Who’s in the mood for some snooping? When Lori and her husband Greg (and their sweet son Owen) invited us over to crash their charming Richmond home, we jumped at the chance. Isn’t that little tin roof over the door awesome? I also love that the front steps are tiered on three sides instead of being closed in on the ends. Bet someone could DIY that…
Lori and Greg are actually veterans of the House Crashing experience. They had us over their first home back in 2010 (when both Lori and I were both prego). We loved that house so much that we couldn’t wait to see where they lived now…
… especially since in the time that we last crashed them they’ve had a son and were just on the cusp of having a daughter! Ellie actually came a little while ago, but Lori was still pregnant when we crashed her house. Apparently we only invade her home her while she’s with child.
The small world story is that they had a son named Owen just a few months after I had Clara and we hadn’t seen them for a few years. But now, by coincidence, Owen and Clara are preschool classmates. Seriously, we walked into school the first day and said “no way! how are you?!”
So while our kids were in school one morning, Lori had us over to check out their new has-room-for-two-kiddos home (we wanted to squeeze the house crash in before she had a newborn to work around). So here’s a shot of their pretty formal living room in the front of the house. The tall ceilings with thick detailed molding were awesome. Nearly all of Lori’s furniture is secondhand (hailing from Craigslist and thrift stores alike) which is always a really cool layered look – and of course it’s a nice budget-friendly method. She also loves to get accessories from places like HomeGoods and flash sale sites (the starburst mirror was scored at a deep discount from One King’s Lane).
My favorite spot in the whole house was the more casual family room in the back of the house right off of the kitchen. See these built-ins? Lori and Greg hired a local handyman to build them to fit between those two windows and provide a ton of kid-friendly storage. So smart. You wouldn’t believe all the toys, games, movies and other clutter they’ve wisely hidden in those drawers & cabinets. I especially liked that they chose doors that are flush with the frame (it had a really clean look). And for anyone looking for a handyman, Lori said she found him through her realtor’s recommendation, so that method can actually work out.
So even if you’re not able to build a giant TV cabinet yourself, it’s amazing how much input you can have by hiring someone local to make it (and it can often be cheaper than getting one made by a larger company, like KraftMaid or even buying a giant unit at Pottery Barn and paying a hefty shipping fee). You also get to pick the cubby sizes, the type of doors, the hardware, the paint color, the placement, etc – so it’s a great way to be involved and end up with something super functional and fitted to your home. Oh and see that coffee table? Lori got it at The Dump (the same local furniture outlet where we got our dining room table). The funny thing is that now stores like West Elm are selling tables like it, but she got it a while ago from a furniture discounter! I love that.
The kitchen is really open to the casual living room, so picture us taking this shot with our backs to the built-ins from the photo above. We loved that it had wood cabinets since so many of you guys request that we share house crashings beyond white kitchens (we share whatever we get invited to crash! haha!).
They had a nice dark granite to work with the cabinets (and dark hardware on the wood cabinets to tie it in) and the giant window over the sink was amazing. This shot does it no justice, but it’s a gorgeous wooded lot so Lori can basically watch birds and deer and pretend she’s Snow White while she washes dishes.
This little nook in the kitchen, to the left of the white table above, was one of my favorite little “moments” in the whole house. That gorgeous painting was by a local artist that Lori and Greg picked up a few months ago at the “READ Art Show” (held annually at the New Community School here in Richmond). I love the bright colors with the thin frame around it.
In person it’s about 100 times prettier. And those two skinny cork lamps were so cool and unusual on that pretty mid-century cabinet that Lori found on Craigslist and updated with new knobs.
Wanna see the cork lamps a little closer? They’re from another local furniture outlet called The Decorating Outlet (which is where we’ve found a lot of the lights in our house too, like the pendants in our kitchen and the capiz chandelier in Clara’s nursery).
This shot is what you see if you step about five steps to the left of the photo above, and it’s the hallway that leads from the front door to the kitchen. We loved the old industrial stool (a craigslist find!) and that huge cow painting (from a local shop called The Wild Orchid). And doesn’t that black door frame in the background look awesome?
If you step further into the hallway you can see a little entryway table and a casual striped rug (which is another flash sale site find from One King’s Lane). The touches of black in the door, the letter on the wall, and the stripes in the rug were really pretty and understated I thought. Lori has this way of decorating that sort of screams “oh I just tossed this together” – especially in person. It really gives off an awesome not-too-fussy vibe. After all, two kids under two and a half live here, so it has to be functional and work for the family.
Here’s a shot of their bedroom upstairs, continuing with the not-too-fussy theme. Doesn’t everything from the small sunburst mirror (another secondhand find) to those cool dark sconces and that orange pillow just feel warm and inviting without feeling extra frou-frou? The whole house has a very “we actually live here” vibe, which is awesome and comfortable. And those sconces also hail from The Decorating Outlet here in Richmond.
This pretty side chair on the other side of their bedroom was a secondhand score (Lori recovered the seat with some new fabric from a local fabric outlet called U-Fab). I love how those ikat-ish stripes in the fabric pick up on the darker elements in the room like the dark frames, the dark sconces above the bed, the dresser, etc. Just like in her hallway (two shots back) Lori has a way with using hits of dark colors just so (it never feels dark or brooding, just crisp and interesting).
Here’s their master bathroom and although they inherited a tub in the middle of the room set on a diagonal, Lori decided to work with what she had and just added a ton of function. So she had the same handyman who built that awesome media cabinet in her family room build the cabinets under those two windows on the back wall and she brought in that pretty dresser with the mirror above it for even more storage.
This is actually where she bathes her kids, so it’s nice to have that dark-drawered dresser (another thifty find from an old antique shop) to fill with kid-bath-stuff, while the white cabinets under the windows are used for seating and even more storage for her and her husband’s stuff. And going back to the dark hits of color thing that Lori does so well, see how she picked a dark-framed mirror and that dark-fronted cabinet to balance the dark vanities on the other side of the room? Love that.
Ellie’s room is awesome. This is how it looked before she was born – all floofed for the camera (of course the pillows and stuffed animals are out of the crib now that she’s here). And see that pretty crib? It’s from Pottery Barn – but she got it on Craigslist! Awesome right? She didn’t even need to paint it, it came that color.
The bunny art above the crib is something Lori found at a local store called Strawberry Fields, but the cool thing is that it’s actually by a local artist that John and I met at the craft fair last year. It’s a small world, eh? We love her stuff (Clara has the same bunny in the hall). And how cute is that felt mobile? It was an Etsy find.
Lori also got these cute book shelves on Etsy. I love the hot pink color and the way they play with the side table that Lori painted with a hot pink top. And that plush rocker below them is also a Craigslist find.
Owen’s room is awesome too. We were especially into this giant piece of art over his crib, which was actually a large piece of fabric that Lori stretched over a canvas and stapled around the back. It totally looks like a giant painting, right? The fabric is Marimekko for anyone wondering (it’s out of stock, but hopefully that link and the name might help you track it down on ebay or from another fabric wholesaler if you’re interested?).
There are sets of pretty pocket doors in a few places, like this one that looks into the guest room.
Here’s that room a little closer. I love the old metal bed and the placement of it under the window with the peaked ceilings on either side of it. The cool thing about that bed is that it was Lori’s from childhood. Yup, she’s had it for nearly 30 years!
The same goes for the dresser, it’s from her room as a child and she didn’t even paint it (or the bed) – this is them in their original 30-years-old glory. Don’t you love the casual cottage-y feeling they add to the room? And of course I’m awkwardly obsessed with that glass based lamp (another secondhand find of Lori’s).
Looking through the other side of those pocket doors you can see a chill little office/playroom/sitting room.
I loved these cool blue cube tables that Lori paired together (they’re from Home Decorators), along with framing a National Geographic map that she cut into nine parts on the back wall.
So that’s Lori, Greg, Owen, and Ellie’s awesome home. We’re so grateful they invited us over to shoot some pics to share with you – and we hope you guys got a kick out of touring their home from the comforts of your chair/sofa. Want to play the favorite part game? I loved the pocket doors, the colorful art in the kitchen, and the awesome family room built-ins. Meanwhile John dug that clever fabric-made-into-art over Owen’s crib, the fact that most furnishings were secondhand finds, and also called those living room built-ins right along with me. Ok, your turn.
Psst- Let’s keep snooping! Click here to virtually walk around over 45 homes that we’ve crashed.
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 Fab.com.
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.
Quick update: Tonight we’ll be at FLOR in DC on 1037 33rd Street NW at 6:30pm for a book party, signing, and free rug raffle (we’re giving away an exclusive FLOR rug of our own design!) along with wine, popcorn, cookies, and soda. This event is now sold out (there’s more info here) so we added another not-sold-out DC event here- and there’s just one more day to get in on that. Woot! Also last night I had a dream that a girl with blue hair styled into a mullet came to our signing and told everyone to leave and that we weren’t coming right before we came out so everyone was pissed and left and then we came out and no one was there. Womp-womp.
You guys know Lesli, right? She’s a friend of ours who lives in out in the country (Greenwood, Virginia) and happens to be an amazing painter (you might remember our giveaway with her). She has an awesome blog and a sweet old house – complete with extra high ceilings that we covet and 100+ year old details that make “old farmhouse” the dream for so many people (us included). So we can’t wait to show you around. Let’s get to snooping…
Almost every item in Lesli’s home has been loved back to life. Like the old bench that sits in her entryway, which she got secondhand for $50 and painted a fresh new color. All of the mixed and matched art above it has such a fun and casual vibe – almost like it’s a beach house. The best thing about this house out in the country (with gorgeous views of the mountains) is that nothing feels too precious. Clara had a blast (and I didn’t have to have fifteen heart attacks worrying that she’d break something since the house was so kid friendly and fun). Oh and see that suitcase that Clara’s standing on? It can be seen in this Burger birthday video (Lesli’s daughter actually gave it to Clara to take home – how sweet is that?).
To the left of that entryway are two large rooms with awesome envy-inducing high ceilings. The room in the front is a living area, and the one in the back was once a formal dining room but Lesli realized that her family got more use out of making that another sitting area with a big couch for reading (you know, so Lesli can curl up and read in one space while the kids watch TV in the next room). So she moved the dining room to the other side of the house and made this side into one big casual chill-out area.
I think some of the most noteworthy choices that Lesli made in the room had to do with color. Look at those bold patterned curtains! That awesome kid-art with bright pink mats! Even the colorful Uglydoll on the couch is inspired! Too many exclamation points? Sorry, this room just gets me excited. And the coolest thing is that Lesli actually designed the fabric for those curtains herself (it’s a horse painting that she did, which she uploaded to Spoonflower and duplicated a bunch of times to create an abstract ikat-ish effect). I got woozy when she told me that. Seriously, it was horse-print-induced hysteria.
Here’s that room behind the one we shared above (which used to be the formal dining room until she moved that to the other side of the house). I love that Lesli made things work for her family instead of being locked into using the same layout that the previous owners did. And see that round coffee table? It was actually a kitchen table from Lesli’s old house, but she cut the stand down to make it coffee-table height. Isn’t that a smart use-whatcha-got trick?
Check out that big mirror over the mantel. It’s original to the 100+ year old house. Gorgeous, right? Lesli was so humble about everything but I was totally standing there drooling. The cool thing about this house is that it’s a great example of how you can fill an awesome old farmhouse with inexpensive items and reinvent old thrift store pieces. And nothing feels like you’re going to break it or ruin it… it’s approachable and comfortable.
Here’s a secondhand cabinet that she rescued with some fresh paint. I love the pops of yellow and the wooden fish on the wall with the name of her city painted on it. And see that bolt of fabric leaning casually in the corner? I love it there. The whole house is so refreshingly unfussy and easy.
Here’s her upstairs bathroom complete with a few more pops of color in the art and the textiles. It’s cool to see how Lesli mixes old (the ornate antique mirror) with new (the geometric bath mat – which is actually a TJ Maxx find) along with a whole lotta fresh white.
Lesli’s master bedroom was having some drywall work done in a few areas, but we were able to sneak this shot of the corner of the room complete with a fun graphic chair, a non-working fireplace that she filled with books, and a window cornice that she actually made out of fabric and foam core (seriously! she took one down and showed me and it looked so legit – I never would have guessed it was foam core under there and not wood). And as for a little more info on that chair, she got it cheaply because it was a floor model and then recovered it with $9.99 Dwell Studio fabric from U-Fab (she found a great upholstery guy out there who only charged $100 to recover the chair!).
Now on to my favorite room in the house! You may have seen her daughter Phoebe’s room since it actually won in a recent Washington Post kids room contest, but even if you have, it’s totally worth a second look. Everything from that awesome colorful chandelier (from Urban Outfitters!) to the bold blue wall with the fun pink border and some more patterned fabric cornices (plus that great geometric rug that she got on clearance from PB Teen for $150!) was completely fun and charming.
Without a doubt my favorite thing in the room were the beds. Can you believe that Lesli got them at a thrift store for super cheap and then painted and upholstered the back herself? It looked complicated (how do you curve the fabric like that?) but the curved panel actually just pops out so she added some batting and some fabric, pulled it taut and stapled it in the back, and then just screwed the panel back on. Easy peasy. The fabric is Premier Suzani Slub in Corn. Don’t they look like a million bucks?
The room that her sons share was just as sweet with fun orange accents (the over-sized ceiling shade and the curtains that she made with this fabric were awesome)…
… but my favorite things in that room were these crazy.awesome.lamps. They were just cheap glass lamps that she got from Target, but they were fillable – so she decided to fill one of them with a bunch of tiny toys that her son had collected when he was younger but no longer plays with. And the other one got filled with old cars that used to be enjoyed all the time. I thought it was such a cool way to keep something sentimental around that your child might not actively play with anymore. Imagine the possibilities: legos, polly pockets, colored pencils, rubber erasers, the list goes on! Now I can expand my shadowbox obsession to fillable lamps…
So there you have Lesli’s awesome house. Thanks so much to her and the family for so graciously inviting us over to crash! We had the best time, and couldn’t wait to share all of her creativity with you guys. I mean, from those spoonflower curtains that Lesli designed herself to the lamps full of kid paraphernalia, we definitely left feeling super inspired! Now let’s play the what’s-your-favorite-part game. I gotta stick with those genius thrift store beds that she completely redid for Phoebe’s room. Amazing.
Psst- Don’t wanna stop snooping around? You can check out dozens of House Crashing adventures right here.