From Formal Dining Room to Casual Home Office

*I currently have openings for new Online Design Projects! Click Here for more information. 

I've been busy in the Design Studio this week! I just realized that three of the custom designs I've been working on are Home Offices! Today, I'd like to share one of them with you. This Home Office Design Plan was inspired by a beautiful, heirloom bookcase my client inherited from her parents. It's a large, tall, piece with intricate carvings in a gorgeous pecan finish. Inheriting this piece inspired my client to move it to her under-used formal Dining Room and turn the space into a much needed Home Office/Reading Room. 

After our initial design consultation, I had a great idea of the look she was going for. She wanted an eclectic space that had unique elements and personality. She also wanted a sophisticated and "pulled together" look. After all, this is one of the first spaces you see upon entering her home. In addition to discussing her style preferences we talked about her lifestyle and budget. I gathered measurements and photos and within a few weeks delivered a step by step, custom design plan for her to implement. Want to see it?

Here it is...

Back to the Design Studio! I'll be back next week to share some of the other E-Design projects we've been working on! Thanks for stopping by and letting me share this design with you!

We currently have openings for new Online Design Projects (E-Design). If you're interested in getting started on a room makeover in your home, please click here to make your reservation.

How To Create A Cozy Backyard Fall Fire Pit

 *This post is sponsored by Duraflame. 

During the fall, our weekends revolve around our kids and their "Friday Night Lights". This time of year we miss our weekend trips up to the Blog Cabin. However, we also enjoy every last minute of our football schedules that keep us anchored at home. Last weekend, I decided it was time to bring a little bit of the up north, deep woods, cabin feeling to our neighborhood back yard. With a little help from my friends at Duraflame, I'm going to show you how I threw together a cozy backyard fall fire pit setting with deep woods feels.

Before I get into the details, click on the video below to watch it come together...

My goal was to create a romantic, fall inspired gathering area where my family could meet up at night after the football games and late night practices commenced. I set the scene with comfortable chairs and some indoor elements to bring a sense of comfort and coziness. A couple light throw blankets and soft toss pillows from the living room did the trick.

A stack of large hay bails from my local farmer not only looked "fallish" but made really nice outdoor "end tables". Keeping safety in mind, I kept them far enough away from the fire pit that we wouldn't have to worry. 

I brought out a couple lanterns and filled them with coffee beans, battery operated LED Candles and bright red and orange leaves. A stack of pumpkins, a few small mums and a couple of large kale plants I picked up at the local nursery look so pretty and festive against fallen leaves and the woods in the background. To illuminate the area, I hung a few strands outdoor lights in the trees. 

To keep the fire starting and ending processes nice and simple, I opted for Duraflame's Crackleflame logs as opposed to real wood. After a long week I wanted the fire to start quick and painlessly. The Crackleflame logs gave out plenty of light and heat as you will see in just a moment. They are so easy to work with and the fire usually lasts about three hours. 

After using the Crackleflame logs, I decided I'm a huge fan. The packaging and the logs themselves are small and compact, but the fire is not! It's just right! And, when lit, the logs produce soothing crackling sound that is so authentic.

Take a look at some of the night time shots I snapped...

You can see that the fire was just the right size. It was big enough to keep us toasty warm, but not so big that we couldn't sit close. 

I think the best part about a Duraflame Crackleflame fire is the lack of bellowing smoke that usually accompanies a real wood fire. 

For the next few weeks, until we are able to make it back up to the Blog Cabin, you'll be able to find us in the back yard around the fire pit.

Stop by for a S'more and a glass of wine!

Back to the Design Studio, until the weekend that is! Then, you'll find me in the backyard. 

I currently have openings for new Online Design Projects (E-Design). If you're interested in getting started on a room makeover in your home, please click here to make your reservation.

*I acknowledge that Duraflame is partnering with me to participate in this campaign. As a part of the campaign, I'm receiving compensation and products. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Smart Tiles Peel and Stick Backsplash Reveal

*Today's post is sponsored by The Home Depot.

Today's post is dedicated to a fun DIY project I just completed in my home that turned out even better than I originally expected. I knew it was going to be good, but I wasn't expecting the result to be quite this amazing. You've gotta love it when that happens!

I've been wanting to install a backsplash in our kitchen for a while. I've been holding out because I'm planning to make some changes in our foyer that include a new tile floor. I won't be doing that for a while and I've been hesitant to commit to a new kitchen backsplash until I'm ready to tackle the foyer. They are close in proximity and I'd like the new tiles to coordinate. In the meantime, I've really been missing a backsplash. 

Here is a look at my kitchen without a backsplash...




Recently, I was approached by The Home Depot to try out a new product called The Smart Tiles,  and to write a blog post for The Apron Blog on the installation process. The Smart Tiles are a peel and stick backsplash product that you stick directly to the wall with no glue, grout or special tools needed. I read up on the product and the installation process sounded incredibly simple. I learned that the tiles are completely removable. I decided to give The Smart Tiles a try. I figured it would be a great way to try out a backsplash without committing to a permanent option, and I love to try new and innovative products. Especially when they are Do-It-Yourself friendly!

I didn't waste any time checking out the different colors, patterns and styles that were available. I visited, The Smart Tiles website and then ended up at the store so I could see the options in person. Two styles in particular jumped out at me. They looked almost identical to some glass tiles I was considering as a permanent option. One was a white subway tile style called Metro Blanco and the other was a shiny gray subway tile called Metro Grigio. I taped samples of both styles to the wall to help me decide which one I liked best. The gray subway tile was the winner, I loved the way it looked with my black countertops and my fresh new paint color (Anonymous by Sherwin Williams). 

The Smart Tiles website was a great resource for information. There was a short video for every step in the process showing how simple the installation is. I watched all of the videos before collecting my supplies and diving in to the project. From beginning to end, it took me less than two hours to install The Smart Tiles backsplash in my kitchen. Once I got started, and got used to the process, the installation went very quickly.

Take a look...

To prepare my kitchen, I removed the electrical plates and wiped the walls down with TSP. As the walls were drying, I collected my supplies...A cutting mat, a cutting knife, ruler, tape measure, a pen, straight edge and a level. 

The entire installation process was very simple. The trickiest part was making the cuts around the electrical outlets. I will admit, I made a couple mistakes when I made my cuts for the first outlet, but after that, I had the hang of it and the rest of them were a breeze. I used a ruler to measure the height and width of each box and transferred that measurement to the piece of tile so I could make the appropriate cuts.

After completing my project, someone suggested to me that instead of measuring for the outlet cuts, I could have just used one of the tile backings as a template and then traced the shape of the outlet onto the tile that needed to be cut. Smart! This topic brings up a good point, it is a good idea to purchase enough tile that you have a little extra just in case you do make a measuring or cutting error. 

This is the point in the process where I got a little creative. The way my kitchen is set up, I had to end my tiles in the middle of the wall. This required me to finish off the edges. Smart Tiles sells a finishing edge for this purpose, it's a nice shiny silver strip that can be cut to size and sticks to the wall just like the tiles. However, I decided to customize the look in my kitchen a use decorative wood trim instead. I simply cut the wood to size, mitered the corners on a 45 degree angle and applied them to the wall with a nail gun. Caulk and a coat of paint finished it off perfectly.

Here's a quick video I created to show you how simple this project was...

Now that you've seen how easy it was to install, are you ready to see how the entire kitchen turned out?

Take a look...

As you can see the new backsplash inspired me to bring in some new accessories. I styled the space with some simple, but pretty pieces. I chose things that were light in color to contrast with the new gray tiles and black counter tops. Bringing in the light elements keeps the space feeling light and bright, even though there are some dark design elements. 

I found a gorgeous new rug at, The Cambridge Black and Ivory Round Area Rug. 
What I love about this rug, other than it's good looks, is the forgiving color palette and pattern. This is a great family friendly choice for my busy kitchen. 

I like to keep my cookbooks handy, especially in the fall. I brought them out and stacked them neatly  on the counter along with some faux herbs. I placed the herbs in some pretty, white, textural pots. Using white accessories really helped to make the new backsplash pop. The contrast of light elements against the dark gray tile creating dramatic contrast that I happen to love. 

In the kitchen, I think it's important to "style" the space with practical and useful items. It keeps the look from appearing staged, plus, let's face it, there are certain items we use daily that end up on the countertops anyway. 

When I first signed up to try out The Smart Tiles, I have to admit I was a little skeptical. I felt like the installation process seemed way too simple for this to look as nice and I would like in the end. However, once I started the installation, I immediately fell in love! I think if you are looking for a quick, weekend project, that requires little skill and very basic tools, this would be a good fit for you. 

I feel like the new backsplash has really made a difference in the overall look of my kitchen. It feels much more finished. Although the color of the tile is dark, it makes the space feel brighter. The tiles are very shiny and reflect so much natural light. Our kitchen tends to be dark, but after adding this reflective design element, it really came alive. It almost seems to dance with light. 

The best part of this entire process was how quickly it came together. I was able to give my kitchen a fresh new look in just a few hours. I didn't have to buy a bunch of special tools, and it didn't take multiple trips to the store to gather supplies. My opinion, is that The Smart Tiles backsplash looks quite authentic. Everyone who has visited since the installation has been surprised when I tell them it is a peel and stick tile and not a real glass tile backsplash. It was fun to see my husbands face when he came home from work the day I installed it. He thought somehow I tackled a real, glass, subway tile backsplash, all by myself in just a few hours! 

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share my latest DIY adventure with you. Be sure to check out all of The Smart Tiles style options over at The Home Depot.  For ideas and inspiration, check out The Home Depot Smart Tiles Board on Pinterest! Thanks to The Home Depot for providing me with the Smart Tiles product and compensation in order to facilitate this sponsored post. 

Back to the Design Studio!

I currently have openings for new Online Design Projects (E-Design). If you're interested in getting started on a room makeover in your home, please click here to make your reservation.

I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in this Smart Tiles Program (the “Program”). As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

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