House Crashing: Lovely At Last

We’re working on wrapping up a few projects for you today – pics and details to come! – plus we have a well overdue house crash to share. It feels kinda unnecessary in this case, but we’ll say it out of formality: Meet Nicole (and her smiley son August).

If that picture alone didn’t make you say “Wait, that’s Nicole from Making It Lovely!” then allow us to say “that’s Nicole from Making It Lovely.” You guys know we like to crash homes of all types (we’ve shared nearly fifty of them, from modern apartments and traditional homes to eclectic or retro spaces or crazy bright and colorful ones – each from big bloggers, small bloggers, and not-bloggers-at-all). And since we’ve been internet friends of Nicole’s since we started blogging five years ago (and that’s kind of a long relationship to have without ever having met in person) of course we were thrilled when she invited us over to crash her and her husband Brandon’s iconic Oak Park pad during our Chicago book tour stop last month.

I feel like her home requires little explanation because she has documented it so well herself, but we thought you guys would enjoy seeing some different angles of a house that so many of you already know and love. There’s definitely lots of inspiration for the taking. So, um, here’s her living room…

This room greets you on your left as soon as you step foot inside and the walls are Astor Pink by Benjamin Moore in case you’re wondering. I’ll admit that I was quite nervous about taking pictures of Nicole’s house. I’ve always greatly admired her camera skills so it was pretty intimidating to photograph such a well-photographed home in the presence of the photographer herself. But I survived… with only minor sweating. Nicole has collected so many awesome (I’m trying not to insert “lovely” as my default adjective here) items, it actually ended up being really fun. Oh and the white mirror was from Ballard Designs, the Eames rocker is by Modernica, the coffee table is vintage (picked up this summer at the Renegade Craft Fair) and the tables are vintage too – they were just $10 each.

One of the most interesting things about seeing Nicole’s house in person is how little pink there is. Nicole is a self-professed lover of the color and I feel like I’m always seeing it pop up in her projects. So I guess that created this all-pink all-the-time expectation in my head (despite having browsed her house tour plenty of times over the years). But in reality, many of her rooms are moody, earthy, and warm – including her dining room below, which is located right behind the living room. In fact, the next and only other room you’ll see with pink paint on the walls belongs to her 3-year-old daughter Eleanor.

I love so many things about this dining room. The metal chairs (from Industry West) mixed with the vintage wood table. The sleek light fixture mixed with the wood panel-backed china cabinet. The quirky guy + gal centerpieces (from Floral Art LA). And of course the wallpaper (which is Clacket Lane by Mibo).

We’ve seen Nicole re-imagine her china cabinet a few times over the years, and we were totally digging the fox theme she had going on when we arrived (she scored those guys on amazon). Sherry and Nicole even had discussions about what would be the next “it” animal. Put a fox on it perhaps? I think llamas were tossed out there too.

Right behind the dining room (through the door you can see in the first dining picture) is their kitchen. Nicole and Brandon said they’re working on some changes in there, so we didn’t go crazy with the camera in that particular room. But I thought I’d share this one surprise (to me at least) – there’s a full bathroom back there. Somehow I must’ve missed any mention of it on Making It Lovely (although it later came up in a post after we returned from the crash). Old school green tub = awesome sauce.

Off the other end of the dining room is Nicole’s office – although she doesn’t work at that toddler-sized table you see pictured. That’s just so her kiddos can keep her company while she’s blogging, web-designing, or otherwise putting her stamp on the interweb. The rug is Dash & Albert and the banner was from Catbird NYC (it was cheap so Nicole threw it into her cart to qualify for free shipping).

We loved checking out her monogrammed trophies in person (she’s got a tutorial for them on her blog here). And the yellow lamp is from Crate & Barrel.

Once upstairs, you arrive at their sitting room / library area that I’ve always said is my favorite room whenever browsing her photos online. It did not disappoint in person. Sherry and I kinda wanted to move in. That wouldn’t be awkward at all, right? The curtains are from Anthropologie, the fig tree is from Sprout Home right there in Chicago, and the deep chocolate paint on the walls is Afternoon Tea by Pittsburgh Paints.

I was mostly enamored with that space because of the bookcases (from Ikea, by the way). Nicole and Brandon met working at a bookstore – and the former library employee in me always has a soft spot for shelves upon shelves of books.

Sherry was enamored with this room for another reason. And it rhymes with schmold schmanimals. They were an ebay find. Though I gotta say the brown and white cabinets in this room (which you also saw in her office) are calling my name too. They’re the sadly discontinued Effektiv cabinets from Ikea.

Immediately to the right of those gold deer is Eleanor’s room. She’s about a year older than Clara and we were all sad that Clara couldn’t join us for this leg of the trip. Those two would’ve had a blast.

The bed and bedding were from Land Of Nod. Nicole has quite the knack for stylish arrangements, so the collection of art and objects above Eleanor’s bed was no exception. My favorite is the little banner that says “Just Be Cool.” I feel like our toddler could use that reminder every so often…

Brandon and Nicole’s bedroom is cozy and warm, and kinda made me want to lay down and read a book. Luckily for them I resisted and continued taking photos instead.

The star of this room is the light fixture, which I had been eager to see in person since I first saw it posted on her blog a couple of years ago. It’s the “Edison Light” from Pottery Barn. And the botanical print behind it on the wall is from

At the opposite end of the upstairs from Eleanor’s room is her brother August’s domain. He was actually playing in there, so I tried not to interrupt too much by shoving my lens in his face. After all, he had just met me about an hour before. So instead I captured some of the awesome details that make me want to shop where Nicole shops. How cool are those pixel fire flowers by a local crafter?

And this embroidered venn diagram clock by another local crafter rocked my socks (and reminded me that I ought to bone up on my marksmanship skills if I intend to survive the zombie apocalypse).

Continuing the theme of foxes, Sherry was drawn like a moth to a flame when it came to this animal-based lamp (she’s been known to obsess over them).

In fact, she even made me take a closer photo of it (it’s from Target in case you need one too). Put a fox on it is sounding more and more promising. What do you guys think? Is it official?

As fun as it was to see Nicole’s house in person, the most fun part was seeing Nicole herself. It was just so refreshing to finally all be in a room together to chat, catch up, talk shop, swap parenting stories, and otherwise enjoy a couple hours of being real life friends, not blogosphere colleagues. Oh and you can read her recap of our visit here on her blog too.

Plus, I confirmed my suspicions that their dog Murray is pretty much Burger in a larger body. I mean, c’mon – is that not a Burger face right there?

So a big thank you again to Nicole, Brandon, Eleanor, and August for inviting us over to their house and being kind enough to entertain my wannabe photographer skills. Now if we can just get Nicole to write a book and include Richmond on her tour we’ll be all set for a sequel to this fun…

 Psst- Do you dare to keep this house crashing party going? You can check out dozens more here.


  1. Angie says

    I have the Edison fixture, and sooo glad I bought it when I did! They are no longer available from Pottery Barn, though eBay has some decent-but-not-exact knock offs. I have it in my dining room. When I sold my house, the light came with me. That was non-negotiable, haha. It works just as well in my apartment and really makes my new space feel like HOME.

  2. Shannon says

    I love it! I have never heard of her blog before but it looks like one I will definitely be adding to my list. I hope she has more photos of the built in shelf wall in her son’s room…we are remodeling and have two rooms with low walls like that and I need some good ideas for it! :) And I loooove the foxes in the china cabinet, who knew I was a fox fan? I didn’t! I love how she has pink in the main living area!

  3. Meredith says

    A bunch of us in line to meet you guys in Chicago geeked out because we saw her, too. She was gone by the time I got up there, but it was like a two-for-one blog celebrity day! (Really three-for-one since you and John are separate people.) :)

  4. Brittany says

    Just have to say, I was watching Secrets from a Stylist today while getting ready for work and Emily used those same exact gold deer for a special holiday episode! I love them so much and to see them twice in one day is crazy!!

  5. Abbey says

    I love the house crashing, but I really thought you guys would feature houses that are maybe not as well know in the blogging community.

    • says

      We just love to share the love, so we don’t want to hold back or discriminate based on any sort of blog readership (whether you have a bunch of followers or you don’t even have a blog, if you have an awesome home full of inspiration, we’d love to crash it!). Many of the almost-fifty homes that we’ve shared on our House Crashing page are from folks who don’t even have a blog or who have small just-starting-out blogs – we just love sharing them all! Inspiration is everywhere :)


  6. Erika says

    You did a great job putting a “young house love” spin on the photographs!
    Nicole’s blog is fantastic, but I enjoyed seeing photos from a different point of view, if that makes sense :)

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