House Crashing

Store Crashing: Gelati Celesti

We’ve only store crashed a few times (like this cute local kids consignment shop or this office crashing from Charlotte) but when a local ice cream store called Gelati Celesti opened up in our neighborhood, not only was the ice cream pretty darn good, so was the design. In fact, we actually thought a lot of it could translate into someone’s home (so it’s not just a “commercial” look that you can’t implement in your own kitchen). Let’s have a look around on this fine Wednesday afternoon, shall we?

When you walk in the awesome black-framed doors surrounded by black-framed windows and look to the left, there’s a rustic whitewashed plank wall with a prep area full of fun mint-green penny tiles. The hilarious thing is that after chatting up the owner he revealed he had seen our kitchen and that’s how he had chosen the penny tile, although he opted for the fun mint color. It’s such a small world. But we’ll get to showing you more of the awesome penny tiled area in a second. First lets linger on those marble counters. Veiny and delicious, eh?

So if you’re brainstorming kitchen pairings, we think the dark chocolate concrete floors with the light marble counters and the penny tile mixed with those rustic wood plank walls are a pretty smokin’ combo. Especially when paired with a pop of peachy coral (in the sign) and those awesome glass-jug lights above the serving area. Maybe skip any giant freezers full of ice cream in the center of your kitchen though. Wait, but on second thought, I think a giant freezer full of ice cream in the center of a kitchen could be pretty amazing…

Here’s a closer shot at that awesome salmon colored sign (the bottom ten squares are chalkboard paint so they can write in new flavors) and the mint green penny tile. Me-ow, right?

Let’s get closer. Who’s craving a big ol’ cone? Just me?

This is the other side of the room, which is full of industrial metal + wood tables and chairs along with more of those awesome glass-jugs-turned-pendant-lights. And now you can see more of those giant black-trimmed windows that let in lots of light and seem to work really well with the industrial concrete floors. So painting your kitchen window sashes black in a kitchen with white cabs, dark floors, and colorful tile could be awesome. And check out that sign in the back…

I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s a close up of those awesome jar pendants. I totally didn’t stand on a chair to get this picture. Nope, wasn’t me.

Here are a few more seating details for you, just in case the metal + wood + stripe of darker wood bench gives you any ideas – maybe for a breakfast nook or a banquette? I’ve heard that built in benches can save space (you can place a table much closer to a wall than you would if it had pull-out chairs) so maybe it could work for your kitchen?

Of course this trip wasn’t all business. A girl’s gotta eat! For any locals, you HAVE to get “Just Ask” (it’s white chocolate ice cream with peanut butter and Oreos). In other words, IT WILL BLOW YOUR FREAKING MIND.

Sorry for the caps. It’s that good. And Clara’s pretty into their cake batter variety too. So there you have a rare little store crashing installment. Have you been to any stores that have actually inspired you when it comes to things you could do to your own home? It’s amazing how many things might be applicable if you keep an eye out. Oh and the owner asked if we could shout out the designer and construction crew that made his store possible, and you know we love giving props and sharing the local love, so for anyone else looking for help, the designer was Fraser Design Associates and the construction was done by THS Construction.

Psst- Wanna see everything we’ve crashed? Your wish is my command (just click here).



House Crashing: Cozy & Full Of Character

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.