...because home doesn't happen overnight.

ikea 2016 2

The kids and I were in Florida last week visiting my grandparents. There was a stack of mail waiting for me when we returned home. I was happy to find a copy of Ikea’s newest catalog among the stack of envelopes and shelter glossies. I had thought the catalog’s official release date was August 15th. I was surprised to see it show up in my mailbox so early. At any rate, I devoured it in one sitting. I made a list of the items and ideas that caught my eye. I thought I would share them with you today. In an effort to avoid ruining the novelty for others, I won’t be sharing photos of each item. I’d love for you to experience the catalog on your own then refer to my list if you feel inclined to do so. UPDATE: If you aren’t able to get a catalog in your hands, you can view it online here. Let’s get started!

*pg. 6, 61, 198 With its minimal design and small footprint, the LISABO dining table is ideal for small spaces.

*pg. 7, 63, 197 I actually spied the MÖCKELBY dining table several weeks ago at my local Ikea. It was love at first sight. The piece is a modern take on the trestle table. I predict it will become a best seller. FYI: I originally read the description as solid oak, meaning this was a solid oak table through and through. After further clarification, it appears the table is particleboard with a solid oak top layer.

*pg. 8-9 I have been (im)patiently waiting for the highly anticipated line from Ilse Crawford. It looks like I will have to wait a bit longer. The SINNERLIG collection debuts this fall but I’m already in love with the natural materials and textures. The cork furniture (dining table, bench, stools) and bamboo pendant lamp ($60!) are my favorite pieces.

*pg. 15 Metallic gold tape turns a basic white fridge into a fun statement. Easy and inexpensive!

*pg. 25, 60, 179 The RISATORP wire basket is pretty, practical and versatile. I can see it being utilized in almost any room to corral food, toys, linens, art supplies, toiletries, mail, books, etc. Also, the pantry on page 25 is dreamy.

*pg. 33 The affordable HINDÖ shelving unit with cabinets has an industrial vibe. I would use it in a kitchen, dining room or creative studio for combined open and hidden storage.

*pg. 81 The SITTNING tea light holders (made of natural stone) and small chopping boards (made of oiled acacia) are less than $5 a pop! I’ll definitely be grabbing a few of each.

*pg. 85 An interactive, kid-friendly wall features chalkboard paint halfway up the wall topped with shelving and knob hooks. A unique idea for a playroom or basement family room.

ikea 2016

pg. 141 (Probably my favorite page of the entire catalog.) I love everything about this bathroom! I’m so happy the GODMORGON cabinet is still available. (We love ours!) The bamboo countertop option warms things up and the TÖRNVIKEN vessel sink finally solves the problem of standard water traps crowding drawer space.

pg. 167 Yay for a dark nursery!

pg. 176 The INGEFÄRA pot combines a traditional material (terracota) with a modern design (deep saucer) at a ridiculously cheap price point of $2-$4 depending on size.

pg. 187 Ikea has been keeping kitchens organized for a long time with various containers. Add the KORKEN jar to that list.

pg. 198 The simple design of the IDOLF chair works with nearly any table style. I’m especially fond of the added support detail just under the seat. It reminds me of a Thonet.

pg. 208 Good-looking yet affordable ceiling lights are few and far between. The new VARV ceiling lamp checks both boxes.

pg. 237 The HILVER table boasts warm wood tones with white accents and clean lines. I like the idea of using it as a desk in the corner of a living room or home office.

pg. 272 I’m diggin’ the hardware-less 2-drawer OPPLAND chest for less than $100.

pg. 286 I always fall for Ikea’s cheap, flatwoven rugs. The TÅNUM and SIGNE do not disappoint.

pg. 292 I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like the NORDRANA baskets before. They’re constructed of polypropylene (the same material used for outdoor rugs) and washable. They’d be perfect hanging in a bathroom for easy and accessible storage.

pg. 304 Your kids want brightly colored plastic toys. You prefer wooden ones. The LILLABO cars are the perfect compromise.

pg. 305 I think Mabrey needs the DUKTIG cash register ;)

That’s my list! Overall, I really enjoyed browsing the new catalog. I like how Ikea shows many of their products in different settings on more than one page so you get a feel for how they might look in real life. I also thought the styling felt layered and lived-in…always a good thing in my book. One area that I thought was lacking this year was the bedding category which surprised me because I usually love their inexpensive bedding options. Have you flipped through the catalog yet? I’d love to know what caught your eye!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

07.20.15 / Liked & Linked

bye BHG

shoot leftovers

Whew! Last week was surreal and quite the whirlwind in the best way. Living behind the scenes of a magazine shoot opened my eyes to so many things. I will never look at house tours in print the same way again! I snuck a few behind-the-scenes shots and jotted down a ton of notes to share when the feature goes live. For those of you who have asked, I don’t know yet which issue our home will be featured in but, as soon as I do, I will let you know. (I’m told it will be sometime in 2016.)

The BHG crew left on Friday. They were lovely and funny and down-to-earth. Saying goodbye was more difficult than I had anticipated. The kids really enjoyed having company and action at the house. They were so disappointed to wake up to (what felt like) an empty and quiet house the day after shooting wrapped. Mabrey grew attached to Natalie, a BHG editor. She even made up “The Natalie Song” and was bummed when she learned that Saturday was Natalie’s birthday and we wouldn’t be able to have a cupcake party for her at our house. It was the sweetest and most heartbreaking thing. Whenever I walk past one of the leftover floral props, I do a double take and think, “Wait. Did that just really happen?”

Needless to say, we had a slow weekend. We hung out poolside with dear friends all day Saturday and holed up inside while it stormed on Sunday. I got a little antsy and hit up a nearby open house just for fun. With the shoot (and several tedious projects) behind us, I’m looking forward to getting back to work on the studio and enjoying a few more slow weekends before the kids start back to school.

A few links…

*Ogling this custom printed upholstery fabric.

*After months of brainstorming, we’re thinking about replacing a closet at the end of our hallway with built-in cabinets similar to this setup. Yes? No?

*Remodelista’s best of the best. Which will you vote for?


*I dogeared this simple, family-friendly beach house in the latest issue of Dwell. I can’t believe it’s <700 square feet!

*I am forever adding design books to my wish list. This week it was this, this and this.

*I finally found the perfect swim trunks for the boys. They love them! They can do all the cannonballs they want without readjusting or retying their waistbands. Pool time just got waaaaaaayyy easier mamas.

Happy start to your week!

images: 1 & 2) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 3) Sean Fennessy for Dwell magazine

07.14.15 / Photo Shoot!

I’ve been keeping a secret.

BHG shoot 1

This week a team of art directors, editors, stylists and photographers from Better Homes & Gardens arrived at our house for a photo shoot! One of the home editors at BHG reached out to me this past spring about the possibility of a feature. I was asked to send over sample pictures and a narrative detailing the renovation and any special features of our home for a pitch. Honestly, I didn’t expect things to go any further than the pitching stage. I was so shocked when I got an email saying the editorial team had unanimously chosen our home for a feature. WTF?! Up until this week, I was half-expecting them to retract the offer, to realize their mistake and call off the whole thing. I mean, we’re just a normal family living in a normal house that we’ve slowly tweaked into our home.

But now that things are in full swing, I am so excited!

BHG shoot

I’m excited to watch the pros work their magic. I’ll probably ask way too many questions and annoy the heck out of them. I’m excited to see our home through someone else’s lens. Sometimes it’s fun to see the place you live in a new light. I’m excited to witness what goes on behind the scenes of a legit photo shoot. Spoiler alert: A LOT. Our garage is standing in as a temporary prop room for the stylists and also a storage room for photography equipment. Obviously, I’m excited for the feature itself, too. I can remember reading my grandma’s BHG magazines as a kid and I’ve been a regular subscriber in my adulthood. To open the magazine and see the fruit of our blood, sweat and tears doesn’t seem feasible. It’s just plain crazy to even think about at this point.

What I’m most excited about though is the fact that a real house is going to be featured. We’re in Ohio – nowhere near a coast or trendy city. We live in a modest ranch built in the 60s – not a new, custom build or even an old house with charming architectural details. We have only the rooms we need and nothing more. There is no guest room or play room or sunroom or basement. I hope BHG readers will find our home inspiring because it’s relatable and achievable. There’s nothing extravagant about our home or lifestyle.

So the big secret is out! I’m jotting down notes and snapping a few behind-the-scenes pictures to share with you when the feature goes live sometime in 2016. I’m also bribing my kids to be on their best behavior. (Mabrey put on an impromptu dance recital for the team yesterday and Cheetah is stealing everyone’s hearts.) And it looks like the weather is going to cooperate, so YAY! I’ll be posting a few sneak peeks from the shoot over on my instagram account if you want to follow along.

As always, thanks for reading. There is absolutely no way this feature would be happening without this blog. And there’s absolutely no way this blog would be happening without you. You all are the best. Thank you.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking