September Design Book Club: Happier At Home

How's it going guys!? I hope your Labor Day (or regular day outside the US) is going well! It's September and therefore time to get into a new home design book! I'm trying to time our monthly books with whatever is going on in a majority of our lives.  Many of us are heading into fall. School is starting, summer is over, etc. It means more time indoors in our homes. Keep this in mind as I babble about my state of affairs....

Lately, I've been binge shopping for The Shack and scouring everything I own to fill up that house. It has made me feel overwhelmed with all the stuff and I feel the urge to purge. While I was filling up The Shack, I listened to The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store. It put me back to reality. Back to me. I'm not a hoarder, yet I've become one since we moved to Phoenix 2 years ago. I've been buying and buying for these houses. I store the stuff. I hold it and wait. But, it's time to focus on my own home and clearing out all of the stuff. I've done a bit of it but it needs even more focus now that The Shack project is over.

I need to back off on the buying. I want a nice home. I want an uncluttered home. But, i want a happy home that feels like me. Not like some other designer's home and not like one on a TV show. I feel this has come up a lot as of late in posts I've seen on Instagram, on blogs and in podcasts. Beautiful, bold, luxurious and perfect homes abound on the web. But, what about reality and our own homes. How can we be happy with our own? How can we figure out our own style instead of just trying to replicate someone else? How can we be us, and still like it? LOL.

But, seriously.

Enter this month's book, Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life, by Gretchen Rubin. 

I feel like Gretchen's book will highlight exactly what I'm looking for.

ME!

Not another blogger. Not another designer. ME. What makes me happy? And with all this time we'll be spending closer to home in the coming months, what better way to prepare? Also, it appears that Gretchen dedicated a school year, starting in September, "to making her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love." Looks like we've hit perfect timing here. Time to jump in. Join me in reading this book and finding happiness in your own home! When you've finished, feel free to review the book below. Happy reading! 

If you missed the last couple of months (or if you want to give your review for past books), head to the Design Book Club page and catch up! I'll update this page every month so you can join in whenever you like!

Before & After: The Shack Kitchen

With The Shack being ready for visitors, it's time to start sharing the Before & After photos and giving you guys all the sources!

(Affiliate links ahead...)

The truth about this kitchen is it was a fairly easy update, but the difference is major! The pieces were there, they just needed a little tweaking. Before the facelift, the kitchen felt disjointed and colLet's revisit what the kitchen looked like before the tweak.

This is an IKEA kitchen, I recognized the stuff immediately. I applaud what the previous owner did to get some creative storage in here, but it just wasn't feeling clean and inviting. Also, as a vacation home, it didn't need all of this storage. First thing I did was remove the upper cabinets and storage since it wasn't necessary and was contributing to a lot of chaos visually. Then I brightened and de-yellowed the space by having the entire home painted Dunn Edwards Whisper. It's a nice white that is bright but not blinding. It has a softness to it. Now I had a blank canvas. The kitchen was starting to feel less heavy.

 

Next was setting up the space to accommodate guests. I obviously needed a new range as the old one was broken. I had also taken down the stubby looking hood and cabinet, so I had to figure something out there. I originally wanted to just leave it open without a hood, but changed my mind later, bc that's what I do. There was a hole that vented the outside so I thought eh, might as well put in another hood. There really is no good reason for this change of mind because in the end the hole needed to be filled and a new one made for the new hood. That happens sometimes. I'm still happy with the outcome.

Since I was trying to make this kitchen feel nice and open, I opted for a white hood. Hoods can feel so heavy and bulky, especially in a small space. I wanted it to blend in with the wall. It also feels clean and bright without a big stainless hood hanging overhead.

Hood | Wood Utensils | Cement Tile turned trivet

This side of the kitchen was pretty much finished after figuring out those appliances. The only other thing I did was move the microwave. Next was the coffee bar area. I loved the stainless table with shelf rack that were already there. I moved the microwave over to this area so I could make room for dishes, pots and pans on the other shelf racks by the range. It just seems to me, too, that these days the microwave is mostly used for warming up your coffee. AMIRIGHT? Made sense to me. Aside from outfitting the area with all the coffee needs, the only thing left was to dress it up with some decor.

State Eye Chart | Coffee Pot | Mug Stand | Frame for Vintage Map | Round Cutting Board | Toaster

Use code FW17 for a discount on State Eye Charts!

If you followed the Insta stories I posted while putting this all together, you know it was not just as simple as throwing some stuff in and BOOM it's done. So often in blog posts and on social media it comes off like the designer or DIYer just whipped some shit up and it was done. As if every piece was planned ahead of time and went off without a hitch. 

GUESS WHAT....THAT'S A LIE.

Sure, I had ideas. But many of them I abandoned or changed in the process. For instance I had every intention of putting floating shelves above the coffee bar. But, then the $200 price tag and a week delay came and I was like UM NO THANKS. It may be only $200 and it may have been a great idea, but at this point in the project I was feeling the squeeze on my wallet. So, instead I opted to spend way less. The frame was buy 1 get 2 free, so that cost about $17 bucks for this one frame. The map was free-ish. It was laying around at my house (read forgotten) and not originally intended for this property. I think I paid $5 for it at a garage sale 5 years ago. The money was already spent. But, let's include it for shits and gigs. Then there were the two hooks I used to hang the boards, that I already had leftover from another project. Those were probably $3 each at Home Depot. The cutting boards I had already purchased for this house and were just going to lean against the wall. Hanging them up just filled in the space visually. So, the cost to fill this wall was $17 for the frame I bought specifically for this wall OR actual cost of around $28. Better than $200. Do that several times on a project and the savings really start to add up!

What was also not so easy was hanging these things. The walls in The Shack are block with plaster, so nothing hangs easily. I broke 3 drill bits, made many gashes and unnecessary holes, sweat like a mofo and dropped a good amount of F bombs. So yeah I think the kitchen is cute and simple, but that doesn't mean it was easy. Hanging the shades alone made me want to murder everyone. Even just the thinking about I was going to do to replace the original shelf idea took some brain power. Constant. Laying in bed. Driving. Thinking. Thinking. You get the picture.

No one talks about the tax all of this thinking takes on you. Seriously, though.

If you're ever renovated or updated a space, you know the drain.

Other projects that were cut in the final days were replacing the tile counters, the faucet and covering the underneath of the sink. The tile counters, while not my favorite, had to stay. The wall juts out strangely here which is difficult to see. The tile counter wraps from the left of the sink to behind it just under the window. So, the counter would have to be extra deep. It's something I'd like to replace some day but not now. The faucet is not great at all. It should be replaced soon. It works but eh. And then the area under the sink is still exposed. I hung a curtain there and I just didn't like the idea of it. I envisioned people kicking it or touching it with their dirty hands to access the trash can. It put some fluffiness into the room where I didn't want it. All in all I just didn't like it. I didn't want to have something that would just turn into a bigger eyesore due to grime. Cleanliness is a big deal when staying in an unfamiliar place in my opinion. I want to put our best foot forward.

So, with the run through wrapped up, it's time for the BEFORE & AFTER!

I loved this project because it was a house with good pieces I could work with. Aside from paint and HVAC work, there really wasn't much more to this house than cosmetic updates. And what a relief! I'll take this kind of project ALL. DAY. LONG.

I could piece some numbers together to give you an idea of what I spent, but in reality the update was in the paint (whole house), hood, range and decor. And if you're really looking at this kitchen, the decor is actual functioning kitchen items aside from the stool and rug (which I already had). The plates I bought for staging 2 years ago at a thrift store. it's not a full set but who needs a full set for a vacation rental meant for 2 (4 max with sleeper sofa)? The black and white trivets are leftover cement tiles from another project that I put felt stickers on. The small appliances, the knives, the mug stand, the utensils, cutting boards and pots and pans, and other kitchen essentials were all purchased new for this home, but I find that difficult to add into a renovation cost. A "normal" person would already have those. The microwave and the fridge both came with the house.

Let's add the up numbers.

Range $200, Hood $265, Rug maybe $150 2 years ago, Stool $5 at a Safeway that was closing, let's allocate a generous fraction of the whole house painting at around $400.....totaling $1020.

If it were just the kitchen I would've just painted it myself. Not too shabby, though!! I'll be putting together the other areas of the house so stay tuned for those. Below is a list of the sources for this house. Comment with any questions.


Meet The Shack!

If you've been following my Insta stories, you know I keep saying it's done or almost done....but for real this time, it's done! Ok no it's not done done but it's ready. Because what project is ever done? Let's just say Phase I is complete.

The Shack is finally available for vacation stays! I'll get into each part of the house and exactly what I did with sources....soon. But, not today. Today is celebration day that a project is done and I didn't lose my mind! Hooray! 

The Shack is a 700sf STUDIO HOME. I've never seen one of those before in my life, but I knew it had to be mine when I saw it. It's actually quite like a large hotel suite with a queen bed, sleeper sofa, TV and dining table/workspace in the main living space. 

There's plenty of room to spread out and get comfortable just like in a very spacious hotel room, only you won't have to worry about noisy neighbors in the room next door or above you.

The Shack also comes with a full kitchen. I've set up a coffee bar area, complete with microwave to warm that cup up after it's gone cold. 

There's a also a full oven, stove and fridge so you can make any meal you like. I've tried to think of everything you'll need including providing knives that cut! :) There's also bottle openers, skillets, a Magic Bullet blender, storage containers for leftovers, oil for cooking and all the utensils you could need! Also in the kitchen is a closet for the washer and dryer. 

For a studio house, the bathroom is huge! There's plenty of space at the vanity for getting ready to go out on the town. When you're back from your excursions, enjoy the jetted whirlpool tub. 

The front porch is great for chillin' as is the back patio (which is still enjoying a little facelift). 

The Shack is available now for booking! To grab your spot, click the button below to go to the Airbnb listing. I'll be back with more updates on each area room and it's before and after soon!

 

 

August Design Book Club: Bohemian Modern

I chose this month's book because of the new house I just bought that will be an Airbnb. As with all rentals there is an upfront cost you put into the project, such as repairs and furnishings, that you won't get back immediately like you do in a flip. So, I wanted to choose a book that would help me think outside the box with the decor and on a budget. I think this month's book will do just that.

Bohemian Modern: Imaginative and Affordable Ideas for a Creative and Beautiful Home by Emily Hensen.

It's "easy" to binge purchase a bunch of new furnishings to fill the space for an immediate put together look. However, the cost will be enormous and the result will feel like a showroom rather than an inspired home. I find myself binge window shopping in preparation for furnishing my place, so to combat that I'll shove ALL the creativity from this book into my brain. Amazon will be delivering it in a couple of days and I can't wait to dig in.

If you're joining me in this boho design immersion, I'd love to hear what you think about this book in the comments! And, as usual, I'm open to suggestion for next month's book.

Happy boho obsessing!

July Design Book Club: Surf Shack

FLIPPINWENDY BOOK CLUB BEGINS!
It's no secret that I like to devour design books on the regular. I have piles of them. So, I thought I'd share this obsession here since it is an email full of obsessions already. Here is the plan:

  1. I'll announce the book in my Secret Saturday Six Newsletter every month.
  2. The book will be design, architecture or decor related. (Suggestions always welcome!)
  3. You can read along or not. If you don't feel like this month's book is speaking to you, no problem (see below).

When choosing whether you'd like to read the book or not, click through to the book, then click on the photo and scan through some of the pages. Sometimes it's not necessarily the style of the home I'm vibing with, but what I can learn from it such as styling, floorplan and outside the box ideas. The goal for me is to learn and be inspired. So, with that said, I'd suggest to keep an open mind when deciding if you'll be joining or not that month.

I also thought it might be interesting to time the book with the month and season. I'm working on an upcoming project and need a little inspiration for it which is why I chose this book. I've read it but will be rereading it I loved it so much the first time. And so.....

July's book is:

Join me in devouring Surf Shack: Laid Back Living By The Water by Nina Freudenberger! When you're finished, like any good book club, feel free to tell us how you felt about it in the comments below! Happy reading!