...because home doesn't happen overnight.

summer sandals

In summer when I’m not walking around barefoot (most of the time!) or running in my Brooks, it’s a good bet I’m wearing my favorite pair of strappy leather sandals. They go with everything: jeans + tee, shorts + tank, a breezy sundress, even a swimsuit + coverup at the pool or beach. They’re easy to slip on but look slightly more refined, sexier than flip flops.

Every time I share a snap of them on Instagram, people want to know the source so I thought I’d share it with you. I bought them at Kohl’s (!), and they are the only sandals I’ve owned/worn for the last two years. I have sensitive toe cleavage (TMI?), but these don’t bother me at all. In fact, there was no break-in period required. They were immediately comfortable. They’ve held up tremendously well especially considering how many miles I’ve logged in them. (FYI – For all-day walking excursions, I wear something more supportive but these are great for running errands, trips to the park and pool, casual dining out, etc.) I just noticed that they’re still available at a crazy affordable price, and I’m seriously considering buying another pair because surely the ones I have won’t last forever. I’ve included them in the round-up below (see #1) along with a few other strappy casual sandals that caught my eye.

 

In other news, the kids finish up school this week and the pool opens this weekend. Summer really is coming!

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

05.17.16 / Liked & Linked

sister wedding

bouquet

photo booth

Hello! How are you? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?! Haha. Just kidding. I come from a family whose motto is “no news is good news” which means things are good on my end. A little busier than normal, but good.

My (much) younger sister, Alina, got married a few weeks ago. She looked beautiful, as always. The ceremony took place outside on a soggy, overcast day. It rained all day but let up just in time to wipe down the guest chairs and say “I do.” Five minutes after the ceremony was over, it started raining again. Perfect timing!

I was a matron of honor along with my other sister, Rihana. Mabrey was the flower girl, and Everett was the ring bearer. Before Everett and Mabrey walked down the aisle, I told Everett to remind Mabrey to toss her rose petals if she forgot. Three-quarters of the way down, Everett glanced in Mabrey’s basket and must have thought she wasn’t tossing efficiently enough. He whispered something to her and she immediately came to a complete stop, let go of Everett’s hand and dumped the basket upside down, emptying its contents in one fell swoop. She got some laughs. Layne was a legit groomsman. He wore a tux and a boutonniere, escorted a bridesmaid, the whole shebang. He looked so handsome and grown up! I was shocked when he later told me he wants to add a tuxedo to his wardrobe. Says the kid whom wears fluorescent athletic apparel on a regular basis.

The flowers were gorgeous! I couldn’t stop admiring them. Alina worked with a local florist who offers affordable DIY bouquets. Basically, you select your floral arrangements a few months in advance then show up the day before your event and the florist gives you a quick tutorial on how to create the arrangements yourself on site. You have several hours to put everything together. The results look professional but cost way less. Alina chose blush roses, white hydrangea, ivory astilbe, eucalyptus and dusty miller for the bridesmaids’ bouquets. They were so, so pretty.

We had a blast at the reception. The boys were dancing maniacs. They absolutely love weddings just for the dancing. Steve and I were able to steal a few moments in the photo booth. Sombreros and oversize heart glasses for the win!

Anyway.

It was a wonderful celebration, and I’m so happy for Alina and Pete. They are experiencing so many exciting changes right now. Not only did they just tie the knot, they are closing on their first house in a few weeks (it’s a dreamy, historic colonial with hardwood floors and original woodwork), moving to a new city and starting new jobs. I’m going to miss them so much!

A few things…

*Made me cry.

*Made me laugh.

*Tips for meditating at home.

*I’m on a candle kick at the moment. I have this candle burning in my kitchen and this candle burning on my nightstand.

lil boy room 2

lil boy room

*Love this little boy’s room.

*A $20,000 house. Say what?!

*That’s one epic treehouse!

*I gifted the newlyweds a set of brass coasters, a print from one of my favorite artists and a guest book for their new home. Secretly hoping they ask me to help decorate ;)

Hope you are well!

images: 1-3) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 4 & 5) Anna Smith

space saving cabin 1

We recently stayed at this amazing modern cabin in Lake Leelanau, Michigan. The home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms plus a powder room and is modestly sized. (If I had to guess, I’d say it’s roughly 1,800 square feet.) Immediately upon arrival, it felt airy and spacious thanks to numerous windows throughout, vaulted ceilings in the main living space and, of course, the innately uncluttered decor that typically comes with a vacation rental. Once we settled in, however, I noticed several space-saving tricks that weren’t as obvious. I thought I’d share them with you since many of the clever ideas could easily translate to a residential property. Here they are…

space saving entry 1

1. A built-in entry closet. The small entry is sandwiched between a powder room and exterior walls, leaving very little room for a legit closet. Recessed IKEA cabinet frames maximize storage space for outerwear, bags, sports equipment and other miscellaneous.

space saving entry 2

The top cabinet provides hanging space while the lower cabinet houses several drawers. Often times, the space below a hanging rod is underutilized, so I thought this setup was ingenious. In a real home, I could see the drawers being used to corral mail, parent-teacher communication and children’s homework. You could even designate a drawer for each child.

space saving kitchen 4

2. Loads of kitchen drawers. The kitchen occupies one wall. The owner opted for a trio of windows with lake views in lieu of upper cabinetry. (Duh.) The base cabinets open to reveal ample drawer space.

space saving kitchen 1

Shallow drawers are ideal for smaller items like silverware, cooking utensils, cutting boards and baking sheets. Deeper drawers are perfect for pots and pans.

space saving kitchen 2

A single pull-out below the sink provides hidden storage for trash and recycling bins and also houses dish soap, dishwasher detergent and extra trash bags. The lower drawer to the left of the trash is actually a drawer dishwasher hidden by a cover panel. The compact size allows for a separate drawer above which houses silverware and makes the task of unloading the dishwasher a breeze.

FYI – I mentioned my thoughts on having a trash pullout at the sink in this post, and my concerns were validated. The setup worked well for us when there was only one person in the kitchen, but we tend to clean up after meals together and prefer separate zones for trash/recycling and dishwashing. Otherwise, the person at the sink is constantly being asked to move out of the way. That’s just our preference.

space saving kitchen 5

Yes, this is an IKEA kitchen and, no, I didn’t know about it when I booked the place. I was so excited (and, quite honestly, surprised!) when I opened a cabinet and made the discovery. All the cabinet frames and drawers in the house are IKEA, even the bathroom vanities.

space saving kitchen 3

From a design standpoint, I liked the seamless look of the single panel fronts versus several individual drawer fronts. Opening one drawer to gain access to another drawer really wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would be. Inside and out, the cabinets are tidy. The custom fronts are furniture grade plywood outfitted with raw brass pulls. I loved the warm, natural look. I also loved the owner’s decision to repeat the cabinet design in the bathrooms. It just made the entire house feel really cohesive.

space saving pantry 1

3. A freestanding pantry. With no room for a walk-in pantry, a floor-to-ceiling pantry is an effective alternative.

space saving pantry 2

Not only does it provide storage for dry goods, it houses dishes, bowls, glasses, mugs, serveware – even a slim refrigerator with bottom freezer! An open space above the refrigerator acts as a minibar out of kid reach. Note: There is no microwave in the house which perplexed us at first, but the only thing we missed it for was popping bagged popcorn.

space saving pantry 3

Once again, drawers, drawers and more drawers glide in and out for easy access and loads of storage. The placement of dishes and serveware near the dishwasher facilitates dishwasher unloading.

space saving kitchen table 1

4. A kitchen table. No dining room? No problem. A large table punctuated by a pair of oversized pendants takes the place of an island and acts as buffer between the kitchen and adjacent living room.

space saving kitchen table 2

Reclaimed wood and an X-base are reminiscent of a farmhouse table, but the waterfall edge is a modern touch. A mix of vintage chairs lends a casual vibe. I loved the juxtaposition of the rustic table and chairs against some of the sleeker elements in the space.

space saving media stand 3

5. A custom, low-slung media stand. An extra low media stand allows the flatscreen to reach just below the window line, allowing for uninterrupted views of the landscape.

space saving media stand 1

space saving media stand 2

The simple design raises the flatscreen to a comfortable viewing height and provides space for thin electronics and books.

space saving desk 2

6. A desk behind a sofa. Bringing in a console table is the knee-jerk reaction when considering the space behind a floating sofa, but what about a drop-leaf table that doubles as a desk? It’s an instant home workspace!

space saving desk 1

In a traditional setting, I could see it being used to pay bills, check email, work from home and tackle homework. It’s conducive to adults and children alike.

space saving headboard 3

7. Nightstand alternatives. In moderately sized bedrooms, nightstands can crowd the room and eat up precious floor space. Floating shelves attached to an extra wide headboard are an effective option.

space saving headboard 2

There’s just enough space for a glass of water, a candle, eyeglasses and nighttime reading material.

space saving headboard 1

They’re great in children’s rooms, too! Forgo lamps and mount wall sconces on the headboard.

space saving bedside chairs 2

space saving bedside chair 1

In one of the bedrooms there wasn’t quite enough room for shelves, so the owner brought in folding chairs to flank the bed. Bonus: The chairs can be used for extra seating in a pinch when company visits.

space saving pocket doors 1

8. Pocket doors. Here, a pocket door separates a powder room from the hallway. When space is tight, everyday motions like opening a door can be cumbersome. In hallways or in doorways that adjoin two rooms where the space required to accommodate a swinging door is minimal or non-existent, consider installing a pocket door.

space saving pocket doors 2

Another pocket door separates the master bathroom from the master bedroom.

I hope these ideas inspire you to think outside the box when coming up with space-saving solutions in your own home! Admittedly, there were so many great details in the cabin that I had a hard time condensing them into a readable post. (Still, here I am at 25+ photos and 1,000+ words. Are you still awake?!) I encourage you to go back through the images and make note of more features, like the simple trimwork, the flooring materials, the mirror-less powder room, the mirror at the end of the hallway, the freestanding soaker tub, the DIY platform beds (constructed of the same plywood found in the kitchen and bathrooms), the custom cabinet bases, the artwork and ALL. THE. CORNER. WINDOWS. What catches your eye?

P.S. – See more vacation houses here and here.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking