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Midnight Macrame-ing and Hanging Planter In My Kitchen

This is not a how to post about macrame. I just freaking learned it. I also just learned that it is only a bunch of knots. I can't believe this. Here I thought it was going to be so complicated and time consuming. Anyway, I really wanted to learn how so I could make all the things. One of those things I've been longing for is a hanging planter in my kitchen. 

YES. In my kitchen. I don't have any lights hanging down over my kitchen island which is sometimes a big bummer when you are a lighting freak like me. Then I saw what Three Birds Renovations did in Lana's kitchen and knew this was the answer! Yes, please.

So, now the issue of learning how to macrame. First of all there are 1.2 million tutorials on the internets about how to do this. I used this one as it was a larger pot, just like the one I wanted to use and didn't look too complicated for a beginner like me. I also bought a macrame book, naturally, bc I love books. This book is bomb.

It has so many patterns I think I could make just about anything with this in hand. Some day I hope to make a big tapestry or macrame something like Mandi at Vintage Revivals did with this bed. Some day I'll be that cool.

One night after my daughter went to bed, I set to work on my macrame planter. Four year olds and craft projects requiring concentration don't mix. I sat down on the floor next to my dining room table so I could anchor the planter hanging ring under the table leg. I had no idea if I'd still be sitting there the next morning with my hair pulled out trying to win at knots. To my surprise I was done in about 30 minutes. Isn't it so interesting how we build these things up to seem like such a big deal and then you grab some string and realize in about 15 minutes that this ain't that bad.

Since I finished the planter hanging so fast I was a little disappointed that it went so fast and I didn't get to practice a bunch of knots. So, I found a stick and practiced the knots a bit longer so I knew I had the hang of it.

I think I have the hang of this. My daughter loved this little macrame practice tapestry. Her and my husband thought this looked like a good hammock for one of her babies. :) This macrame thing will also come in handy making some sort of project in my camper. Since I am the "vintage" half of our Vintage vs. Vanity Camper Throwdown, I have to make sure I live up to the name. Macrame fits my 70s theme well.

Here's the new hanging planter with vintage pot in my kitchen. I think it helps fill some of the vertical visual space. Since I removed the upper cabinets It's been a little bare. I love it. But it's bare. This bright plant helps.

Macrame Hanging planter of kitchen island

I threw that painting up there that I had and I'm not sure if I'm in love. I wanted to take it down but my family outvoted me. They like it. So, it will stay and I'll see about adding more artwork down the wall. I'll have to figure out something for over the range that will not get too disgusting with grease. I could install a hood, I guess. We obviously are getting by without one so I'm in no hurry. Plus I kinda like not having a big metal appliance overhead.

What do you think about the overhead space in my kitchen? Artwork? Range hood? Emptiness? Comment below and help a girl out!

10 Ways To Use Subway Tile That Aren't Boring AF

I still love subway tile. Sue me. I know there are people out there that are so over it but I'm not one of them. It's neutral. It's inexpensive. It's timeless. What's not to love? I know it is all the rage to use cement tile, mosaic tiles and colored tiles and I'm down with that, too. But, there comes a time and place that you might want to use subway, whether it's to tone down a room a bit to balance out busy tile or you might simply like to have that classic subway look. Maybe you want to use subway tile for its nice price tag. That doesn't mean it has to be boring. Let's look at some bathrooms to see how subway can save the day.

Click any of the photos shown below to see more about that room.

1. Disappearing Act

Why not start this subway tile list with why I use it so I can't see it! Yeah it's like that. This might seem boring but actually it's PERFECT in helping the other tile STAND OUT. For instance, in the bathroom below, you can see the arabesque tile on the accent wall. You may not even be able to tell that the shower faucet wall has subway tile. THAT IS THE ENTIRE POINT. I wanted the back wall of this tiny bathroom to stand out. Had I used that arabesque tile in the whole shower, it would have been quite overwhelming. Now, your eye goes straight to the back of the room making it feel larger, while the subway tile sits back and keeps that wall from getting in the way. To make sure the subway pattern didn't compete with the focus tile, I used white grout so it would all fade away. This is also a good with cement tile and busy mosaics.

2. Go Vertical

Subway tile doesn't have to be laid in the classic brick pattern. I've tried every pattern known to man in my renovations. Here is one where I did a vertical subway pattern with a 4" x 10" subway tile. The larger tile and the vertical spin makes this bathroom just a little different. 

3. Vertical In A Brick Pattern 

Want a modern spin but like the traditional look of subway tile? Turn it vertical and do a brick pattern on its long ends. For some reason vertical just feels modern. Pair it with a modern shower head and curtain. 

Pro Tip: When describing how you want your tile laid to contractor, be sure to draw it out on paper or on the wall! As you can see with this example and the one before it that we can call them both "vertical brick" but they are two different patterns! Don't assume they can read your mind.

4. Herringbone VERSION ONE

In the next kitchen we wanted to have a fun pattern but not get too crazy. There is a bold accent wall in the adjoining dining area, so we needed to stay a little low key. We chose to lay the subway tile in a herringbone pattern. To be sure the pattern stood out, we used a darker charcoal grout.

5. Herringbone VERSION TWO

While this isn't your classic white subway tile, here is another herringbone pattern example that could be done with subway tile.

Pro Tip: Again be sure you draw out how you want the herringbone pattern to go. I don't even know what this is called but I showed up to the house and this is how it had been installed. What I really wanted was a W pattern but I didn't draw it out. I thought W was enough words. It was not. I still like this way, too though! So, you can now see there is a third herringbone pattern which would be where it looks like W's or M's.

6. Modern Stack

Go ultra modern with this vertically stacked version. To make sure any subway tile pattern stands out, use a darker grout color.

7. Stick With The Classic 

Sometimes you just want that regular ole brick subway pattern! The master bath in this home got a wow-ing shiplap shower, so I felt like I needed to tone it down a little here as well as stick to a tight budget. So, instead of blowing my budget, I decided to stick with the classic but punch up the wow factor somewhere else. THE CEILING. The fun doesn't have to be all tile related. If on a tight budget, find your focal point outside of tile.

8. Go Casual

Using a more unusual subway tile can help add texture to your room. This tile from Floor & Decor adds texture to the walls without being too busy and taking away from the fun wallpaper accent. The tile has a wavy, wonky edge to it that gives it a more boho-relaxed vibe.

9. Go Formal

On the flip side of the casual tile, choose to go more traditional with a beveled tile. A bevel tile adds texture to your wall and an air of classic formality. I choose to let the bevel do the talking, not the grout. Keep the grout white to enhance that 3D effect.

10. Random AF

You could just throw them up there and they land where they land. That said this was not random. Ok it is but it isn't. My tile installer spent much much time laying these out on the floor so we had just the right look. I used this ombre pattern to represent the nearby mountains here in Phoenix. I used different colors to achieve an ombre look, but you can use just plain ole white tiles if you like. You could use a bunch of different colors. Break all the rules. It's your shower, dude

I know this is not an exhaustive list so I will be working diligently to tile more bathrooms and kitchens so I can post about them. :) Get with me if you need help designing yours! Maybe you'll make the next list!

 
 

Note To Self: 10 Steps To Handle The Haters

I hear that once you have haters, you're doing something right. I've been getting a taste of that lately, so I'm 100% positive I'm becoming sort of a big deal. Mahogany and leather bound books, y'all (please tell me you can feel the sarcasm oozing). I've seen comments stating that my designs are carbon copy HGTV. (Is that a compliment?) I've also seen "no personality....dull and lifeless" as a description of the kitchen above at one of my recent renovations. Whether the negative feedback is accurate or not, is not really the point. It's what do I do with this information? WELL, I'll tell you. Below are step by step instructions for myself on how to think my way through the hater-ade. Tweak as you feel necessary for your own haters.

1. Decide if this person's opinion is constructive criticism or just bullying. This is sometimes difficult to judge but my rule of thumb is if they are being blunt and rude, then their comments are automatically null and void. If they seem to be making an effort to be kind, yet state where improvements can be made, then perhaps they are on to something. 

2. Pay attention to where the haters are coming from. If they are commenting on my page or social media accounts, then it's likely they are or have been a fan of my work sometime in the past. They found me somehow. They must have liked something. I'll take note of their comment and move on. If it is a photo of mine that someone else has shared or that I promoted/advertised on social media, I give bad feedback or bullying very little merit. I'm now once removed. They don't know me. Maybe the commenter is not even a fan of modern design. Maybe they don't understand that certain houses require certain design details. That's ok. I can't help them understand.

3. Remember that design is subjective. Not everyone will like what I like. That's fine. If someone showed me a huge traditional kitchen, I probably wouldn't like it and would say so if asked. That doesn't mean it wasn't done well. Just not my cup of tea. There's no way of knowing a person's tastes unless they come right out and tell you.

4. Repeat my mission. Push the envelope, try new things and set myself apart from the "others". This is very important. If I'm going to be different, I'm going to get different responses. Maybe even....GOD FORBID....negative responses. Some may not understand why I don't like to put upper cabinets in many of my homes (am I the only one that gets a dented skull from open cabinet doors?) or why I won't design a typical "yuppy farmhouse" style Arcadia home. It's been done. My mission is to create new designs, not carbon copies. Not even of HGTV. Truth be told....I don't even have cable and only recently borrowed a TV so we could watch Olympic gymnastics.

5. Remember that armchair bulliers are regular people. They're sitting at home or bored in their office throwing out thoughtless comments to faceless accounts. They aren't thinking or caring about the person behind the Dwelling Studio brand. In fact, they probably don't know it's just little ole me!

6. Know that I can, do and will make mistakes. My designs might miss the mark in places sometimes. That's ok. Every house is a new blank canvas. I learn from each house and apply those lessons to future homes.

7. Tell myself, "At least I'm out there trying." Most people aren't brave enough to flip houses. If I had a dollar for every person who told me they wanted to flip houses but never did, I'd have all the monies in the world to flip EVEN MORE HOUSES and make even MORE BOLD CHOICES and DESIGN MAGIC (or mistakes). I'm out there plugging away making design decisions. Countless design decisions. My brain hurts sometimes. 

8. Remember that I'm a house flipper and stager, not an interior designer. There's a huge difference. I'm designing for an imaginary person, not a known client. I straddle the line between pushing the envelope and pleasing a small portion of the public shopping in that neighborhood, on that date, with X amount of dollars. Shoot that just scared me and I've been doing this for a while. 

9. Remind myself of the tight budget and timeline. While some might drop $60,000 on their kitchen, I'm spending that on an ENTIRE house. When I stage my homes, I buy everything myself. I like to do it and I think it makes the house look more custom. I don't always have time or money to go get another bed (plus bedding, pillows, mattress) and I almost never have the patience and money for curtains. I work with what I've got. People see one of my rooms, they say, "Hmm, curtains would've been better." Well, no shit. Please buy them and install them. Thank you.

10. Move on from the haters. They aren't worth my time.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this over the years. Too much time. I've let the fear of what others might think or say about my work (aka me) creep into my head and slow me down. I can't say it won't slow me down again in the future, I'm human. But it won't stop me.

No one can. 

NO ONE. 

Wah ah ah ah ah! :)

How To Start Over From Scratch: Moving To Arizona

For years I've wanted to move from Cincinnati to anywhere warm. Cincinnati is an AWESOME city. The changes it has gone through in the past 5-10 years are gigantic. It's actually cool. I'm serious. But, the winters I just can't handle. So for years and years I tried to move but "couldn't".

SPOILER: One of my last renovations in Cincinnati

I was scared.

How could I start all over again?

I'd have no business connections. I'd have to know a new city and it's neighborhoods. I'd have to know what buyers were looking for in that part of the country, how much that would cost to do and how much a buyer would pay?

How long would it take to gather all of that information

How would I be able to replace all of "my people"?

Would I be successful?

Even though I had lived in Phoenix before, it was more than a decade ago as a college student at ASU. Aside from remembering the name of some streets and parts of town, I knew nothing of the real estate market. I got my Crossfit Level 1 Certification just in case. Maybe I could coach while I figured things out.

Turns out.... I was an idiot for doubting myself.

My first house in Phoenix.

Six months ago I landed in Phoenix and hit the ground running as if I'd been here all along. Last month marked my 10th year in business and I forgot about it because I was...

TOO BUSY WORKING.

Some of it seemed like luck. I met my contractor, Pace Morby, through Instagram. He is about to begin my third renovation here. But was it really luck? I had been chatting with him occasionally on Instagram posts for about a year. Networking from afar if you will. One of my agents, Michelle Houze was referred to me by a Cincinnati friend. Her and then another agent I met, Rachel Hugenschmidt, showed me the neighborhoods and what people were looking for in a home. Another contact I found at an AZREIA meeting I attended a couple winter's ago while vacationing here (nerd alert---> me, who does that on vacation?). He went to the University of Cincinnati back in the day. He'll be checking on one of my remaining Ohio homes when he attends a football game there soon. One of my favorite furniture dealers was found on Craigslist. Some people have reached out to me, while others I have hunted down. Things are weird, adventurous and random.

I love it.

My second renovation in Scottsdale.

There was no reason to be scared. The skills I learned over the past 10 years transferred. If you know how to learn, you can relearn. I didn't know anything about desert landscape, but I knew how to figure it out. I dove in. Head first. I went to nurseries. I learned names of cacti, how much palm trees cost and what an irrigation system costs. I asked my contractor 1.2 million questions, pinned ideas and studied comparable homes. I'm still asking a billion questions and learning on my own home.

Dragged some great staging stuff with me from Cincinnati like that vintage kimono. :)

The secret to starting over or learning new things is this....

Just do it.

Start.

GO.

If you're thinking about changing careers or locations, do it. If you want to flip houses, do it. Just learn. Learn more. And then learn even more.

Learn EVERYTHING.

Don't Mess This Up: How High To Hang a Microwave

Did you know? 

According to GE Appliances: 

"Over the range microwaves require a minimum 66" mounting height from floor to top of the micro. The 66" from the floor dimension will allow approximately 13"-16" between the cooktop and the bottom front of the microwave."

Over the range microwave height

We prefer 17" or 18" where possible so the appliance area feels spacious and workable. Consider several things.

  1. What does your local building code require? 
  2. How tall is the person using this appliance? The higher the microwave, the more difficult it will be to get food in and out for us short people. 
  3. Will the microwave hang down in the way of the stove top? Be sure not to hang it too low as the microwave can actually begin melting from the stove heat! Also, consider that if it does hang in closer to the stove, the back burners will be not as easily accessible. 
  4. Don't just guess! Test the set up in other kitchens. Check out friend's and family's appliance situations and then decide. Do this BEFORE you install any new cabinetry as the cabinet above the microwave will need to be set first. 

Now you know.