...because home doesn't happen overnight.

I am so excited to host this giveaway and introduce you to Seed Furniture! The L.A.-based furniture company not only creates beautiful pieces but also focuses on sustainability, craftsmanship and innovation.

seed furniture

*design – the company successfully mixes a midcentury modern aesthetic with rustic and contemporary styles. The resulting designs are timeless, putting the word “forever” in forever furniture.

*sustainability – the company utilizes FSC certified wood and soy-based, formaldehyde-free glue. Much of the hardwood comes from a stockpile in New Jersey formed from the cleanup efforts following Hurricane Sandy.

*craftsmanship – each piece is custom made-to-order by local artisans and workers. That’s right. All items are made right here in the USA.

*innovation – all finishes are non-toxic and contain no VOC’s. Wood is finished with a combination of bees wax + walnut oil. Lacquer finishes are composed of Mythic Paint and Smart-Coat.

And you know how much I despise unsightly electrical cords, right? Well, Seed Furniture implements these crazy cool power portals which contain electronic outlets and USB hubs strategically built into their media pieces. No ugly dangling cords!

seed furniture power portals

 

(Note the clever cup holders, too.)

 

seed bed

Seed furniture is the epitome of form meets function. Practical storage is beautifully disguised. Coming from a modestly-sized home, I fully appreciate the usefulness and beauty of these pieces.

Seen enough? I hope not. Because you might just be the lucky winner of a credit to Seed Furniture! See entry details below.

PRIZE: $2,000 (yep, that’s three zeros!) credit to Seed Furniture. (A $150 shipping credit is also included with the prize.)

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the continental U.S. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Check out Seed Furniture’s selection by clicking here. Enter your email address then browse their amazing selection. Share your favorite piece in the comments section of this post and tell me where you would put it.

DEADLINE: Enter before 12:00 p.m. EST on Monday, April 21st. One random winner will be announced Tuesday, April 22nd.

BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Use the code “TWEAKING” at checkout to score 30% off any piece until Monday, April 28th.

Best of luck!

images: Seed Furniture

04.12.14 / Made Me Smile

coffee table book

We spent a lot of time outside this week. Sans coats! Sans gloves! Sans boots! It was warm and wonderful and, for a moment, quieted the thoughts of a beach getaway. Do you even know how much easier and quicker it is to get three kids out the door when all those winter accessories aren’t needed?! It’s awesome. More little things to smile about…

*My new coffee table book. It’s been on my wish list for a while and I finally snatched it up. I haven’t cracked it yet (warm weather to blame) but I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it.

*I discovered Sweeten this week. Have you heard of it? It matches experts with New York homeowners for the purpose of tackling a renovation. I really love this project.

*Getting lost in Dwell magazine’s pinterest account. I like to think of it as “dream house research.”

*Searching #fiddleleaffig. It’s like porn for houseplant lovers.

*Standing barefoot on the new bathroom floor.

*Thinking of your home as a place to learn. I can sooooo relate.

*I think a reader said it best after seeing Mabrey in action. ”The biggest, ugliest, BEST toddler toy ever.” (Gotta love grandparents and their reputation for buying the biggest, loudest toys.)

real life

A glimpse at what my house really looks like most of the time.

I hope you have a sunny weekend! We have a few DIY projects planned but the most important activity on the schedule is watching this classic with the kids.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

fiddle leaf fig 1

It’s been over two months since Mr. Fig came into my life. From the get-go I made a promise to myself to share whatever became of him – good or bad. I’ve read a bunch of stories of homeowners bringing home fiddle leaf figs but can’t find as much in the way of follow-ups. What’s going well? What went wrong? Rather than reading a list of care tips from a gardening website, I think it’s more helpful to see how real people care (properly or improperly) for their fiddle leaf figs.

fiddle leaf fig 2

So when new growth appeared at the top of my fig several weeks ago, I thought it might help to share how I’ve been caring for it. I am no expert. It used to be that everything green I touched turned brown but lately I’ve been able to keep all of my houseplants alive. What’s going on?! Many of things I’m doing aren’t secrets. In fact, many of the tips I’m utilizing were kindly offered up in the comments section of this post. Thank you!! (Mr. Fig thanks you as well.)

First up is location. Fiddle leaf figs love bright indirect light. My tree sits just inside a set of french doors and below two skylights on the north side of my house. This area is always bright but the sun’s rays never hit the plant directly.

The planter sits on a stand with casters so I can roll it out of the way to open the doors. The doors lead to a grilling patio which has seen absolutely zero action over the last six months. Now that the weather is getting warmer, we’ll probably be scooting the tree out of the way more often. I’ve thought about relocating it to the living room but it seems to really like this spot and I’m nervous about switching things up. More than likely, I’ll roll the tree outside when the weather is nice. While the tree is small, this setup will work but when / if this guy grows much, much larger I may have to rethink the location. I don’t rotate the tree regularly but it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.

fiddle leaf fig 3

The other big thing about fiddle leaf figs is watering without over- or under-watering. When I first brought the tree home, I was giving it a splash of water every 3-5 days but then someone mentioned that I should be flooding it then letting it dry out in between waterings. So that’s what I’m doing now. I pay attention to how the leaves are oriented and when things start looking droopy I wait another day or so to water. I also implement the lift test. When the leaves are droopy I lift the plastic planter out of the ceramic one. If the tree feels relatively light, then it’s time to water. That equates to watering every 7-14 days. From what I’ve heard, it’s better to under-water than over-water so when in doubt I err on the side of waiting it out a little longer in between waterings.

fiddle leaf fig 4

To water, I carry the tree over to the kitchen sink and set it inside. (Reason #99 why I love a single basin sink.) If the dirt seems extra dry, hard or compacted, I use a pencil and stab it into the dirt over and over to break things up and allow the water to reach the roots. I use the pull-down faucet to flood the planter with lukewarm water. I add water until I see it running through the bottom of the planter.

fiddle leaf fig 5

Then I let the tree sit in the sink while the water drains until it’s no longer dripping. I think it was a reader who told me not to immediately place the tree back in the ceramic (non-draining) planter. Apparently, letting the tree sit in a pool of water can cause root rot.

I fully realize that if the tree continues to grow (grow, grow little tree!) this method of watering isn’t going to work forever. I guess that’s when I start rolling the tree to the bathroom and giving it a shower? Forget finishing the second bathroom for the kids. It’s going to be the fiddle leaf fig bathroom. Hee-hee.

fiddle leaf fig 6

About once a month I wipe the leaves with a soft, damp cloth to remove dust and images of photosynthesis diagrams flash in my brain. Oh Calvin cycle, how I love thee.

I recently spray painted the rolling stand gold. (Yay for spray painting weather!) Not sure how this impacts the health of the tree but I’ve heard plants like to be courted. Singing to them, talking to them, displaying them on gold thrones…it can’t hurt.

And that’s how I’m not killing my beloved Mr. Fig. He isn’t the lowest maintenance guy but I don’t mind. I’m so happy he seems to like it here! I plan on fertilizing him this summer. And eventually I’m going to have to repot. I’ll keep you posted. Literally.

Do you have a fiddle leaf fig? How’s it going? Do you want a fiddle leaf fig? I would have bet money on the demise of any fig tree in my house knowing my reputation with houseplants. But trying out a small, inexpensive one has been successful! I hope I can keep it up.

I’ll be back later today with a regular Made Me Smile post. TGIF!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Obligatory preamble rambling: When we were renovating our kitchen, I searched high and low for any information I could find on Ikea kitchens. The results were few and far between. We did end up with an Ikea kitchen (which we love) but I’d like to shed more light on Ikea kitchen renovations from the perspective of other real life homeowners. It’s something I wish we would have had access to when we were considering Ikea for our own kitchen remodel. Plus, it’s fun to see how others use Ikea to suit their personal style and needs in the kitchen. I hope you find these posts helpful and inspiring – whether you ultimately end up with an Ikea kitchen or not. Enjoy!

texas ikea kitchen 1

Ashley’s home in Texas Hill Country has an innate rustic feel. When it came to remodeling the kitchen, Ashley and her husband, Bob, wanted to bring in more storage and modern elements while honoring the home’s rustic vibe. The results are nothing short of jaw-dropping. I asked Ashley several questions about her kitchen renovation. Find her answers and the amazing “afters” below.

wimberley_ikea_renovation_2

Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

The cabinets, cabinet fronts, cabinet hardware, countertops, oven, cooktop and hood are all Ikea. Note: Ikea only sales a 24″ width butcher block so for the island we had two pieces professionally cut and bonded together.

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

I started by looking for images of kitchens I liked. Googling things like ‘rustic modern kitchen’ or ‘barn kitchens.’ I found several I thought would really work for this space and after researching more I found that a lot of the products used in the kitchens I admired were from Ikea.

We researched Ikea kitchens, made several trips to check out the products and were convinced that it was the best route for us. To be honest, I had no idea that an entire kitchen could be purchased from Ikea!

wimberley_ikea_renovation_5

Who designed your kitchen? What aesthetic were you aiming for?

I designed the kitchen myself, along with help from my own personal interior designer who just happens to be my aunt. (I’m a lucky gal.)

Our house has a very rustic southwestern feel. I wanted to keep that vibe by choosing organic and rustic elements along with industrial and modern pieces.

Did you assemble and install all Ikea kitchen components yourself? If not, what did you seek help with?

My husband, Bob, assembled all the cabinets. When you purchase an Ikea kitchen it literally comes in what seems like a million pieces. We had boxes stored in every nook and cranny of our house. It is very overwhelming but you just have to take your time. Patience is key. Bob would put together one or two cabinets a night. A family friend who happens to work in renovation and construction was kind enough to help us with the install.

texas ikea kitchen 2

How did you customize your Ikea kitchen to suit your needs and preferred aesthetic?

The great thing about an Ikea kitchen is that is easily customizable. This was our first remodel and in the beginning I was pretty intimated and a tad overwhelmed. The 3D kitchen planner that Ikea offers lets you work from the comfort of your own home to customize and visualize your kitchen.

I wanted lots and lots of drawer space and Ikea has amazing kitchen drawers so I included several of them. When I selected the stainless steel cabinets I was told that there were far fewer options when it came to cabinet selection in the stainless. This ended up working in our favor because where we had originally planned to have cabinet doors we had to put in large drawers and I love them so!

How long was it from design to the final product?

The kitchen was the first room we tackled. We are renovating every square inch of this house while living in it. I wanted to get the biggest inconvenience out of the way first. It took about a month from the first sledgehammer hit to where we are today. There are still a few things that need to be done such as purchasing a new fridge and dishwasher but because those items do their jobs just fine they keep getting pushed lower and lower on the list, making room for new floor, tiles, tubs and sinks.

We were, for the most part, solely dedicated to the kitchen renovation. We use and abuse our kitchen daily and were eager to get it done and functioning as quick as possible.

How long have you lived with your Ikea kitchen? Have you encountered any problems?

We have had our new kitchen for about 8 months now. Our biggest issue is with one of my favorite pieces of the kitchen….the butcher block. There’s really nothing I love more about this kitchen than the combination of the natural rustic butcher block with the industrial feel of the stainless steel. But we have discovered that we may not be the best candidates for an entire butcher block kitchen. Like I said before, our kitchen is worked hard every day all day and the butcher block has not held up to the torture. We love it on the island and will keep it there but we are in the process of looking for a more durable material for the rest of the counters. We are leaning towards black leathered granite.

The butcher block around the sink has taken the hardest hit. The first ‘oh sh*t!’ moment came not long after we had it all finished. One of us had left a damp rag on the counter overnight and come morning the butcher block had buckled and cracked where the rag was. We need a kitchen that can handle the stray damp rag and water splash.

wimberley_ikea_renovation_8

What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

My favorite, hands down, is the storage space that the drawers and cabinets provide. I thought I had a lot of kitchen crap but Ikea has proven me wrong. I have several drawers and cabinets that aren’t even close to being full and some that are still empty!

My least favorite is unfortunately the butcher block. Love the way it looks, hate the durability or lack thereof. I’m going to be sad when we replace it but I will be oh so happy when I don’t have to look at the water stains and buckled countertops.

Would you recommend Ikea as a source for a kitchen remodel? If so, which items?

Absolutely! I already have. The cabinets have been the greatest surprise for us. The space and the look of them are great. I don’t know if you could find a better bang for your buck.

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

We have talked about this because our goal for this house has always been to fix it up and then sell it. I think we would definitely consider Ikea products for another kitchen; most certainly the cabinets and appliances.

Resources of note:
paint – Valspar pale bloom
open shelves – reclaimed wood we pulled out of a guest bathroom in the house
wood on the back of the island – also reclaimed wood pulled from the guest bathroom
backsplash – Lowe’s American Olean 42-pack urban canvas ice white (common: 4″ x 8″; actual: 4.25″ x 8.5″)
sink – Lowe’s Superior Sinks 16-gauge single-basin undermount stainless steel kitchen sink
light above island – Lowe’s Allen + Roth oil-rubbed bronze pendant
light above sink – Lowe’s Allen + Roth edison bronze pendant with clear shade
faucet – discontinued but this is very similar…Lowe’s Giagni Fresco stainless steel pull-down kitchen faucet
barstools – Tabouret 24″ metal counter stools (These stools are nice but clash with the stainless steel cabinets. I think a rustic wood and iron stool would do the trick.)

*BONUS* – The total cost of the kitchen was around $9,000.

texas ikea kitchen 3

Thank you, Ashley, for allowing me to feature your kitchen. I am so in love with the rustic / modern / industrial aesthetic! I have to say I never would have thought of combining stainless steel cabinets with white cabinets but it totally works. I’m also grateful for the honest review on the wood countertops. Maybe we could do a follow-up post when the perimeter butcher block is switched out? Out of curiosity, from one mom to another, I asked Ashley how she cleans her stainless steel cabinets. Her secret? She uses Method stainless steel cleaner. She’s tried other cleaners but was leery of their “keep away from children” warning on the labels.

Alright, folks. Another day, another Ikea kitchen. Are you enjoying this series as much as I am? Before-and-afters are THE BOMB but, hopefully, you’re learning stuff, too. See more Ikea kitchens here, here and here.

Do you have an Ikea kitchen (it doesn’t have to be 100% Ikea) you would be willing to share on House*Tweaking? If so, email me at housetweaking@gmail.com for consideration.

Pssst – Thanks to everyone who has already submitted an Ikea kitchen! I really, really, REALLY appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into bringing these posts to fruition. I have a slew of Ikea kitchens sitting in my inbox waiting to be featured. I apologize for the lapse in time between submission and the post going live. I’m buried in Ikea kitchens – in a good way! Keep ‘em comin’!

images: Ashley @ One Lucky Nest