You know how excited we get to snoop around houses and share the goods with you guys (we’ve even crashed open houses and stores), so just picture our excitement to crash EIGHT houses on one block for your viewing pleasure.
It definitely wasn’t our most traditional house crashing adventure – it was actually a home show here in Richmond called Richmond Homearama, where home builders team up with local designers to construct and decorate eight houses in a variety of styles. Most of the homes are already sold by now, but you can still stroll around for ideas and inspiration. So we thought we’d show you a few of our favorite nooks and crannies.
It was pretty cool how from one house to the next you could go from a casual elegant dining room…
… to a polished transitional one. And since all of the rooms were done by local design pros, they seemed to be more layered and intricate than the average staged-for-sale new construction. A lot of the designers tried to do something different and take interesting risks (like two large light fixtures over a table or a backsplash made from river rocks) so it was fun to see them stretch the usual “keep it basic and neutral” house-selling rule.
As much eye candy as there was to take in, some rooms definitely stood out to us as favorites. One being this could’ve-been-overlooked mudroom in the “European Elegance” home.
My penchant for old boxes and crates was satisfied, while Sherry appreciated the open space under the built-in bench where shoes could be casually kicked off while still remaining wrangled (let’s face it, kids don’t always put them in baskets, but the least they can do is kick them into that zone under the bench).
But our favorite details by far were these coat hooks made from brightly-colored valve handles. The designers picked them up at a local hardware store (Pleasants, for all you Richmonders) and spray painted them in a few happy colors (there are also ready-to-order collections on Etsy if you’re looking to recreate the look).
This house also featured one of our favorite bedrooms. And come to think of it, this was also where we found the first dining room pictured above (who would’ve thought we’d be so into European Elegance?). See that cute dog on the bench at the foot of the bed? He’s not real. But he could have fooled us when we walked in (and we later admitted we were sad that he wasn’t).
We liked this gutsy and graphic choice for the headboard. Maybe cranes (herons?) aren’t something we’re brave enough to do in our own home, but it was certainly fun and very memorable.
We also liked that they woke up the room with a big blast of color on one wall, thanks to this kick butt piece of art (from Crossroads here in Richmond, for anyone interested). It’s like, just when you thought the room might be too gray-washed… BAM! How you like them florals?
Speaking of gray + color, this guest bedroom from the “Swift Creek Cottage” also had a cozy stay-a-while vibe. We thought the shutters on the inside was a fun touch to play off the whitewashed wood wall. The whole room felt like a comfortable sun porch or something.
Here’s a closer shot of that wall, which they made from reclaimed pieces of lumber. And isn’t that yellow inset on the headboard a nice detail? Most of the furniture in all eight houses came from The Greenfront Furniture Market (although some of it was altered by the designers) so hopefully that helps if you’re looking for something.
One room I’m bummed I didn’t get better pictures of is what I call the “Angel Kitchen.” Why? Because when they flipped on the lights it was like a chorus of “Hallelujahs!” It was like we had died and gone to white, glass-fronted, brilliantly-lit cabinet heaven. Feel free to play this music while staring at this picture for the full effect.
This home, named the “Modern Craftsman” was probably the closest to our current style. Actually, speaking of which – see that upholstered chair in the background of this striped side table shot? We actually used that fabric in one of our book projects!
This house is also a good place to point out one trend that we noticed across all of the houses: lots of molding and trim that went the extra mile on both the walls and ceilings. For example, here’s the staircase right beside the table shown above. This was a huge double height entryway, so the trim-work cozied things up and made it feel less like an ampitheatre when you walked in.
This house also carried the feature moldings into the bedroom with this pretty tone-on-tone coffered ceiling. Oh to have high ceilings like this…
Coffered ceilings seemed to be all over the place actually. Some were more subdued (like the one above) while others were more bold, like this living room from the “European Elegance” house that used a darker color to cozy things up.
This sitting room in the “Swift Creek Cottage” used the white paneled wall to offset a bold blue accent wall, showing that just because a wall has some trim detail doesn’t mean it needs to be the only focus.
Back on the bolder end of things, the designer of the “Vintage Rediscovered” home had this outside-the-box solution for the monstrous ceiling in the master bedroom – she had the builder add faux beams (surprise, they’re actually just painted drywall).
Though in this house it was the master bathroom that caught our eye the most. The mixture of textures and tiles just made the whole space feel really comfortable and lived in. Sherry was thisclose to drawing herself a bath (and rubbing her face on that grasscloth wallpaper).
Another trend we noticed across the homes was how the builders didn’t miss opportunities to steal extra storage space by adding nooks and recessed shelves in the walls. Like this stylish kids’ bathroom in the “Swift Creek Cottage” with some built-in storage on either side of the sinks.
It seemed like every kitchen island had an open shelf or built-in bookcase on at least one end. And the kitchen from this same “Swift Creek Cottage” also had a little shelf in the half-wall next to the benched breakfast area.
Now if only ceramic animals had been more of a trend in all of the spaces. Although we did find these guys chillin’ on the dining table…
And while we’re still in the “Swift Creek Cottage”, let’s finish out some of the other cool details that we spotted there that certainly go beyond average builder finishes. Like this hammered copper apron sink (the first one we’ve ever seen in person):
They also traded out standard double-doors for these cool rolling barn doors in an upstairs media room. Still gotta figure out a place to use these guys in our house somewhere…
We even found the entrance of the “Swift Creek Cottage” inspiring. Check out the fun green door:
Speaking of entrances and outdoorsy stuff – we noticed more than one home that featured rain chains (which are basically downspout alternatives since rain hugs the chain and is led down to the ground). Looks like those are becoming more and more of a thing, even in new constructions. Sherry always wanted one for our first house, so we might have to make it happen in our current one.
This home below was called “Simply Flexible” and featured another space that’s apparently really “in” right now which is known as the command center. See that area to the left with the pencil art? It was a small area that housed some built-in cabinets, a built-in desk and functions somewhere between a drop-zone and a mini office. Perhaps it’s the 2012 version of having a small desk for a laptop right in your kitchen?
Of course, beyond these broader building trends there were still little decorating/crafty projects that we noticed. This Check Your Pockets sign in the laundry room of the “European Elegance” home (with jars to stash change, pens, candy, and money before they go into the washer) is a cute functional idea. Plus it’s inspiration to make sign art from scrap wood with any message stenciled on the front.
The equestrian-themed kids room in the “Historic Richmond” home had this cool idea of showcasing prize ribbons by clipping them on a couple of old shutters. We thought it was a fun idea even if you’d rather hit up eBay instead of the stables for your ribbons.
And speaking of themed kids’ rooms, I couldn’t resist showing you guys this Angry Birds room. Yes, it’s definitely bold, but I’ve gotta give them points for creativity. I loved how the bed, shelves, and even the nightstand were constructed to look like the game. Let’s just hope things don’t fall over or get blown up as easily as they do on my iPhone.
Obviously we’ve only scratched the surface of all eight houses at Homearama, so it’s totally worth a visit if you’re a local (it runs Wednesdays – Sundays through May 6th). As a heads up, it’s $10 for adults but free for kids 12 and under. Oh, and we’d love to know what home jumps out as your favorite, or if there’s a particular room or idea that you’d love to make yours. Or what general trends you’re noticing in new constructions when it comes to their layouts/design.
Psst- Still feel like snooping? Check out over 35 other houses we’ve crashed right here.
We shared a smidge of Kirsten’s amazing house in last week’s Portland post just to get you excited, but here’s the whole House Crashing monty for ya. The exterior of her and her husband Kyle’s house is a rich gray color and the porch has the most amazing over-sized white corbels on either side of the door (note: house numbers have been changed to protect the innocent).
Here’s a shot o the outside of the house from further away (wish we had been able to see it in all of its spring/summer glory when more is in bloom).
When you walk inside, there’s a charming little entryway directly across from the door between the dining room and the living room. It’s such a sweet (and functional!) area that Kirsten squeezed into the room. They were actually made by a local woodworker (she said it saved her lots of money in comparison to some ready-made systems that she saw) and the awesome giant N is from Anthropologie.
Aside from immediately going crazy over everything from the awesome paint colors (this room’s Benjamin Moore’s Copley Gray) to that genius oversized map (from Schoolhouse Electric, by the way), we just snapped our way around her house – oohing and aahing the whole way.
The wood-burning fireplace actually works (so cozy) and Kirsten mentioned that the patterned rug from Crate & Barrel has been an awesome choice since sometimes a bit of soot or ash can get on it down at the end there, but it blends right in. Oh and that mirror above the fireplace is a craigslist find.
This wood-chest turned side table (found on craigslist!) was such a fun pairing with the colorful ikat chair from Urban Outfitters.
Oh and the coffee table was a wedding gift that a number of relatives went in on from Crate & Barrel.
Directly across from the living room is the dining area, complete with a cool slightly arched doorway…
… and an awesome fixture from Ballard Design.
Everything from the thin black frames on that back wall to the table made from reclaimed wood that has special meaning to Kirsten and her hubby Kyle (it’s from a barn that was taken down in his hometown of Sweet Home, Oregon) had us threatening to move in on the spot. Oh and the paint color in here is Quill by Olympic.
For more on those frames and the art within them, you can check out Kristen’s blog here (the prints have a really interesting origin, and the frames were garage sale finds). Even the little console table behind the dining area was really sweetly accessorized. I remember telling Kirsten that she has a serious knack for decorating, as in: she should do it full time – and I meant it!
Check out their amazing kitchen! It used to be a narrow galley kitchen (where those hanging pendants are was once a wall). Kirsten and her husband got their wood counter handcrafted by a local woodworker for a steal (a serious steal- like a few hundred dollars for the entire thing, including the hole for the sunken cooktop).
She said they had repainted the walls quite a few times, just to get the perfect color – and this putty color (Benjamin Moore’s Rockport Gray) was the bee’s knees. I loved how rich it made the cabinets look without feeling dark at all.
Here’s the sweet eat-in area on the other side of the room. Is that yellow poster the bomb.com or what? It’s from here (and the amazing yellow peppermill is from Anthropologie).
Oh and I had to share this shot of a small staircase right off of the kitchen that leads to an exterior door. Kirsten wanted to dress up the stairs without spending a ton, so she just used Benjamin Moore’s porch and floor paint (in White Dove and Van Cortland Blue) along with a stencil to give them a pick-me-up.
Here’s the guest room, complete with a charming metal bed and the coolest old wood dresser we’ve seen in a while.
It was totally something you’d see at Anthropologie for a cool grand, but it was actually a free hand-me-down that Kirsten inherited, painted, hated the paint, and then stripped and sanded. Isn’t that an amazing “accidental” effect that she ended up with? It’s so weathered and cool. Oh and the drawer pulls are from Anthropologie and the wall color is Behr’s Pebble Stone.
Here’s the backyard, which was so lush and green thanks to all that Portland rain. That little deck that you see is off of the kitchen, and there’s a fence and some pretty bushes behind where we stood to take this picture.
All in all: a super charming house, with a super charming owner. Thanks so much for inviting us to crash your house Kirsten!
For more on Kirsten’s paint colors, click here, and for more on her house/neighborhood, click here. And click here just to check out her awesome blog in general. Now let’s play the what’s-your-favorite part game. I am completely obsessed with the giant map in the living room, the dining room chandelier, and the wood trunk in the living room. And of course John wants to fight me for the map, and also loves the yellow sign in the kitchen along with the wood counter in there. Your turn.
Psst- Check out over thirty more House Crashing features right here.