...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Remember the secondhand media cabinet I bought back when we were in the throes of renovating? It was the perfect size for our needs but after living with it for a year and a half, it was clear that something lighter in color and design would work better.

lr media 1

This little number fits the corner of our living room like a glove. I like that it’s white with solid doors and a leggy base. HH bought and installed this sensor back when we had the old cabinet because we were having problems with our universal remote not working properly. The sensor worked great then and now it allows us to control the media equipment through the solid doors of the new cabinet, too. It’s a crowd pleaser. I like that it lets us keep the ugly black boxes under wrap. HH is comforted by the fact that he can control the TV from any room in the house, including the bathroom. Men. The kids no longer become frustrated trying to point the remote just so. Everybody wins!

lr media 2

This corner of the living room is pretty dark at night but Nate’s new task lamp does the trick. I’m trying out a few accessories – potted jade transplanted from an outdoor planter, books, a wood back massager and a black and white print. All things I had on hand. But you know me. I can’t guarantee the little vignette will stay this way for long.

Oh yes, little corner, I am going to have fun tweaking you whenever boredom strikes. Beware!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

I’ve had requests to share my favorite etsy shops and finds. Dare I say I spend more time browsing etsy than pinterest? It’s true. I’ve decided to try weekly etsy features and see how they go over. Let me know if you enjoy them!


This week on etsy I stumbled upon the most amazing collection of handmade chandeliers and sconces via Stimulight. The urchin-like starburst lighting has a midcentury vibe that reminds me of the Sputnik but is more affordable than the popular vintage pieces. Most of the fixtures are listed with a price tag of less than $400 while true Sputniks and even high end replicas can sell for upwards of $1,000.


The custom fixtures are made with the utmost attention to detail. The metal spines are crafted from high quality wire and can be adorned with hand painted wood beads for an explosive effect.


Along with chandeliers, the shop also offers handsome wall sconces and table lamps. I could see a pair of urchin sconces above a buffet in a dining room or flanking the bed in a master bedroom. A single sconce near a rocking chair or glider would be so adorable in a nursery.

After discovering this inspiring little shop, I was delighted to find out more about the maker and designer behind the pieces. The shop is the result of a creative collaboration between a visual display manager and an engineer. Zach Dutton, one half of the Stimulight duo, is a visual display designer for West Elm. Yes, THE West Elm. I’m a huge fan of West Elm so it’s really no surprise that I’m drawn to the experimental lighting gig spurred by one of their designers. I don’t think this newly introduced tangent shop will be sitting on the sidelines for long!

What do you think of these affordable spins on a vintage design? Are you a fan of West Elm too?

images: Stimulight


A few weeks ago I mentioned a last minute gallery wall above the fauxdenza that we threw together for the Tile Shop photo shoot. For being a totally spontaneous {i.e., unplanned and non-researched} project, it turned out pretty well and served the purpose of filling up the wall above the fauxdenza for a photo op. I guess it wasn’t totally unplanned. I had been imagining a gallery wall in the mudroom/dining room but hadn’t put any real thought into it. I was assuming it was something that would happen over time. But opportunity knocked and I answered.


We started out with a blank canvas. Well, pretend you don’t see those white pock-marks all over the wall. Those come later. I was a baaaaad blogger and didn’t take any pictures of the wall’s creation in real time. I had a good reason. I was in bed. Sleeping. Basically, I designed the wall quickly the night before the shoot then HH took over the reigns and actually installed the gallery wall. He practically forced me to go to bed. It was midnight and I was already crazy sleep deprived and needed some rest before the big day. At least, that’s what HH told me. I obeyed and went to bed. Yeah, HH is awesome. He knows me better than I know myself.

My “in-progress” images are simulated.


Before I hit the hay, I mapped out a spot on the floor in front of the fauxdenza to mimic the wall area above the fauxdenza. It happened that three rows of floor tile were the same height as the wall area above the horizontal planks on the fauxdenza wall but, if that happy accident hadn’t occurred, I would have just used masking tape or painter’s tape to map out a fake “wall” on the floor. I gathered frames, art, photos and scrap fabric from our attic {oh, the attic. It could use some organizing. It will happen.} and a few new frames from Target that I had picked up earlier in the day while shopping for photo shoot accessories.


After configuring, stepping back, reconfiguring, editing, stepping back and then nearly falling over from sheer exhaustion, this is the arrangement I ended up with. I was going for an asymmetrical arrangement that looked good as-is but could be added to in the future. I didn’t fret over keeping the same distance in between all of the frames. I didn’t measure anything. The entire process was pretty loosey-goosey.


I mixed white frames, wood frames, metal frames, a fabric-covered frame and even an unframed canvas to keep things interesting.


I was under the gun to have the wall ready for the photo shoot the next morning so I used framed photos that you might recognize from my previous house. There was no time to get new photos developed. This is also why there are no photos of Mabrey included. I do have pictures of her developed but none made it into the gallery wall…yet.

While I was coming up with the layout, HH ran to Lowe’s to pick up a bunch of 3M Command picture hanging strips. It was nearly 10 o’clock at night on a Tuesday and Lowe’s was the only place open.


At midnight, HH took over the installation of the frames and art so I could catch some zzzzz’s. You should have seen his reaction when I told him not to worry about the frames being exactly level or perfectly spaced. He’s an engineer, people. When it comes to hanging stuff on a wall, the words “unexact” and “imperfect” aren’t in his vocabulary. I didn’t watch him hang everything but I’m pretty sure the finished wall is an exact replica of my haphazard floor arrangement.

Why the 3M strips? Two reasons: 1) The wall that the fauxdenza hangs on is a block wall. On the other side of the wall is the garage. Drilling into a concrete wall would have been time-consuming and labor intensive. 2) Drilling into a concrete wall at midnight would have awakened all the sleeping little people in our house. I don’t know about you but when our little people are asleep, we like to keep them that way as long as possible.


The picture hanging strips are basically velcro strips that adhere to the wall and frames. They are super strong and can handle up to 16 pounds of weight. You stick one side of the velcro onto the wall and the other onto the frame so they will line up with each other. Then hold the frame up to the wall and press. You will hear a loud “click” when the strips line up properly and secure themselves to one another. Pretty sweet stuff right there.

FYI – Be sure to adhere the velcro directly to the frame – not the cardboard backing that holds the frame’s contents in. We had one casualty due to overlooking this important detail. When I woke up early the next morning, one frame had fallen and busted on the tile floor. Oops.


It helps to start with the lower frames and work your way up the wall.


There she blows.

Up close, from left to right…




It’s difficult to take non-glaring pics of the gallery wall because it’s directly across from a set of french doors. If it wasn’t BELOW FREEZING here I would have opened the doors and got a wider angled shot. I tried my best.


I absolutely love how the open ironwork of the pendant light lets you peek beyond to the gallery wall.


And because I know I would want the specifics if I were reading about a gallery wall on someone else’s blog…

A – IKEA frame, family vacation photo

B – IKEA frame, wedding photo

C – estate sale, abstract painting on canvas

Fun fact #1: The previous owner of our house painted the abstract art. I bought it at the Underdog’s estate sale before the house was officially ours. I’m so glad we finally found a place to hang it.

D – Ikea frame, Allposters.com print

E – Target frame, fabric scrap

F – IKEA frame, candid photo of Everett at 7 months old

G – Target frame, fabric scrap

H – West Elm frame, photos of Spain from HH’s high school trip abroad

I – IKEA frame, photo of Layne’s shadow kissing my shadow’s belly when I was nine months pregnant with Everett

J – IKEA frame, photo of HH and Layne as a newborn

K – Target frame, photo of me pregnant with Layne

Fun fact #2: HH gifted me a professional maternity shoot when I was pregnant with my firstborn, Layne. It was so much fun!

L – Target frame, fabric scrap

Fun fact #3: After failing to get this little round tabletop frame to stick to the wall, we decided it looked better just resting on the chair rail.


My favorite frames are the new distressed wood ones from Target. I’m pretty sure I need to run back and grab at least a half-dozen more. Megan, from The Tile Shop, said the frames tie into the reclaimed wood shelves in our kitchen. That must be why I like them!

The wall isn’t done but it’s done for now. I’d like to switch out some of the contents of the frames and, over time, I want to add to the gallery wall. {Don’t worry. I’ll share any changes I make.} As-is, it’s feeling a little too feminine and white-on-white for my taste. But it sure does make our house feel more personal and homey. Gotta love any project that does that.

I want to share a few tips for creating a unique gallery wall but think this post is already too lengthy to include here. So, look for my gallery wall tips in a future post. Coming soon!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking