Written on June 18, 2013 at 8:30 am , by Style Spotter Editor
Hi there! My name is Carrie Waller, and I’m the DIY blogger behind Dream Green DIY, where you’ll find me chatting about do-it-yourself home decor ideas that you really can do yourself. Any given Saturday, you’ll either find me up to my elbows in projects, or out and about hunting for my next second hand treasure. Life has been a wild adventure ever since beginning my blog back in 2011 as a way to document and inspire my like-minded crafty friends and family, and yet this major part of my identity almost ceased to exist…
I’ll never forget the moment.
I was perched on the couch with my husband lamenting about life as a full-time newspaper copy editor and blogger. Dream Green DIY was only a year old at the time and, while I loved it more than I cared to admit, I could recognize just how much time it was taking up when stacked against my 40-hour-a-week career at the newspaper. Any spare moment away from my day job was spent painting rooms, constructing do-it-yourself jewelry holders and reupholstering furniture – and that’s not even mentioning all of the mini at-home photo shoots, writing 5 posts a week and keeping up with social media. I’m sure all of you creative bloggers out there know exactly what I’m talking about!
Suffice it to say, as much as I adored my blog, it was close to hitting the chopping block – but not before I gave it one final give-it-all-I’ve-got shot. The ultimatum I remember announcing to myself and my husband that night? ”I’m going to give it one more year. If I don’t get some kind of divine sign that I’m supposed to keep going, I’ll quit. (chuckles) Something like a feature in Better Homes and Gardens – THEN I’ll know.”
And that, my friends, brings me to today. Eight months later, with my magazine feature open on the desk beside me, typing this guest post for none other than that one big name I based the entire future of my midnight hustling blogging career on. I couldn’t have asked for a more worthy justification for what I have poured my heart and soul into these past two years, and yet I got it.
So how on earth did I land this incredible opportunity? Ask me that today, and I’ll still give you a wide eyed I-have-NO-idea shake of the head, but really all it took was a quick email shot over to the “I Did It” email inbox, along with a photo of a thrift store dresser I had refinished. A month or so after clicking “Send,” Kit Selzer, BHG remodeling editor, contacted me and offered my dresser and me a spot in a summer issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. After replying in morph speed that I was honored and excited to accept her proposition, the wheels began to turn and everything was coordinated for a date in April.
Since I’ve already been far more long-winded than intended today, I’m going to break down the rest of this life-changing story into 3 abbreviated bullet points, which seek to describe the very best of this VERY BEST of days.
1. The Dresser: I’ve been remiss in fully introducing you to the REAL star of this dream come true – my refurbished thrift store dresser. My husband and I bought the once-dated piece of furniture from a local estate shop for a cool $150. Although we loved the lines of the piece, the finish left a little to be desired. So we decided to redo it, going with a high gloss white on the outside of the dresser, and refurbishing the drawer fronts with a fresh dark stain. To really set the piece apart, I also used a stenciled herringbone pattern down the middle of the drawers. I love how the color palette finally works with our home and taste, and that we were able to breathe fresh life into a piece of furniture that could have otherwise been overlooked.
2. The People: Unfortunately, I have this debilitating fear of asking people if I can take their photo, so I have zero photographic evidence of the people who made this shoot happen. But that doesn’t mean my memories are any less poignant. My initial worries that the jet-setting crew assigned to my story would be entirely disinterested in my podunk hometown and, worse, our modest little home, were kicked to the curb before they even stepped through the door. John Bessler, the photographer from New York, called me on his way to the house for my Starbucks coffee order (so sweet!) and my Los Angeles photo stylist Char Hatch Langos made me feel instantly comfortable with every exclamation of “This is such a cute room!” during the introductory house tour. Both professionals were meeting each other for the first time too, but immediately found a comfortable groove with conversations about their respective children and this celebrity stylist and that photographer. It goes without saying, but it was a major treat to engage with such incredible talent – their shared list of accomplishments include, of course, Better Homes and Gardens, but also House Beautiful, Traditional Home and Elle Decor to name only a few. How could I not be entirely humbled that our house would be part of those memories?
3. The Photo Shoot: Between helping Char gather accessories to style the dresser and actually posing for the photos, I have only a limited collection of Instagram photos to serve as documentation of the day. But no matter how grainy or hurried they may be, I’ll treasure them. Unfortunately, as you may be able to tell by the dull natural light in the photo above, it was one of the rainiest days we’d had all year – practically black outside even at the height of the afternoon. But John knew what he was doing, immediately filling our master bedroom with photography equipment and lights. I’m not kidding when I say that we were all climbing over the bed, crawling under light reflectors and tiptoeing over piles of coiled cables. It was such fun to see our home transformed, even just for those four or so hours, into what looked like a legitimate movie set. With one last wave as the crew drove away, a slow turn back to the house and deep breath as I collapsed on the couch, I knew that I would never ever forget this day.
And that, my brand new friends, is how my world changed in the blink of an eye. All because I decided to believe in an old thrift store dresser and, perhaps more importantly, because I believed in myself. As my feature points out, being a successful DIY-er isn’t so much about being a ninja with a staple gun and hot glue (although that helps!) – It’s about being able to see something and realize that the impossible is within reach. Trust in yourself and, if that little voice inside is telling you that you “can totally make that,” listen!
To keep up with me as I continue to work my way through our little townhouse, one room and one project at a time, feel free to hop on over to my blog - I’d love to welcome you (and your creative insights) into my reading community! And, of course, a BIG “Thank you!” to Better Homes and Gardens for this incredible opportunity. As I’ve said over and over…I’ll never forget it.
(Headshot photos by Mallory Benedict)
Written on June 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm , by Style Spotter Editor
Hi everyone! My name is Jenny of Hank and Hunt. Fourth of July is all about the red, white and blue, but add an extra shade like turquoise and you have a little more kick than the traditional décor you will see at everyone’s BBQ. Skip the white in the decorations and use deep aqua instead with bright reds and blues. Set it all out on a bright white table topped with white flowers and watch the colors pop. Making garlands that are festive with a modern twist is my specialty and I’m going to show you how to do it using different sized honeycomb balls.
You will need:
- 5” and 11” Honeycomb Balls
- Embroidery Thread
- Glue Dots
- Heavy-duty Scissors (like kitchen shears)
For the rectangular shape, keep the honeycomb ball unfolded and trim with heavy-duty shears horizontally across both ends, squaring off the top and bottom edges of the ball. Trim also from top to bottom on the outer edge, forming the rectangle.
For the diamond shape, mark a center point on the curved edge that is even from the top and bottom. Cut from each corner in a straight line to the center point.
To make the garland, make a variety of shapes and plan a pattern for your garland. Cut a length of embroidery thread for your space and lay flat on the floor. Lay the honeycomb shapes flat. Add three glue dots to the center of the honeycomb (by the stapled side) and a few extra on the edges of the cardboard. Lift the embroidery thread and place the stapled center edge underneath. Unfold the honeycomb and press to secure the adhesive. Add more, mixing and matching the shapes to your desire, spacing each shape about 3-5 inches apart. Continue down the thread until you reach the other end. Be sure to leave about 1 foot on each end to hang.
Another option? You don’t even have to cut anything, the 5” honeycomb balls look great on their own as garland. Just add a few extra glue dots to secure each ball to the thread and hang as is. Experiment, try out different combinations like I did with a variety of shapes and sizes and have a good time.
Happy 4th of July!
Written on June 4, 2013 at 8:50 am , by Style Spotter Editor
Hey there! I’m Erin from House of Earnest where I blog about everyday ideas for parties, decor, and DIY around the home. I’m here today to share a common problem when it comes decorating. The rooms we gawk at and trends we swoon over are one thing when they’re in someone else’s home (or a decorator styled space), but how we integrate them into our own style at home is tough. I’m going to share how to bridge that gap and get you on the road to trend-right living.
On the docket today are the beautiful pieces of feminine abstract art that seem to be the most popular addition to any chic space. Working a beautiful abstract piece into more traditional decor isn’t difficult at all and just requires a few key steps!
The big key here is to trim the art out in a frame that meshes well with the rest of your home decor. This will ease the piece into place. Next, layer in some transitional pieces that bring the color of the art down into the room. Traditional shaped lamps in a fun pop color and modern pieces, like this vase, in a neutral will really bridge the gap. I always think that adding in a natural element and a hit of bling is a good idea to create style balance. Pile it all on top of your existing traditional furniture and you’ve got a winning (and did I mention chic?) combo. Wasn’t that fun?
I am thrilled that I got the chance to share with you all how to work trending pieces into your home without redecorating a whole room. If adding a cool abstract piece was this easy, imagine what else we can do!
Written on May 24, 2013 at 9:13 pm , by Style Spotter Editor
Trend: Barn-Door-Style Shower Doors
For a few months now, we’ve been seeing a lot of homes incorporating barn-door-style sliders on pantry doors, bathroom doors, and closets. When I hit the Kitchen and Bath Show last month, I was surprised to see the same kind of hardware showing up on shower doors, too!
The exposed, oversize rollers and more overt slider hardware bring a bit of an industrial vibe to the shower. But because I generally saw it executed in shiny chrome or stainless steel, it feels clean and fresh. It evokes a modern, streamlined effect, not the gritty essence you sometimes get from industrial details.
The other cool thing about this hardware: It allows the shower doors to be essentially frameless. As you can see in this photo of Kohler’s Levity shower, the exposed hardware at the top is pretty much the only structure you see on this shower door system. The sliding panels are frameless, creating a really sleek effect that’s perfect for modern baths—or any bath where you don’t want the shower to be the star of the show.
Keep your eye out for more examples of this innovative new look for shower doors. My bet is that the look will become standard pretty soon.
-Karman Hotchkiss, Deputy Content Core Director
Written on May 21, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Style Spotter Editor
Hi there! I’m Kelly and I blog about budget-friendly DIY home decorating at View Along the Way. My husband and I are attempting to fix up our previously-yucky foreclosure on a TINY budget and I’m sharing the steps, before-and-afters, tutorials and inspiration along the way.
1. Getting “The Email Heard Round the World.”
…or at least around my house. Possibly the nearby tri-county area.
I was THAT excited when a tiny little email popped up in my inbox from Kit, Better Homes & Gardens Senior Editor, saying that BHG was considering my laundry room makeover for an “I Did It!” feature. I read the email and reread it, then smoke came out of my ears and I exploded into a giant happiness crater right in my living room.
We took on this laundry room makeover as a simple, budget-friendly fix. (The cabinets came from a yard sale; we painted the linoleum floors; the wall is stenciled!)
It was the first room I’ve redone where I really stopped and mindfully considered what I truly love, regardless of what anyone else might think. I’m the one who uses the room, so it should be a happy place that speaks to my tastes. I finally gave myself permission to shed the burden of decorating for others or following trends, and it was so freeing. I shared the makeover on my blog knowing that it might not be everyone’s taste, but I was okay with that.
So, when the email came from Kit, it was an incredible confirmation that it is okay to eschew the trends. It is okay to design for you and your family. Can I get an amen?!
2. The giddy prep-work frenzy
Does Better Homes & Gardens do a white-glove test in your home before they let you be in their magazine? I wasn’t sure, so just to be safe, I turned my entire house upside down cleaning in preparation for the shoot! Under the sofas? Spotless! Behind the fridge? Immaculate! The guest room closet that stays closed at all times? Tidy and sparkling!
I have two kids under three, so it probably doesn’t need to be said: that never happens in my house.
I worked myself into a little frenzy getting the house ready for the pros, then I attempted to make myself presentable. Haircut! Brows done! Drop everything and run across the country Forrest-Gump-style for days straight to get in peak shape! (That last part was just a fantasy. Didn’t fit it into my schedule.)
…and I shopped. And shopped. And shopped. (What girl can’t use a good excuse to shop once in a while?) I wasn’t sure what I’d be asked to wear, so I wanted to have a million different options. I hastily populated this clothing rack with brand new clothes in preparation of the shoot and hoped that there’d be something worth wearing in there!
3. PHOTO SHOOT DAY- the prep!
My husband had taken off work to help me corral the little ones. We were up early and making breakfast when Annette Joseph, the stylist, arrived with her assistant Katie. We went straight to my little clothes rack to decide what to wear.
I don’t know where you live, but if you felt the earth stand still one day not too long ago? It was the moment when Annette said that the options I’d selected wouldn’t work for their vision and I felt sheer panic! We headed to my closet to see what else I had. (Nothing! of course!) Annette was able to work some crazy magic and pull together a cardigan, an old t-shirt I’ve had since forever, and a chunky yellow necklace. It took her five seconds, and it was perfect. (Dear Annette: Please come style my whole life. Please?)
With the clothes selected, I sat down with Dulce, who’d dropped by to do my makeup. By the way? This? Also never happens in my world.
The whole time Dulce was doing my makeup, my little three-year-old was hovering nearby, overseeing her work and asking five million questions. “What are you doing to mom? Mom, why do you need makeup? What’s this? What THAT? I’m THWEE! I poopoo in the potty! What are you doing?”
Meanwhile, Annette and Katie were upstairs putting the finishing touches on my laundry room and Lauren, the photographer, was setting up her equipment. Annette and Katie restyled the shelves with some new art and lots and LOTS of laundry soap. (I’ll never need to buy laundry soap again! Woohoo!)
They styled the room with lots of yellows to accent the teal. Perfect complement to that chunky necklace! Isn’t it cool how everything comes together like that?
4. PHOTO SHOOT DAY- the shoot!
When Dulce had worked her magic and with my “new” outfit on, I was ready to step in front of the camera. Ready, but so nervous! My husband and I always joke about how unphotogenic I am – it’s an actual physical condition, and I’ve come to terms with it – so I was more than a little scared about how the photos would turn out.
Pssh! Silly thing to worry about! These BHG pros are the best at what they do and they made me feel so natural, comfortable and at ease. I posed all over the laundry room, in front of the washer, in front of the dryer, with my toe turned this way and that, sitting on the dryer, holding towels and not holding towels. Meanwhile, Annette was on Hair Duty, keeping my crazy mane out of my face and tamed for each shot.
The actual shoot was in the books before I knew it, and I enjoyed a lunch out with my family to bask in the amazingness of the entire day. (And to get one more use out of my professional makeup job.)
5. Seeing my house in print!
I’ll be forever grateful to Better Homes and Gardens for making this dream come true for people like me. And for adding one more thing to the list of items I must grab if my house is ever on fire: my June 2013 issue of Better Homes & Gardens!
We have many more DIY projects just like this laundry room on my blog. You can check out our before-and-after room makeovers, or see a gallery of all our projects. And there’s lots more to come! I hope you’ll follow along via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. You can even get new posts sent right to your email!
Thanks again to BHG for this amazing experience and for all the inspiration I find in every issue!
Written on March 7, 2013 at 8:30 am , by Style Spotter Editor
Hi everyone, Kit Selzer here! As BHG’s remodeling editor, I’m always on the lookout for products and ideas to help people with their home improvement projects. Anything that makes the process a little easier and more satisfying scores high on my list. That’s why I find the innovative approach of one company particularly exciting.
Bath Simple is a San Francisco-based company that designs baths all over the country. They help you choose everything you need—from the tub to the cabinetry hardware—from their curated collection of products. Then, get this: They ship it all in one big crate to your home. No running from store to store to pick up each item. No stalling your contractor while you wait for that shower head or medicine cabinet to arrive.
When John Crowley, Bath Simple co-founder, visited our Des Moines office to explain his company’s concept, my colleagues and I thought it was a valuable service for people who want a well-designed bath without having to agonize over a multitude of choices. We were eager to share it with readers in a big way, so we worked with Bath Simple to create an inspiring example loaded with ideas. Check out the project below, which appears in the April issue of Better Homes and Gardens.
Here’s some advice from John on making any bath remodeling go smoothly:
1. Choose products that don’t have far to travel. A faucet shipped from Europe could delay your entire project.
2. Stick to the plan. A layout or product change could end up costing you time and money.
3. If you can only change one thing, replace the vanity. It’s easy and affordable, and will make a big impact style-wise.
Good luck with your bath updates!
- Kit Selzer, Senior Home Editor