here. It feels fresh, fun…but also chic. And a space that they can grow into. That’s important. You want your child’s room to evolve with them. I also love the seating area. A place they can do homework, or read a book. It’s about creating a beautiful space, yes. But also, is this practical…does this space serve us? This is actually a pretty small room. But proof that you don’t need a lot of space to live well.


I can’t wait for you all to tune in and watch the second episode of American Dream Builders on Sunday night at 8/7c on NBC. I would love to hear what your favorite rooms are; what you’d love to recreate and why.


Melissa Bahen

Building a Dream House: Master Bathroom Inspiration

Written on February 19, 2014 at 8:00 am , by

Hi! I’m Melissa. I write about food, family, and farm life at Lulu the Baker. My family and I are hopefully about to fulfill one of those good, old-fashioned life-long dreams: we’re building our Dream House.

There are lots of really fun things about writing this Dream House column for Style Spotters, but my very favorite thing is looking back at my photos from the past month and seeing all of the changes that have happened since my last post! Since things are progressing so quickly, it’s really easy for me to forget that just last month, for example, we were over-the-moon excited to get the concrete poured for the basement floor. I’m usually quite surprised when I sit down to write another post and realize just how much has been accomplished in a few short weeks. I’m so grateful that this column allows me to document the process of building our Dream House, because I’m afraid we forget so quickly and so easily!

Last month, my post ended with the decking being installed for the main floor, which was actually a surprise for us, and the build site has been a whirlwind of activity ever since! Right after the decking was installed, a couple of tons of gravel were used to backfill the big gap around the basement and foundation, which means no more gigantic, scary pit waiting to swallow up anyone foolish enough to go near the edge (mostly my children). Having that filled in is such a weight off this mama’s mind!

The gravel delivery was followed by the delivery of the rest of the ICF (insulated concrete forms) for the entire house. It took a couple of weeks for all of the ICF and rebar to be installed, and for the doors and windows on the main floor to be framed, and then yesterday we got to watch them pour concrete! The top floor of the house will have traditional timber framing, so now that the ICF is installed on the main floor, we are done with it for the remainder of the build! I was chatting with our contractor yesterday afternoon while we watched the ICF team pour the concrete down into the walls, and he said the framers are scheduled to come at the end of the week to start putting up interior walls!

One of the funny things about this project is seeing our Dream House come to life—sometimes in ways that we hadn’t envisioned. I said last month that I’m having a hard time translating the plans into an actual house accurately, so I’ve imagined details here and there that are not at all realistic. Like the transoms I’ve been picturing over the French doors in the family room, the transoms that aren’t happening at all. Big sad face. My husband called me last week from the build site with a slightly ominous question: What was I picturing for the window in the master bathroom shower? We wanted to have some natural light in the shower so that it wasn’t a cold, dark cave, so we’d asked the draftsman to put a long, high window in the plans. And we’d just assumed that when we saw a window show up on the plans, it was long and skinny, and very high up. So imagine our surprise when the window looking into the master bathroom shower from the front porch was 2 feet wide, over 2 ½ feet tall, and at chest level, giving visitors to our house a straight-on view of anyone showering. With walls made of concrete, you have to catch problems early-on, before they are literally set in stone. Luckily, we caught the window problem early enough that workmen could make the window much smaller before they poured concrete yesterday; no one needs an enormous window in their ground-floor shower!

So, what’s happening in the next few weeks at the Dream House? As I mentioned earlier, framers are scheduled for the end of the week to start working on the interior walls for the main floor. If the main floor goes as quickly as the basement did, they’ll be putting decking up soon so they can start framing the upstairs too! The concrete trucks are coming out again to pour all of the pads and slabs (porches, drive-way, etc). And a little bird told me that roofing trusses are on order! We’ve had more weather problems (snow, freezing temperatures, and lots and lots of rain), so cross your fingers that it all goes smoothly and on-schedule.

Lastly, since we had the master bathroom on our minds so much this month, I thought it would be fun to put together another inspiration board showing you some of the things we’ve purchased and chosen for our bathroom!

  • The oil-rubbed bronze sconces and fixtures, and the white wall-mounted medicine cabinets are from Pottery Barn, and were purchased at the same time as the pendant lights that will go in our kitchen. I had actually forgotten what all of these looked like until I looked them up yesterday, and my reaction was, “Hmmmm…” C’est la vie!
  • I spotted this built-in linen cabinet several years ago and fell instantly in love! So much prettier than a boring old closet!
  • I made the mistake of looking at bathroom vanities on Restoration Hardware “just for fun” and was smitten by this simple but jaw-dropping pair. They are way out of our price range, so we bought two of the tallest sinks we could find at IKEA, and are having our cabinet maker make us two simple stands for them. Cross your fingers that our plan A) works, and B) actually saves us money!
  • You really can’t have a farmhouse bathroom without a clawfoot tub or white hex tiles.

Photo credits: bronze scones, white medicine cabinets, and oil-rubbed bronze fixture photos from Pottery Barn | built-in linen cabinet from | vanities from Restoration Hardware | clawfoot tub from | white hex tile from

Michael Wurm, Jr.

For the Love of Color: Gray

Written on October 28, 2013 at 9:00 am , by


I’m so excited to be starting a new series here on Style Spotters. It’s all about color. Each week I’ll focus on a new color and share ideas about how to incorporate it inyour space.

I’m not going bold with my first color choice, but I love it just the same. Today I was especially inspired by this gorgeous living room. While the red accents certainly caught my eye, all of the beautiful neutral colors of this space, especially the grays, were what drew me in. Deep grays in the artwork and accessories offer dimension and shape as the lighter gray on the armchair adds cozy comfort and warmth.

What I love most about gray is all of the variety. Whether warm or cool, light or dark, it’s a simple color to incorporate into home because it goes beautifully with almost every other color. Plus, if you like to change things up for the season, a gray backdrop allows your to quickly switch accessories to suit the season. Imagine the image above with light blue accents instead of red. That would be the perfect look for summer.

To get you started, today I’m sharing a few of my favorite gray statement pieces. These pieces will easily coordinate into any space around your home and be with you for a lifetime even as your color and style choices change.. I hope you enjoy my selections.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11

Have you come to love and incorporate gray into your home?

Happy Decorating!

Michael Wurm, Jr. - Inspired by Charm

Michael Wurm, Jr.

Pin it. Get it! Baskets

Written on June 10, 2013 at 9:00 am , by


TREND: Baskets


I don’t know about you, but I love baskets. I’m pretty certain that there is least one basket in every room of my house. Not only are baskets pretty, but they also serve as great functional pieces for the home. With their popularity increasing, you can find any type of basket to suit your needs. From traditional to modern, neutral to colorful, dipped-died to hand-painted, there are plenty of options to match your space and desired functionality.


Speaking of  functionality, I love the way baskets were used in the home office pictured below. Filled with craft supplies, papers, and other unsightly collections, the baskets are both useful and beautiful accessories. These highly textured baskets also add so much texture and movement to the space. Varying textures is key when decorating and baskets are a great way to incorporate tactile and visual interest. Plus, who doesn’t love to be able to stash away clutter when company is coming. I’m guilty!

I searched the BHG Shop and found some amazing baskets. As you can see, the options are really endless.


 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12


What other fun ideas do you have for using baskets in your home?


Michael Wurm, Jr. – Inspired by Charm

Joni Lay

Fun Options for Updating Vintage Pieces

Written on April 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm , by

TREND:  Repurposing Vintage Dressers!

Using a vintage dresser, sideboard, or credenza is a fun way to add a bit of character to a nursery or child’s room, and can often be a great way to save a little money.  If you look in the right places, a vintage piece is often considerably less expensive than a new one (asking family members for no longer used furniture is also a sweet way to add a little family history to the room, i.e. using Grandma and Grandpa’s dresser from their first bedroom suite, etc.!) and there are plenty of options for making it suit your taste.  The changing table can be a real statement piece in a nursery, and it was the first thing I found for both Vivi and Brigette‘s rooms.  Below are some of my favorite options for repainting (find sources and links to style boards below image) for some inspiration:vintage furniture updates(1) Similar Perspecta Dresser, from the Anchorman Nursery; (2) Ultramarine Dresser, from the Blue for Two Nursery; (3) Triangle Dresser (no longer available), from the Little Lone Ranger Nursery; (4) Gold Dipped Dresser, from My Little Surfer Girl Nursery; (5) French Gold Dipped Dresser, from the Mod Princess Nursery; (6) Peach Ombre Dresser, from the Pretty Little Peach Nursery; (7) Red Ombre Dresser, from the Cheery Cherry Nursery; (8) Blue Colorblocked Dresser from the Sailor Boy Nursery

Hope you are inspired!  ~Joni, Lay Baby Lay