rugs

DAY 6 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Rug It Out

If you haven’t guessed it, I’m putting some much needed emphasis on how we outfit our homes. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars on ripping out rooms and replacing them when usually what would really help is some good decor.

Today’s challenge:

Find a New Rug

Rugs are actually so important to a home. They are like giant art for your floor and have to meet so many requirements. Not only do they have to look good, but they need to feel good. I’m kind of a rug junky, much the same as pillows. I hoard them. But, I do have a hard time picking out the perfect rug. And so I stopped trying to pick out the perfect rug because it doesn’t exist. Now I have a sort of system I go by which isn’t a system at all but just random thoughts I noticed I have in my head I’ve organized for you to read. Keep these things in mind when buying…

Photos of Rugs Suck

Photos of rugs are just terrible. They never show the texture very well. There are a handful of times I bought a rug in person, then looked it up to send someone a link and thought, “EW, I would’ve never bought this had I seen that photo.” The rug I have in my bedroom (pictured) is case and point. In the show room it was shown with the textural side up as I have it. It feels fluffy and soft. The way West Elm shows it online is not that cute at all, IMHO.

Other examples of fabulous in person rugs, but just meh online are the three below. The texture gets lost in them.

Every time I take a photo of a rug to post it or send it to someone, it comes out brighter and bolder than it actually is in person. I have noticed this about photos of rugs online as well so keep that in mind. It always helps to read some of the reviews to see what people see when in person.

Jute Wins Most Times

If I can’t find a rug that is going to perfect, which is usually ALWAYS, I can usually win out with a jute rug. I dig the natural fiber situation of course, but I also like that it is a neutral backdrop, it can go in almost any decor and the price is almost ALWAYS right. You can grab a nice 8x10 jute rug for under $200 and call it a day. My two go to jute rugs are this one from Amazon and this one from Wayfair. I also have this one from Pottery Barn which is priced a smidge higher but has a little interest to it (and also does not photograph well). I like that it adds a little pattern to the room and goes well with many decor styles. I had this in my bedroom once, but it’s now in my new Airbnb bedroom. It could farmhouse, cottage, beach, lake house, whatever. Same with the other jutes.

Another perk to neutral rugs is that they can move from room to room when you’re ready for a change. Sometimes the size won’t work, but more on that below...

Rug Size Is Hard

So, yeah you want it to be the right size but you can work with a rug that is not the perfect size. This is a weird section of this post because on one hand I want to tell you yes size matters. {chuckle} In most situations people buy rugs that are too small because the price is right(er). It’s easy to buy smaller because they are cheaper. But, then you have a situation where it looks like the sofa, bed or dining table are overpowering the rug. Lopsided. Heavy. More on how to make a smaller rug work later.

Tape off your floor with painter’s tape to see what would feel the best. If you need a huge rug, then read on…

Bold Rugs

I’m all for the bold rug but I cringe a bit when a room is overpowered by a huge bold crazy rug. For me I think Oh shit going to be hard to come back from that. I like to change my stuff up too often to commit to something like a that. If I do, it better be something special. And let’s face it, the special ones are usually going to cost you an arm and a leg. I tend to pick up a bunch of small colorful rugs anyway. They are just always around. So, I layer them on top of the jute rugs or neutral rugs I have on hand. That way I can have the jute rug to cover the floor and the bold special rug to lay nicely on top. If I don’t have a jute rug for underneath then I do the angled rug. Don’t knock it until you try it. It helps cover an area that would look far too naked if you hadn’t.

To find these smaller bold and sometimes vintage rugs I look around at thrift stores, estate sales (the best) and sometimes online. Usually I’m too cheap for that but some day I’ll get my KayaKilim. Some day.

Angled Rugs

Angled rugs don’t bother me one bit because I know what a certain rug looked like straight on. Sometimes it looks awkward to be so small and not covering enough area. For instance a 5x8 rug under a queen bed looks really stupid. There literally will not be any rug to step on, it will all be under the bed. But, pull it out and angle it a bit and now you have a styled rug that you can actually step on. Try it. If you still don’t like it, then you can un-angle it. No eyes or rugs will be harmed in the participation of angling rugs.

Used Rugs

I know many of you will poo poo used rugs because eww gross but get over yourself. I too was once a poo poo-er of used rugs until I decided I was too cheap and needing of rugs to be poo-poo-ing them. So, I started scooping up rugs at estate sales (fabulous for vintage and once very expensive rugs on a dime), second hand/vintage stores, Craigslist/Offer Up/Facebook Marketplace and thrift stores. I’d say my success rate with good rugs goes in that order as well. Thrift stores tend to get the shittiest rugs although I’ve found some good ones there, too. The angled rug in the photo at the top is a Craigslist score.

Now, let’s say you find a good rug but it’s dirty. In comes the good ole rentable carpet cleaner from the grocery store. If you’re too lazy for that, then drop your rug off at a cleaner or have a carpet cleaner come in. I’d rather spend $100 on cleaning a good $25 rug than spend $400-1000 on a new one. And remember some spots, holes and damage could end up under the furniture. Also, consider any of those things character. Vintage rugs with some wear is actually still pretty cool.

This giant 10x12 rag rug was purchased at Goodwill for $25 and cleaned with a rented grocery store carpet cleaner for $40.

Sell Rugs

Got a rug you are just over? Sell it! If you can buy one on Craigslist or Offer Up, you can certainly sell one. Don’t forget to use words like modern, boho, contemporary, etc. so people can find it. As you can imagine I buy, hoard, sell and trade rugs all the time. I almost always have some at 3 Vintage Chicks and a couple listed for sale. I’m a revolving door of rugs. What I’m getting at is don’t get too nervous about committing to a rug. You can always sell it.

This is what is so special about not finding the most special rug. LOL. You feel fine about having them come and go. Maybe you don’t think of this as a hobby like I do, but don’t get too upset if a rug isn’t working out. Sell it. Move on. If you are finding rugs that are pretty inexpensive, you’ll feel less obligated to keep it for the long haul. If you lose a little money on one, you’ll probably make up for it on the next one. Don’t get hung up on the few dollars lost.

Ok, that’s all I have to say about rugs. Show me your rug finds by using #updatedon’trenovatechallenge!

Miss a challenge? You can get them all here.

"The Lounge" Downtown Cincinnati Airbnb is Live!

After a great rush to fill my friend, agent and fellow flipper, Grant Steed’s condo with all the comfiness, the time has come to hit the SEND button! Now live and ready for your next Cincinnati visit is The Lounge Downtown Cincinnati Airbnb! Let me give you the grand tour!

The Lounge is over 2000 square feet, 1100 of which is just in the living room area alone! I kid you not. If you know anything about downtown spaces, you know that that is just ridiculously huge. The space used to be a social club back in the day, so we wanted to bring a little bit of that vibe in and impart a comfortable lounge feel. In order to do that with the large area, we made separate seating areas and places to chill.

The Living Room

The main seating area is outfitted with two large chesterfield sofas and huge 4’ square coffee table, all of which face a 65” Roku TV.

The windows are one of the best parts of this loft bringing in a ton of light. There isn’t a building directly across from The Lounge, so it feels private despite the wall to wall windows.

*affiliate links ahead…

Chesterfield Sofas | Coffee Table (vintage) | Rug | Lamp

The Bar

Behind the sofas in the other half of the front living area is the bar set up with two lounge chairs facing the TVs as well.

Lounge Chairs | Bar | Cincinnati Art | Coffee Table (vintage) | Rug | Pillow

The Dining Room

Moving away from the windows we come to a large dining table with seating for 8. I imagine this as a great place to host a dinner party or work meeting.

Downtown Cincinnat The Lounge Airbnb

The Library

Across from the dining table is our library stocked with a ton of books. I filled it with as many random books as i could get my hands on. You’ll find anything from finance to romance novels, biographies to thrillers. Take one or leave one. Up to you! Enjoy a book on our chaise lounge that also converts to a twin size bed.

Chaise Lounge Chair | Rug | Bookshelves | Art | Lamp

The Kitchen

Rounding out the living area is this kitchen with a huge island with seating for three making that a total of 20 seats in the living area! The kitchen is fully stocked with everything someone needs on a vacation and then some. Knives that actually cut! Storage containers for leftovers! I try to consider everything!

Counter Stools

Which means that a coffee bar is A MUST! A 12 cup coffee pot should take care of things nicely. If not, have some tea.

Coffee Bar | Microwave | Coffee Pot | Coffee Cup Stand | Dishware/Coffee Cups

The Master Bedroom

Moving onto the bedrooms…I’m all about getting a good night’s rest. So both bedrooms come with a comfy memory foam mattress, organic bamboo sheets and blackout curtains. This condo is in the city, but it’s actually very quiet! I have included a noise machine just in case for those that aren’t accustomed to even the tiniest bit of city noise.

The master bath is also very large and comes with two vanities and two shower heads. Lots of room to get ready in the morning.

Master Bedroom in the Lounge Downtown Cincinnati

The Second Bedroom

The other bedroom also has a queen bed and all the amenities of the other bedroom. The second bath is in the hallway and includes a tub with shower and plenty of storage.

Art | Bamboo Sheets | Bed | Curtains | Curtain Rod | Mattress | Mattress Pad Cover | Side Tables | Throw Blanket | Quilt

Not only is this loft incredibly comfortable, it’s also in one of the best locations downtown. Situated on the Northern end of the Central Business District puts this loft only one block from OTR. This is basically the best of both worlds. Walk South to all of the attractions on the Ohio River such as the Red’s and Bengal’s stadiums, the restaurants and bars at The Banks, US Bank Arena or come inland a little to Fountain Square and all of it’s attractions. Walk North to OTR and visit a ton of the city’s greatest restaurants, small shops and breweries. Don’t want to walk? The street car passes (quietly) in front of this loft with a stop on the same block. My favorite things nearby though, are the couple of coffee shops just around the corner. We have written up a huge guidebook with all of our favorite places and really had a hard time stopping at what we had. So much good stuff!

The Lounge Downtown Cincinnati

I’m so excited for you guys to get to see and hopefully visit this great spot now! I stayed here for a week while I was putting it all together and I pretty much didn’t want to leave. The Lounge Downtown Cincinnati is now available for nightly bookings so you can see for yourself. Weekly and monthly discounts are available! Click the link below to see what dates are available!

Saturday Six: Aussies Are Killing It, Airbnb Lust and Crooked Rugs are Right

Six random Saturday thoughts…

ONE - The Slope

My new flip is chugging along in WEEK 1 of hopefully a 5-6 week process. This one is called The Slope Project aka #theslopeproject for future reference. I haven’t spoken too much about the design for this house so how about a little sneak. I’m feeling very Aussie Byron Bay-esc for The Slope so that means lots of white, some beach-y hues like greens and pinks (also desert-y!). Check out this kitchen featured in Home Beautiful Magazine that I am using as inspiration.

TWO - You say farmhouse, I say art deco

I’ve been shopping away for this new flip and found Stone & Beam on Amazon. They have some pretty cute stuff including furniture, bedding and lighting! It could work in the farmhouse style setting of course, but also art deco…..which I may or not be on the hunt for for a secret project. Nothing to see here….moving right along…

THREE - Tis The Season

I was listening to my girl, Jill Peteresen on a Shrugged Collective Podcast the other day. She is amazing in so many ways, but one thing she had to say was specifically impactful for me. She was asked what advice she would give to women who want to be Moms but feel like they need to put it off to achieve career goals. She said she would advise women to think of goals for different SEASONS of their life. She talked about it some more but what I got out of it was that you don’t have to have one goal you pursue for 5 years. Pick the best goal, AND ONLY ONE GOAL AT A TIME (earth to Wendy), for the season you are in. If you have just had a baby you are obviously going to be in a different season of life than someone who is not a mother yet or is a mother to a 5 year old. The seasons area always changing and you don’t have to lock yourself down to anything for a long period of time. Your goals will absolutely morph depending on what point of motherhood you are in. Preach, SISTER! I am always trying to jam 5 business goals into my life while also trying to mom. Time to cut back again.

Learn more about Jill Peterson of Hermonia here.

FOUR - Jute everywhere

In my opinion, every house should have a jute rug. A big one. Then throw your pretty smallish one on top. Maybe even make that smallish one….CROOKED. DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNNN.

I’m right. Don’t fight me on this. This one is great and the 8x10 is under $200 like a total boss.

FIVE - Living!!!

I thoroughly dislike the phrase “I’M DEAD.” or “DEAATHHHH!!!” when they see a design that is amazing. I feel like “LIFE!” or “I’M ALLLIIIIVVVEEEE” (a la Ace Ventura) makes more sense. Speaking of…this shower is LIIIIIFFEEEE.

Credit unknown, sadly. Found it on Pinterest.  Follow me on Pinterest

Credit unknown, sadly. Found it on Pinterest. Follow me on Pinterest

SIX - Airbnb lust

I’m about to go stay at an AIRBNB I’ve been lusting after for AGES. It’s like Christmas! When my ASU Gymnastics teammates expressed interest in taking a girls’ trip, I was all over it. I bank my favorite AIRBNBS in my mind (and my in my favorites on the site) and am ready to spring them into action when the moment strikes! I can’t wait to share my trip!

Speaking of sharing, comment below with a vacation home you’re waiting for the perfect opportunity to visit!

Before & After: The Cozy Cactus Gets a Facelift

If you didn't know, I have a little condo here in Phoenix that serves as a vacation rental on Airbnb. This condo got a renovation late last year when I bought it and has had two tweaks since. For some reason it just wasn't showing well in the photos. Nothing to do with the photos either. Those were as good as they could get. The problem was I tend to have a mental block when designing my "own" spaces so in the end it just felt like a hodge podge of things. Just like my own home. Blah. 

So, I decided to do what I always do when I get in the way. I pretend I'm not me. I treat my own project as if it is not. I pretend I'm working for a client home or one of my flip homes (Those don't seem like mine for some reason. Maybe because I know they are mine only temporarily). Instead of thinking about what I want, which is everything, I think about how I could make it look great for a magazine or for a client. I narrowed the plan and stayed on track rather than just saying hey I love this turquoise sofa let's put it in here.

First task was to tackle the biggest issue, the coloring. The condo has Saltillo tiles and a brick wall, so the room is saturated in an orange-y pink. The brick wall I like, the floors, eh. Phoenicians are so over Saltillo, but those from outside the area like it. It feels authentic I guess. I don't have the money or time to take out the tile so I did what I could to soften it up with ALL the rugs. Rugs everywhere! So much cozier.

Next I decided to up how many this condo can sleep by adding a sleeper sofa. Before it slept 4 but now it sleeps 6. I decided to go with a gray IKEA sofa to cool down the warm tones and lighten things up a bit. I think it worked. I also removed the brown coffee table and side tables to eliminate that brown/orange-y tone. I added a Jenny Komenda print to bring in some cooler colors while sticking to the cactus - desert vibe. I'd like to add some white curtains to this room as soon as I figure out how to hang them. The ceiling and the windows meet at an awkward angle right next to a ceiling beam so some creativity is needed. I'd also like to add more desert feeling pillows and more greenery, but I need to pace myself with the spending. There's time. Below are the before photo when I bought the condo, two versions of the living room and then followed by the current version. I think I'm finally getting it right.

Another change to the space was in the kitchen. Not a major overhaul, but adding that shelf really helped balance the room. I already completely renovated this room and added plenty of cabinetry back in the fall, so the shelf really wasn't needed. However, without it the room just felt really unbalanced with all the storage on one side. The crazy cactus wallpaper still shines through behind the shelves. I'd love to do some window treatments to spruce up that area but for now this will do. BABY STEPS! Below is the kitchen before i renovated it, then the first version of it after renovation and then now. And yes now there is a rug in there, too!

Next was the master bedroom. This is such a cozy bed and room but again the Saltillo tile and brick wall made it very orange-y pink and cold feeling. Black curtains weren't helping. What was I thinking? They're great curtains, just not for this room. So, I softened up the room by swapping them out for gray versions, throwing not one but two rugs under the bed, adding vibrant throw pillows and another lovely Jenny Komenda print. Below is the space when I bought it, then version one and then the current deal-io. Funny how pillows, curtains, rugs and art can completely change a space.

Speaking of, I did the same thing in the second bedroom. Despite this room being all white walls with just the tile to deal with, it still felt dark and heavy. What is wrong with me? I quickly got to work changing out the rug, curtains and throw pillows. I also removed the basket (hello another dark thing) and hung a FringeFortyFour tapestry

Cozy Cactus Second bedroom before facelift with basket on wall and dark accents

Finally, out on the back patio I added a little more of what I wanted this Cozy Cactus Retreat to feel like...a relaxing place to unwind after hiking, working or spending the day at a Spring Training game. I found THE CUTEST hammock chair on the entire planet. And guys no joke it was only $62. I swear. Will people drink their coffee in it while reading in the morning or pass out in it after hitting the Scottsdale clubs? Don't know. Don't care. Just don't fall out. The thing was finding this Husky velcro strap that easily hangs the chair from the tree. The strap goes on so easily, being that it's velcro, and doesn't damage the tree.  It even holds up to 300 lbs. If you want to get a hanging chair of your own, you can throw it up on a tree while you're camping and easily remove it to take it home. Cool, right?

So there, now I have a much cozier Cozy Cactus Condo for guests to relax in. If you'd like to book a stay while you're in Phoenix, click the button below to check availability! We hope you'll enjoy your stay!