You ready for a post full of embarrassing photos (of me and Katie B) and adorable photos (of Clara and Will) with a few house crashing and shopping-on-the-road sneak peeks mixed in? Oh yeah. Let’s do this.
The crazy thing is that even though this little recap of our four days spent in Atlanta has over 40 photos in it, it’s just the tip of the
iceberg road trip, so we’ll be back with a few detailed House Crashing posts, a nice juicy window-shopping post from on the road, and a thrift store video that Katie and I cobbled together all in one take (yes, someone comes up to chat with us right in the middle of it). Just gotta go through our 1000+ photos and make sense of everything. So there’s that to look forward to. But for now let’s focus on trying to encapsulate the amazing/embarrassing/inspiring/delicious/nerve-wracking lovefest that was Haven. We had a blast. And to the people who organized it… I can’t even imagine how much work went into it. It was so much fun to just show up and wander around with tons of fellow DIY and blog-lovers.
Pic above from Rhoda.
We were asked about a year ago to be the keynote speakers and we agreed before we could get too nervous and second guess ourselves. Then we had a whole year to think about how not to make a fool of ourselves. Did it work? Of course not. Somehow I worked the word fart into at least five sentences. You had to be there. Seriously, who has a video of that, because no amount of explaining will do that justice. But amazingly, we heard some very kind words from the organizers, sponsors, and attendees when it was all over. So I’m calling it a success. If you’re consumed with curiousity about how the word fart slipped in there, you can check out a pretty detailed rundown of our chat here.
Pic above from Sarah.
Did we know we would be speaking to a room of hundreds of people? Nope. But we tried not to think about it or say the word fart (only 50% of that plan worked out). We had put together a little slide show about the 11 mostly-subconscious “decisions” that had steered the course of our blog, so we basically just got up there and talked about everything that we think got us to where we are today – from deciding how often to post to how we accidentally became a business. And every time I looked out at the crowd expecting someone to be yawning or texting I was greeted with a smile. Seriously, we felt the love in that room and it was awesome. I think it’s why John and I felt so comfortable and a little fart or two slipped out. Wait, that sounded wrong. Of my mouth. A mouth fart. This isn’t getting better.
I totally could not have done this without John. It was actually kind of fun to go up there with him because we could just be dorks together and sort of chat and keep each other feeling comfortable. And apparently from certain angles I enjoyed hiding behind him.
Pic above from Debbie.
I definitely did that thing where I locked eyes on a few people throughout the entire chat and sort of smiled at them/creeped them out. So thanks to you guys, for not crying or getting up and leaving when I gave you my crazy too-long gaze.
Pic above from Rhoda.
And as you probably saw over on Katie’s blog, she hung out with my bean and her tinkler up in our hotel room while we got our chat on. Are they not the cutest couple ever? Not that I’m biased.
Pic above from Katie.
Then we all came downstairs and mingled. Weird things like this scene from an eight grade dance ensued (that’s Dusty from All Things G & D, my new real-life friend – she’s hilarious and amazing and Katie and I just let it all hang out with her).
Pic above from Katie.
There were really awesome and inspiring sessions, like one from Builder/Temptress Ana White (she was so nice in person, I couldn’t stop giggling around her). Let me just tell you, that girl knows her way around a drill and a pair of stilettos. Consider me impressed (and substantially less coordinated). We also checked out Layla and Kevin’s photography/styling session and I learned a ton.
Pic above from Katie.
We also got to meet people that we feel like we’ve known forever- like the lovely and super sweet Kate from Centsational Girl.
Pic above from Katie.
The guys (John and Katie’s husband Jeremy) took off with the kiddos so we could attend those sessions, just because two crazy toddlers and an eight pound chihuahua (yes Burger came with us too) weren’t exactly easy to wrangle in the crowds. And something happened to me and Katie when the kiddos and spouses left. It started feeling like ladies night out. Which explains that picture of us gyrating against Dusty two photos up.
There was a pretty sweet cocktail hour at the end of the day, complete with shrimp, brie, and those little triangular pastries that taste like croissants. Good times. This is when I got to meet a ton of people and just chatted and hung out and laughed and my mouth hurt at the end from smiling.
Pic above from Katie.
Now I’ll admit something to the internet that I didn’t think I was going to: I worried people would be haughty. Or standoffish. Or sort of like Mean Girls but grown up. I don’t know, I’m a nerd, so I just went into it worrying people would be clique-y and closed off. SO NOT THE CASE. I don’t know what I thought conferences were like, but this was nothing but eating, drinking, and being merry.
Pic above from Katie.
And at the end of the night, we somehow ended up shutting down a restaurant with four other awesome Haven chicks that had us at wanna-go-to-dinner-together? (Dusty from All Things G&D, Beth from Unskinny Boppy, Kent of Peachy Keen Designs, and Colleen from The Restarter Home). Apparently the place closed at 9 but the waiter didn’t even tell us until after 11.
Pic above from Katie.
Can I just tell you the last time I shut down a restaurant. Never. And after a little dancing outside of the hotel to Low by Flo Rida (yes, $herdog was in the hizouse) we somehow found ourselves in another teenage pose. This time, of the prom variety. I like how we’re all holding each other and Katie’s holding her baby.
Pic above from Katie.
As for what our children were doing while we were being completely responsible and not at all embarrassing parents, John kept me posted by sending little iPhone pics like this:
And then the next day Katie ended up taking us all to a really fun public pool with all sorts of suped up stuff (lazy river? check. water slides? check). It was awesome. And it was fun to spend time with the kiddos/family after a day of “business and lady-bonding” at Haven.
I missed mah man the day before, so it was nice to be reunited. Oh yes, cheesy but true. I guess when you work together all the time, you notice when your other half is gone. Thank goodness I had Katie B as my wifey-for-the-day at Haven.
Speaking of Katie… dude, the girl has a waterproof case for her Flip camera. Consider me amazed. Apparently amazed enough to add a caption to this picture in third person. Totally normal, right?
Yup, we all recorded ourselves going down the water slides. Except I was wearing shorts (yes, I have a fear of standing up with a giant swimsuit wedgie after many childhood experiences on water slides) so I went about one mile an hour down the slide thanks to my not-slippery-like-a-bathing-suit shorts. It was hilarious. I think people might have thought I was stuck at one point.
These next three photos are Katie’s but they help demonstrate a few key things. For example, this one’s the best we could do with our kids in our lap. In other words: our kids be wiggly.
And this photo is to hopefully squash pregnancy rumors (I’m talking to you, Mom). They tend to start when I’m blocking my belly with something, like plywood or a kid (see above). I’m not gonna lie though – I’m totally sucking it in. Not an imaginary baby, just a leftover-from-Clara roll or two.
See, I told you I was the cool kid at the pool rocking jean shorts to block water slide wedgies.
This photo is just to demonstrate how ruggedly athletic I am. Never mind that I’m not actually swimming and am just resting my belly on the bottom of the shallow end of the pool.
To keep the water theme going, Beansie had the best time down at the creek behind the Bower’s house with Will. He was a little explorer and she followed behind him dutifully.
The next day we hit up Zoo Atlanta. It was the best. I feel like I’m saying everything was the best, but it was a series of fun days, so bear with me. Or lion with me. Hmm, that was a smoother pun in my head.
I love this picture. So I’m fighting my instincts to make an even more terrible pun like “my daughter likes to monkey around.”
Oh and we went on the train at the zoo, which was easily Clara’s favorite part- except for the “scary, scary tunnel.” She made it through like a champ though. I think it helped to know she had her man behind her to defend her.
Then it was carousel time. Clara liked it, but I loved it. Nearly all the photos are of me with my mouth open too wide. What can I say? Too Excited is my middle name.
The next day it was Georgia Aquarium time. The whales? Awesome. I have no words. Except awesome apparently.
It’s a really interactive place, so Clara had fun climbing into little nooks and bubbles to peer at all of the cool fish swimming around her.
She especially liked spying on the penguins.
And peering up at the fish as they swam by overhead in the underwater tube where you could see creatures of all shapes and sizes on all sides.
But her favorite specimen was still Will. Here she is inching over…
She’s a close talker, just like her mom.
Oh my gosh, and this is my favorite room there: the giant tank with all the whale sharks. I think we stayed in there for a good half-hour, just staring.
Oh and I guess the whole Clara-liked-all-the-nooks-and-bubbles-she-could-climb-into was a like-mother-like-daughter thing. Because this series of embarrassing photos was shot in plain sight of anyone walking by at the time. First there’s me growling and trying to do some kind of water aerobics by incorporating a sexy side lunge:
But then I inexplicably switched gears, stopped growling and made a completely nondescript face, and added jazz hands.
We thought it was pretty funny to see a Home Depot logo in the middle of the aquarium, so you know we all posed like the big DIY dorks that we are. Except for sweet Jeremy, who was happy to take the picture, wrangle Will, and pretend he didn’t know us. Haha.
Check out the hair situation I have going on here. A giant chunk of hair shooting over my sunglasses like a wave = a sure sign of a good time.
Oh and that night the Bowers took us to Stone Mountain to watch the fireworks and a laser show while Katie’s mom and dad babysat for our already-sleeping kiddos. It was a glorious end to a glorious trip.
Of course it wasn’t all
fun and games bacon and Bower fun. We actually squeezed in more than a few house crashings. Woot! So here’s a little taste for ya from two houses that couldn’t have been more different (which is totally why we love house crashing – there are so many different rooms to snoop around, snap, and share):
Just know there’s more where that came from. Can’t wait to get those images organized and uploaded.
Oh and we did a little window shopping too, first at the Pottery Barn Outlet in Gaffney, South Carolina…
… and then at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store right outside of Charlotte, NC. I actually got two yards of awesomeness, so I’ll have to share more shopping details whenever we can throw together a window-shopping rundown.
And we can’t forget our little trip to Goodwill to record another annual thrift store video for ya (like this one of yore).
So between the current DIY projects and updates, we’ll be sprinkling in some fun little ATL adventures over the next few weeks. Anyone else do anything fun this weekend? Any other Haven attendees with hilarious (slash highly embarrassing) photos to share? Any big road trips coming up for you guys? I gotta say, we dreaded 8.5 hours in the car each way with a toddler and a dog, but it wasn’t that bad!
We had tons of fun House Crashing Kelly Moore last May (you can see the whole shebang here)…
… so when she told us she had made some outdoor updates, we couldn’t wait to check out this little haven that she created out on her deck.
Complete with outdoor drapes, a hanging egg chair (from Ikea), some colorful seating (from CB2) , and lots and lots of potted plants – it definitely has serious come-hither charm.
We especially loved the leaning pallet planter that she DIYed with hose clamps from the home improvement store.
Some pallets have chemicals in them while others are more naturally sealed (with heat) so they’re less questionable for outdoor crafts like this. And if you’re unsure, you can always use a product like SafeCoat to seal off a pallet (it’s what the pros also use to seal off lead paint). To see more on how Kelly made her palette planter, click here.
The deck leads down to a sitting area with more bold seating, a chiminea, and a fire pit. You can see a closer shot of that area here.
And in almost every corner there are pretty little potted plants, like this sweet little succulent.
We love that not only did Kelly use plant pots for her greenery, she also used a few unexpected items, like this old metal toolbox. It definitely adds some soul and personality to the mix.
You can check out more of the outdoor details on Kelly’s blog. And a big thanks to her for sharing the update with us – we love seeing even more nooks and crannies of Kelly’s gorgeous house!
***Speaking of gorgeous houses, we’re on the lookout for awesome houses to crash in the Atlanta, Georgia area (or in the areas between there and Richmond – like Charlotte NC, Greenville SC, Greensboro NC, etc) since we’re headed out that way for the Haven Conference next week. We’ll also be traveling to Bethany Beach Delaware later this summer, so if you have a crash-worthy home in that area – or even in Virginia Beach, Virginia’s eastern shore, or Annapolis Maryland – we’d love to check it out! To submit your casa, just drop an email with some house photos and your location (just a general region, we don’t need your address yet) to email@example.com and we’ll do our best to figure something out (can’t promise we can hit every home that’s submitted, but we’ll do our darndest to squeeze in as much house-crashing fun as we can!).
But back to Kelly’s outdoor oasis. Let’s play the favorite part game. I’m dying over the egg chair and can’t believe I missed it whenever it was sold at Ikea (it’s not there anymore, boo hoo). Meanwhile John is loving the tool box planter. Oh and you can check out every house we’ve crashed here, and a few houses that we’ve re-crashed for update posts here and here.
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.