Gray, January and Groutfits

Gray, January and Groutfits

Well hi. I haven’t posted in some time, because for one I have had every kind of technology situation arise all at once. Thankfully, I now have a TWO person IT department!  Besides that, life peacefully continues to find it’s way to a new normal. I’m enjoying the experience of sustained quiet and stillness now that the kids are back at school. At the same time, starting new routines, switching up my daily travel patterns and stepping outside my comfort zone from time to time. It’s all part of embracing change rather than resisting it. There are some miraculous things that happen when that ever so slight tweak in thinking happens. I truly believe that.

xo

s

So, it’s January. Suffice it to say, it’s probably gray outside most of the time where you are as it is here in Northern California. After the holidays there’s this stretch of waiting for spring yet we still have months to go. The Gray Period. I’m working on a big interior design project that is mostly gray, black and cream. I’m in heaven with the color palette, so I thought I’d share some images that influence and inspire me. In addition, my daughter taught me a new word for my typical winter day attire – A Groutfit. It means when your outfit is predominantly gray. So, I’m also sharing some Groutfit inspirations too :))

Happy winter my loves.

soft gray bedroom colors

charcoal gray bedroom

gray chalk paint palette

Grey winter outfit

Gray linen bedding

Charcoal on gray linen fabric

Gray sweater and ripped jeans

Shades of gray linen fabric

Metal letter B

 

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Work Spaces & My Home Office

Work Spaces & My Home Office

Hi and happy new year! As of this past Monday it will be my ninth year blogging… Hard to believe it’s been that long. The connection with you all is the best part, and that I now look at things differently – in a good way. I study things more closely, fully appreciate beauty in all its forms, and perhaps have become more comfortable as a writer too. My grammar, sadly, has not improved at all – lol. Anyway, thank you for reading and for the love and support all of these years. I’m humbled and touched beyond words.

xo

s

A few years ago, I claimed an otherwise unusable space in my house as my office. Unusable because it’s narrow and long and has doors on both facing walls, making the configuring of furniture very difficult  This turned out to be one heck of a happy accident (and I will tell you why in just a minute). What I discovered about work spaces and desk orientation has changed my thinking about how impactful furniture placement can be. Lest you think I’m about to go all feng shui on you, fret not! I know zero about it, although I do believe there is definitely something to it.

farmhouse urban home office

farmhouse urban home office

Having worked from home for most of my adult life, I have at times had to carve space out of some of the most obscure places including a windowless, cinder block walled room in the unfinished basement in our first Seattle house, I’ve tried all kinds of configurations.So, here’s my big life-changing serendipitous take-away… Putting your desk in the center of a room, instead of against a wall will make you more productive! Yep, it will. I  know this is not always an option, I merely want to plant the seed of inspiration…

Narrow home office with desk in center

Mid-century modern home office

Home office with desk angled

Craft room using Ikea cabinets and shelving

Home office with desk in center of room

Home office with brass accents and dark walls

How to orient a desk in a narrow home office

Two sided work space in home office

mid-century home office

For more home office inspo click here.

 

 

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Styling bookshelves 101

Styling bookshelves 101

Hi beautiful reader. How are you doing during this time of year? It can be hard and it can be wonderful, sometimes concurrently, right? Just be mindful to keep centered and take good care of your self (see last post if you need some help getting started). I am knee deep in a couple of interiors projects with install deadlines the first week of Jan. The other work related project, and I know I’ve been talking about it for awhile so bear with me because it’s really coming together in such a big beautiful way is… the online shop is almost ready!!! I am beyond excited to share these home decor and fashion collections with you, so please, follow along or subscribe so the minute the shop goes live, you will be of the first to know!!!

The kids are home for the holidays, which I LOVE. That said, I have found it helpful when they and their friends abscond back from college, that a few military practices come in really super handy. One that I like a lot is “One is none. Two is one.” This basically means that if I have only one of something, say for example, peanut butter, it’s as if I am already out of peanut butter the same day. So, always have like 2+ peanut butters so you don’t run out. Another favorite is “Time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted.” I really like that one. It’s particularly helpful when, weirdly, your chargers all disappear and everyone ‘swears’ they have no idea where they went. I’ve also found that writing checklists of what you mean by “clean” alleviates gray areas and makes for fewer conflicts.

Happy Holidays!

On my way to a holiday dinner party of girlfriends Top from 2 years ago from here, Black jeans from here. and ankle boots from here.

xo

s

Bookshelf styling is an art unto itself. I find it to be one of the hardest things to do in the entire realm of interior design. Anyone else struggle with this too? Finding the right balance of stuff without it looking cluttered can be be challenging.

I’ve got a buit-in bookshelf that has been in need of attention…

FarmHouseUrban bookshelf styling

FarmHouseUrban white pitcher collection

FarmHouseUrban ceramic vase collection

FarmHouseUrban buddha + books

I decided to educate myself on how to improve it and have consolidated the findings to this list and added a few of my own two cents:

  1. Start with books. Duh! While this might seem obvious, it’s worth reiterating. I prefer hardcover books rather than paperback for the shelves I’m working on, but not opposed to displaying paperback. I’m contemplating taking the paper jackets off too…Books can and should be oriented horizontally and vertically to create visual interest. I’ve noticed on Pinterest and some popular home remodeling shows that faux books are used quite often for their color or size. I would suggest using real books over faux.Bookshelf Styling ideasBookshelf styling ideas
  2. Use large and tall items. Pretty self explanatory.bookshelf styling ideasbookshelf styling ideas
  3. In addition to framed photos, art can be used as a backdrop, leaned up against the back or hung on the bookcase frame.bookshelf styling ideasbookshelf styling ideas
  4. Framed family photos shouldn’t be lined up in a row. Scatter them around or have them made into one large piece. bookshelf styling ideasbookshelf styling ideas
  5. Lay out things that you love from around the house on a table or the floor near the shelves you’re working on- boxes, vases, bowls, baskets, objects of art and start moving things around. I read a good tip to not use anything smaller than an apple when styling bookshelves. Even if you only get a few shelves ‘just right’ you will now be thinking of your bookshelf when you are out and about and see something cool and wonder, “where would I put this?”.bookshelf styling ideasbookshelf styling ideas

More bookshelf and interior styling inspo, on my Pinterest page here.

 

 

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Wildfires and a new furniture resource that will make you feel better about, well, a lot.

Wildfires and a new furniture resource that will make you feel better about, well, a lot.

Dear sweet reader. It has been a devastating week here in Northern California. We have lost much of our beautiful, bountiful wine country to a wildfire that appeared virtually overnight and has already become the worst fire in California history. I don’t think the national news depicts even remotely the enormity of what we have lost and the fires are still not fully contained. Wildfire is not an accurate description, as it implies the location as being forests, or wooded remote areas. This is not the case! Thousands of homes are lost in family neighborhoods, perhaps just like yours. Many wineries have burned to the ground, entire vineyards are gone. A total of 300 square miles are currently on fire with the death toll at 40 and expected to rise as there are 200+ people unaccounted for. Where I live – about 40 miles from one of the largest and most destructive fires, the schools are closed because the smoke is so thick, ashes falling from the sky like snow flurries. We have been warned to stay inside due to highly unhealthy air quality.  So, what to do and how to help? Naturally, the Red Cross is the best way to ensure funds get to the highest in need expeditiously, but you can also do something else… DRINK NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WINE! Raise a glass to the fires being put out soon and drink some more after that! If you’re looking for gift ideas – California wine. Double down. 

xo

S

So, I was putting a post together about a recent road trip I took along the California and Oregon coast (coming in next post) when I received an email from the home furnishings company Arhaus. It was my first introduction to this company, which is surprising because their collection is absolutely stunning! But even better, they are completely committed to the environment, wellness and giving back. This is not typical for the furniture industry as there are so many toxic materials used and shoddy manufacturing practices, especially with big box retailers. I was absolutely astonished to find out they use 100% organic materials for many of their pieces! AND they are partnering with the American Forest Foundation to plant 25,000 trees – one for each purchase during their sale. Given what has happened this week to not only my area, but the hurricanes that have devastated so many homes, and wildlife, I felt it timely to share this resource with you now.  To read about their philanthropy click here.

As a sidenote, I always like to mention before I promote something, that every word you read on this blog is written by me, and all products I recommend I would purchase myself. I believe strongly in honesty, integrity and goodness and will only offer you products that are reflective of that.

I created the following two moodboards, because I couldn’t help myself. The collections are so inspiring, I just got carried away!  I hope you like them too.

Modern Farmhouse Living Room

Modern Farmhouse Living Room Furniture Plan

  1. Sofa    |   2. Coffee Table   |   3. Fab Chair   |   4. Pillow   |   5. Stump Table   |    6.  Basket   |   7.  Lamp

 

Modern Farmhouse Dining Room

Modern Farmhouse Dining Room Furniture Plan

1. Table  |   2. Chair   |   3. Bench  |  4. Buffet   |   5.  Art   |  6.  Candle Holder  |  7.  Lighting

 

 

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4 Design Trends I Can’t Stop Thinking About

4 Design Trends I Can’t Stop Thinking About

Mid-Century Modern. While I’ve always appreciated the iconic pieces from this period, it was only until recently that my personal aesthetic radically shifted. What is particularly cool about furniture created during this era – and why these pieces have stood the test of time – is that for the most part, they were designed by highly acclaimed architects. Form and function blend together into sexy coolness. A few mid-century pieces in a room can up the hip factor exponentially, however t’s easy to get carried away and look like the set of the Dick Van Dyke show. In other words, Mid- Century Mod-eration is key.

Kilim Rugs. This trend, if you can call it that since these rugs have actually been around for hundreds of years, snuck up on me.  I think I’m actually extremely late to the party on this one. Rugs dictate the color direction for a room, so I’ve tended to prefer natural fiber (as in jute, seagrass, sisal, etc) for their textural attributes as well as their neutrality. I’m now a convert. The muted colors of vintage rugs adds a warmth and visual interest that is so pleasing. I’m thinking of starting small with a runner for either the hallway or the kitchen, maybe even for a bathroom. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.

Patterned Tile. Again, I have played it safe by gravitating to all white and when I do deviate, it’s to use solid stone matching the countertop material in kitchens. As far as bathrooms, I have never designed one with anything but white tile. Well… after seeing so many freakin gorgeous examples of patterned tile lately, I am  rethinking my non-comital ways and taking a little walk on the wild side.

Wallpaper. This is one trend that stops me in my tracks. I’m either taken aback by the sheer prettiness of a wallpapered room, or it’s sense of whimsy or just in awe that something that looks like something else is actually wallpaper! While I seriously don’t think I could pull the trigger and have wallpaper in my own house (purely a function of having had to manually strip 5 layers of wallpaper from every square inch of our first home), I love the idea of using it for design projects. There are just so many outrageously beautiful wallpapers out there. I could be very happy spending a day or two or five at the Design Center going through them all.

For more examples of these trends and interior inspiration, please visit my Pinterest page here.

 

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True North:  Seattle Style

True North: Seattle Style

Hello sweet people. I just got back. As always it was a wonderful trip. Mostly a girlfriend lovefest, as I have friendships there that span 15 to 35 years. When I moved to California 10 years ago, I left Seattle without hesitation. Didn’t look back…. except for one thing – those gals. Over the course of the week+, we spent time both one on one and sometimes in groups – memories of our young mommy years made us laugh at the things we took sooo seriously way back when, or reflected for a moment to express sadness or gratitude for the curveballs of life that have affected us all. It’s both a comfort and blessing to have these ladies by my side and me to there’s. That’s my biggest takeaway from the trip – to cherish the special people in your life. 

It’s a one foot in front of the other kind of week. Hope yours is great wherever you are…

xo

s

Despite gracious offers to stay with friends, I always rent a short term vacation place when I’m in Seattle. The alone time, ability to keep my own hours, eat what and when I want, etc is how I recharge. In all the years of spending a chunk of the summer there, I’ve only had one semi-negative experience and that was due to the neighbors below keeping nocturnal hours. Being an incredibly light sleeper, I made a note to self – never to stay in a duplex or similar situation. Ideally, a small cottage close to or in my former neighborhood is where I’m happiest. As long as it’s clean, I really don’t have any other requirements. Well, this year the bar has been raised. Behold.

Ironed sheets – really? Dark chocolate, cheese & crackers, coffee and half and half waiting for me – seriously? I was in total heaven,

Moving on to my favorite dish ALL-STAR… There are favorite dishes and there are Shut The Front Door and put the Do Not Disturb sign out favorites. This is the case with what I’m about to share with you. Welcome to Ba Bar.I discovered this gem a couple of summers ago when the place we rented was around the corner. It’s open for breakfast – think Vietnamese coffee and an almond croissant (it’s Vietnamese thus the French influenced breakfast offerings). We ended up eating there just about every day. Since it’s open until 4AM, it’s great for those Dinner #2 situations or when you are out late and starving and want a great sit-down meal. There are two locations and a third coming soon, but I highly recommend you only go to the Capital Hill one.

Best dish at Ba Bar Seattle

I grew up on Queen Anne Hill, home to many movie and TV show filmings, but also home to one – if not THE – most famous and photographed outlooks in Seattle. I used to ride my bike there with my dog running along many a day growing up. Whole lotta memories came flooding back… whoa. Anyway, on a whim I decided to go back on the night of the full moon. If you’re in Seattle and into views 🙂 check out Kerry Park.

Full moon view from Kerry Park, Seattle

The last place I want to share with you is a newly opened lunch and dinner restaurant and the spot of an absolutely decadent afternoon spent with a girlfriend. I know I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover – or rather – a restaurant by it’s interiors, but I do!!! This place had me at hello. I highly recommend Harry’s Fine Foods.

Harry''s Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

This cake was so delicious. I ate most of it we shared it.

*On an administrative note* if you were a subscriber to FarmHouseUrban and no longer receive posts conveniently delivered to your inbox – I’m so sorry! All previous subscribers were lost when we changed blog platforms and seem to be unretrievable. I sincerely hope you will resubscribe! For those new to the blog, thank you! If you like what you see (and if you made it down here, that’s a good sign :)), I would love you to subscribe so you can receive posts as soon as they are published. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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