...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Let’s start this one off with a bit of eye candy, shall we? Feast your eyes on the Asher sectional

Interior Define asher display

 

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When I was sourcing furniture for our home, I did a ton of shopping online. Buying online is really convenient for me because I don’t have to worry about my kids messing up displays, pretending to be ninjas, needing restroom breaks, wandering off or generally wreaking havoc in a store. I like that I can browse and compare prices from the comfort of my own home, on my own time. However, buying a big ticket item sight unseen can be daunting. Some online sources are really good at showcasing their inventory in true to life images and offering upholstery swatches to look over in person. Others are not so great and their images can be misleading. One company that is taking the fear and guesswork out of shopping for furniture online is Interior Define.

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The company offers realistic imagery, complimentary swatches, customizable furniture and quality craftsmanship…all at a price point generally 30%-40% less than comparable retailers. To suit your individual needs and preferred aesthetic, you can choose the size, configuration, material, cushion fill and legs on almost every piece. Most pieces are available in 40-60 different fabrics! You can place custom orders online, via phone or in person at the flagship showroom in Chicago.

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When you order swatches, you also receive a product card for each item you’re considering. The front of the card includes an image of the item and the back lists pertinent info such as measurements and design details.

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The swatches and cards come bound together so you can stash them in your bag for reference when you’re out shopping for coordinating accent furniture and accessories in brick and mortar stores. When I’m piecing together a room I find it helpful to carry a small tape measure, pen, notepad and my phone (for pictures of the space I’m working on and potential items).

interior define pillows

Interior Define mainly focuses on sofas and sectionals but be sure to check out their chair and pillow selections as well. They sent me pillow samples to photograph in real life so you could see how the online store images compare. Spot on! And they are super soft to boot.

I’m not in need of any furniture at the moment but I couldn’t stop myself from dreaming up an imaginary living room inspired by some of Interior Define’s pieces. I haven’t shared a mood board in ages so I thought it might be fun to share one today. I was inspired to create a simple, scaled back living room with modern lines, natural wood tones and a comfy vibe. Take a look!

interior define living room

 

Sources: ceiling light // artwork // Walters sectional in navy // gray linen pillow // wide stripe pillow // kilim pillow // stitch stripe pillow // floor lamp // coffee table // vase // rug // accent table // sconce // chair (currently unavailable) // hanging planter // blanket

Are you inspired to create a look around one of Interior Define’s pieces? How about a store credit to bring your vision to life? Interior Define is offering up $1,000 in store credit! Find entry details below.

If you’re interested in knowing my favorites, I curated a collection of Interior Define pieces right here.

PRIZE: one $1,000 online credit to Interior Define. Credit must be used by 5/1/15 on the purchase of a sofa, sectional or chair in a single purchase. (Sorry, you can’t buy a truckload of pillows. I know. It’s a travesty.) Any returns will be refunded as store credit minus any applicable restocking fee.

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: Visit Interior Define here and register your email address. Browse the selection then leave a comment on this post linking to your favorite item(s).

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, November 27th. One random winner will be announced Friday, November 28th.

BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Receive $100 off any order over $1,500 by using the discount code HT100. Offer expires 12/1/14.

Best of luck!

images: 1-3) Interior Define 4-9) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

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I recently partnered with Wayfair to create a Thanksgiving tablescape. The idea was to show how you can pair splurge-worthy reusable items (fine china, flatware, cloth napkins, candelabras, etc.) with easy, inexpensive DIYs to create a festive but not too literal look. I’ve always loved natural garland lining the center of a table so that was my jumping off point. I removed the wishbone chairs from the ends of the table and brought in two chairs from our outdoor dining patio to sit between the tulip chairs. This provided seating for six and allowed the table runner and greenery to spill over the ends of the table.

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I sewed a custom table runner out of vintage batik fabric and pom trim.

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I’ve found that most ready-made runners look too narrow on our chunky table so I created a wider one. It measures ~20″ wide.

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I bought a few $3 bunches of eucalyptus from Trader Joe’s and placed them on the runner along the center of the table for a natural, organic vibe. Not only do I love the look, but the greenery is more conducive to conversation versus traditional centerpieces. It makes for a casual but intimate dining experience. (And it smells divine!) I sprinkled in mini pumpkins and candles. A few of the orange pumpkins weren’t meshing with the color scheme so I spray painted them gold.

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The geometric candelabras were originally black. I spray painted them gold, too. Spray all the things gold! I melted purple and indigo crayons then rolled the bases of taper candles in the wax.

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I love how the candelabras turned out. They’re so, so pretty.

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I kept the place settings simple. Silver banded china (a wedding gift twelve years ago!), sleek gold flatware and linen napkins are quality staples with longevity that can be used year-round for special occasions. Instead of using napkin rings, I tied leather laces around the napkins and tucked in eucalyptus sprigs.

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I carried the eucalyptus and pumpkins over on to the floating credenza and threw in roses from a local grocer.

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I used wood letters, wood stain, hot glue and jute string to create a “give thanks” banner. (The craft store was out of stock on T’s so I had to improvise with an L and I.)

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I strung the two banners across the window and secured them with clear 3M cord clips. I like the way the wood letters tie in with the bench and woven shade.

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I think my favorite aspect of the decor is that it doesn’t scream Thanksgiving (aside from the “give thanks” banner) and it doesn’t stray too far from our home’s everyday vibe. The gold, white, green and indigo color scheme works well in our dining room but still feels autumnal.

You can read more about my Thanksgiving tablescape over on Wayfair. Find the source list below. If you have any questions, just ask!

Sources:

china – wedding gift, JCPenney
gold flatware – West Elm
wine glasses – family heirloom
linen napkins with midnight border – Coyuchi, Wayfair
leather cord – Realeather lace
batik fabric – etsy
pom trim – JoAnn’s
geometric candelabra – Wayfair
eucalyptus, pumpkins – Trader Joe’s
gold spray paint – Design Master 24 karat pure gold (It’s a wonderful warm gold with copper undertones – perfect for fall!)
wood craft letters – JoAnn’s
wood stain – Minwax special walnut

Psssst – We’re having THE BEST time on our family vacation! We’re already dreading leaving what feels like paradise. I wish everyone could experience this place.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

11.02.14 / Made Me Smile

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Hi all. How was your week / weekend? Did you do any trick-or-treating? Our Halloween was blustery and rainy but it didn’t stop us from partaking in beggar’s night for a few hours. We were shivering and soaked to the core by the time we got home but wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Layne was always one house ahead letting us know what each house was serving. Like we were at a restaurant and he was reading the menu.

“You guys, this house is serving full-sized Snickers!” It was so funny.

Don’t tell anyone but I think Everett was a little scared. It got dark early and he kept asking if he could hold my hand. I didn’t mind ;)

It was Mabrey’s first time trick-or-treating but you would have never known. She caught on quickly. I could see the wheels turning in her head after the first house. So, I walk up to some stranger’s house, ring the doorbell, say trick-or-treat and they give me CANDY? I’m so in. By the end of the night, she had it down to a science. She discovered early on that if she lingered, smiling for an extra 10 seconds after the initial handout, she would score a second handful of loot. Girl is smart.

I’ll never forget my very first beggar’s night as a parent. Layne was about the same age as Mabrey. I gave him the gist (ring doorbell, trick-or-treat, candy, thank you) and we approached the first house. Layne rang the doorbell. A man opened the door. Layne said “trick-or-treat” then walked right in liked he owned the place! The homeowner was like, “Come on in!” We were all dying. I guess I forgot to mention to Layne that we don’t actually go in the houses.

More good stuff…

*A clean closet makes everything better.

*So does a tidy nook.

*A metal roof like no other.

*Tiny houses are a big thing.

*I think I pinned every room in this house.

organic midcentury kitchen

*Love the organic vibe and clever DIY’s in this midcentury remodel.

*A slew of stunning kitchen makeovers. Instant gratification FTW.

*When the weather turns cold, I live vicariously through bloggers in warmer climates. I’m loving Honey and Fizz right now. Especially the fun marquee in the kitchen. Such a cheerful and homey space!

*Busted out my trusty fleece-lined leggings this weekend.

Have a good one! I’m stealing the kids’ chocolate and trying to ignore the time change.

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Kikuko Usuyama

FYI: No mention of houses here other than one swept up by a tornado.

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Last Saturday, Steve and I had the opportunity to hear Ira Glass speak at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati. I’m a regular This American Life listener but it was my first time seeing Ira live. He did not disappoint. The event was titled “Reinventing the Radio” and, even though I have no professional ties to radio or journalism, I left feeling inspired as a writer.

Ira has a way of drawing listeners in without gimmicky promos and he talked about his storytelling version of journalism. In contrast to most news media, Ira’s broadcasts aren’t a series of big news stories with an underlying serious tone. Obviously, there’s a need for major, factual news programs (I’m not talking about the biased, sensationalized, fearmongering programs. I seriously think we could do without those.) but Ira claims there’s also a need for personal storytelling to put the world into perspective, to bring down the scale of the world to a human level. I couldn’t agree more.

He gave an example of a radio interview with a tornado victim and played some audio of the homeowner recounting her experience. She talks about what she was doing, what her kids were doing, what she saw and how it felt to be in a house that was picked up, swirled around and put back down on the ground three blocks away from its original location. There were no images or video but you could envision her story in your mind as it unfolded. It was riveting and really gave you a sense of what it might feel like to live through a tornado.

Ira then asked the audience to picture the nonexistent television news version of the same story. Most likely there would be video panning the wreckage, the victim’s home, the neighborhood. A very serious reporter would stand next to the victim and ask a few surface-scratching questions all the while ticking down the seconds. Maybe viewers would subconsciously judge the victim based on her, her home’s or her neighborhood’s appearance. The focus would be the damage but there wouldn’t be any real connection. And then the program would move on to another big scary story. It’s all very abrupt and fleeting.

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Ira’s method of storytelling is the reason why I find myself sitting in my car in the driveway with the engine off, radio on, after running an errand. I can’t stop listening! I’m caught up in the story. I want to find out what happens next. And, because the story is given time to unfold, I’m more likely to remember the details and make a permanent connection. It’s probable that I will recall the story at a later time and share it with someone else. Then that one little story will spark thoughts on bigger ideas and it causes me to look at things from a more human perspective than I would otherwise. Or it brings to light issues I normally wouldn’t consider.

Ira has a genuine talent for showcasing the humor and candor inside the bigger, scarier stories and I find it all very inspiring.

“Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” – Ira Glass

What about you? Are you a story lover? What is your favorite way to get the news? Do you listen to This American Life? Serial? I haven’t tuned in to Serial yet because I’m too afraid of getting sucked in!

P.S. – A dog dressed as Ira for Halloween and my dream radio.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking