Setting The Mood

During last week’s update about our Homearama Showhouse for Habitat For Humanity, we included a few peeks at how some of the rooms were shaping up.

Well, shaping up in our heads, technically, since we’re still about three weeks out from being able to put any furnishings into the house (the walls are getting painted as I type this, and then the cabinetry will go in and the hardwood floors will be stained on site), so everything has been in shopping list and mood board form so far.

But in the last week the builder and his awesome team have been humming along, and we’ve made some really good furniture-and-accessory planning progress in several of the rooms. Enough that we can finally share a few room plans with you guys that are no longer missing major elements. Some spaces are definitely further along in the planning process than others, and the two in the lead are: the study (aka: the home office) and the dining room.

They’re the first two rooms in the house when you walk in, so we’re grateful that they’re shaping up to be a good representation of the feeling that we want this house to have. One kinda skews light & happy while the other brings in a bit more of a cozy & moody feeling that we also really like. So we figure that together they’ll help set the tone for the rest of the house.

Let’s start with the study, er, office as we keep calling it. Here’s what it’s looking like now.

Since we’re sort of designing for a hypothetical future version of our family (hence the tween girl & young boy rooms that we mentioned last week), we thought it’d be fun to do a home office for a woman who works (perhaps blogs?) at home. Not only is it an easy mental leap to make, but we also thought it would differentiate it from all of the manly mahogany studies that we’re used to seeing in model homes. So light, cheery, and a smidge feminine was our goal.

  1. The walls are already Simply White like the trim, but the painters still have to put our bold accent color on the 10′ ceiling, which we thought was tall enough to handle a rich and saturated turquoise color called Skydive.
  2. This Wire Globe Lantern in rust from our lighting collection (donated by Shades of Light) will hang over the desk that will float in the middle of the room.
  3. Floor length curtains in a textured & modern feeling fabric (Dapp woven fabric in Elephant) will hang floor to ceiling on either side of the window (our favorite local fabric shop, U-Fab, is donating them to the cause).
  4. West Elm is also excited to help Habitat, so they offered up this striped Saddle Office Chair but we hear it’s on back order (fingers crossed it comes through in time).
  5. We’d love to add some chic storage boxes, like these from Target.
  6. While we’re at it, a cheery mug for pencils and other desk stuff could be fun. Maybe this one?
  7. This wood & metal desk hails from Green Front Furniture (sorry, we don’t know the maker) who is loaning furniture to all seven of the homes in the show (more on that here). Please forgive the wonky photoshopped top (I attempted to remove some display materials that were in our shot).
  8. We love this art from Help Ink, where $1 of every $5 spent goes to a charity of your selection. We’re thinking this print would be perfect, since the colors fit right in, and the message is pretty great too.
  9. West Elm was also happy to donate this Torres Wood Kilim rug in Guava, which we think will keep things casual and light.
  10. We’re also thinking about buying this Help Ink print as well. Feels nice to choose accessories with a charitable goal while decorating a house for charity.

Although most of the items above are already locked in, a lot of the accessories and art are things that we’re going to purchase and fill in as the rooms get further along. So we’re sure some might change as we go, and of course a ton of other stuff will end up in each room as it evolves. But on to the dining room! Last week it was looking like this (we’re still waiting for our big glass pocket doors with a transom window to be installed at that extra-wide entryway).

But as of yesterday it had made some great progress thanks to our custom wainscot being finished and freshly painted! It’s not your typical wainscoting, but with a very talented carpenter at our disposal, we wanted to try something a little different (remember how we chatted about trying to take risks and all that good stuff here?). We thought about something like a herringbone or a chevron pattern, but didn’t want it to be too overt (like this) and were inspired by something a little more subtle and less common (oddly enough, like the pattern on these shoes that Sherry saw on Pinterest).

It’s a wide-angled pattern made up of wood slats with a 1/4″ gap between them, so the lines are kind of “engraved” into the wainscot instead of sticking out. Before putting it up, we literally sat with the carpenter and drew various angles right onto the walls and used different board widths and spacing methods until it looked subtle enough not to be too crazy (but not so soft that the pattern would disappear completely when it was painted). For anyone interested, we went with 1 x 3″ boards, a spacing of one quarter of an inch between them, and the angle is around 22 degrees from the floor.

It’s sort of hard to get “the full picture” for the room from that shot above (since about 99% of the other elements are missing) but once the rest of the furnishings/accessories get added (and the upper wall gets painted a nice dark color to balance out the wainscoting) we think it’ll be a great background texture among some other elements, like:

  1. The upper walls are going to be Kendall Charcoal, a deep brown-gray color that will bring some moodiness to the top of the 10′ tall room.
  2. Here’s the aforementioned wainscot that we added for reference (it’ll remain glossy white, along with the trim).
  3. This is the big Industrial Modern Island Chandelier in Bronze that Shades of Light is donating for over the table.
  4. We fell hard for this Jute Boucle in Platinum, which West Elm is kindly donating.
  5. We’d also love some potted greenery as centerpieces, like these that we found on Etsy.
  6. This rustic wood pedestal table that Green Front Furniture is loaning us for the show will float in the middle of the room with the chandelier over it.
  7. Among the potted plant centerpieces, we thought a collection of old wine bottles or green vases would be a nice mix (image from West Elm).
  8. We liked the idea of dark upholstered chairs, which would pop in front of the white wainscoting. Maybe these from World Market?
  9. We’ll also be adding floor length curtains in this fabric (Stri fabric in Ultramarine, donated by U-Fab). We love that they subtly reference the angled wainscoting, and while we wanted the room to be sort of quietly elegant, we couldn’t resist some color on the window wall.

I don’t know about you, but we’re excited to be getting to this phase of the project: where things start feeling like real rooms – and we finally get to work on filling them up and making it feel like home. It’s crazy to think this was just a dirt lot a few months ago. It’s also pretty crazy to think that in two short months we’ll have an entire finished house (with over 20 different spaces) to share with you guys. That’s a whole lotta before & after – and about 95% faster than we’re used to moving. Oh yeah, and somewhere in there we’ll have a baby. Guess it’s time to buckle up and hold on…

PS: For those asking about Homearama tickets, they’re usually $10 (children 18 & under are free) but you can get them for 20% off in February (and show some love to Habitat if you’re so inclined) here. The show is open Thurs-Sun, the first three weekends of May.


As a little Friday bonus, here are four fun projects, chats, or questions going on over on the Forums. We also announced this week’s giveaway winner, so you can click here (and scroll down to the Rafflecopter box) to see if it’s you.

by TheThreeOfUs by aforceinside
by Jenna2027
by Vegas


  1. Heather MacFeather says

    Wow, I love the wainscotting. The design is very contemporary and even casual. Very appealing. And I love the story behind the inspiration…thank you for including that.

    • says

      Thanks Lauren! We’re attempting to do at least do one “brave” thing in each room, so the bold ceiling in the office and the linear wainscoting in the dining room were our two biggest “risks” for those spaces. We’re so excited to share the other ones in the kitchen, living room, bedrooms, playroom, etc – some are still being fleshed out, but it’s really fun to stretch ourselves like this. We just want everyone who passes through the show to come out with some fun ideas!


  2. Jackie says

    Wow! That wainscoting usually isn’t my type, but it’s pretty cool! Do you think the grooves could be done with a routing bit? I’m trying to tell from the photo…

    • says

      We talked about that possibility (or using pre-planked items, like beadboard or board & batten, which already have those grooves) with the carpenter, but in order to get the lines really crisp with clean right angles like that, we really could only get the look from boards that were manually spaced. But if you didn’t mind having softer more rounded grooves I think beadboard, board and batten, or a routing bit could definitely do the trick!


  3. Angela says

    Oh my goodness! This is amazing. I already have my ticket. Do ya’ll mind if I drool over everything when I visit!?!

    • says

      We’d love to swing by, but we’ll have brand new baby, so we’re not sure how it’ll go (and I’ll be recovering from a c-section). The best bet is probably that last weekend, since I’ll hopefully be up and around by then, but we’re not sure how it’ll go. Will hopefully keep you guys posted!


  4. Elle says

    I love that you didn’t go for the mahogany office. Much as I love the idea of a room like that, it’s nice to have some variety.

    I’d be curious to hear, either here or in a later update when things are more finalized, how you guys feel about “settling” – like if that chair ends up being back ordered and you have to do something else. I know you’re both fans of waiting a little longer for the perfect thing, whether that means shopping around for a few more months or just plain saving up for something spendier but fantastic. With this house since there’s a deadline when everything has to be D-O-N-E *done*, you kind of have to go the other way.

    • says

      Yes! That would make for a great post, because this process is so different than our usual “letting things percolate and evolve” approach! We’re still sort of learning how to deal with it as we go. Haha!


  5. says

    So much gorgeousness my eyes hurt. I’ve got a soft spot for blueprint layouts of houses (nerdy, right). I used to draw house layouts for fun as a kid, so I think it brings me back ;) Love it all – such a fun project!

  6. jaclyn says

    Love it all!

    Also, I’m totally stealing the dining room mood board for my back porch makeover! I love the colors/textures/materials…everything. Now to just swap out the dining table for a loveseat and and the ceiling fixture for a few wall sconces.

    Good job, team!

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