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    30 Galentine's Day Gifts to Buy or DIY


    I don't know about you, but in light of current events, I'm feeling an abundance of gratitude for the women in my world. The future is indeed female, and when ladies come together, remarkable things happen. 

    What better way to celebrate sisterhood than to treat your tribe to a Galentine's Day gift? I've rounded up my favorite gifts to give to your best friends, as well as a couple easy, meaningful DIYs you can create with your own two hands. 


    To Buy

    Galentine Gifts to Buy or DIY

    1. Constellation Cross Stitch. Your celestial BFF will love their star sign embroidered in this sweet hoop. $30 from Cristina Makes Whimsey (I have zero experience with crochet, but I imagine this gift is totally DIYable).

    2. Stars Hollow Digital Print. Honor your friendship and your devotion to Gilmore Girls with this digital downloadable print. $10 from Tipsy River

    3. Badass Necklace. If your bestie is a badass (she is), she needs this necklace. We carried these in our last Niche pop-up and they sold out. I wear mine every day and its like donning a scripty superpower. $50 from Kris Nations

    4. Magical Unicorn Candle. No Galentine's Day is complete without a quote from its Parks and Recreation founder, Leslie Knope. $28 from Let's Put a Bird On It.

    5. Sparkly Sparkling Wine. You can't go wrong with wine. You can't go wrong with glitter. Combine the two and you've stumbled upon the perfect gift. $59 from One Hope Wine


    Galentine Gifts to Buy or DIY

    6. Bracelets for Your Tribe. Ampersands forevermore. $22 each from Mae Bee Jewelry

    7. Bling Ring. Treat her to a gemstone cocktail ring that sparkles. $36.99 from Amazon

    8. Custom Portrait. A drawing of your squad says it all. $59-119 for a drawing from Luv First Sight.

    9. Thelma & Louise Tees. Friends 'til the end. $27.99 for a pair of tanks from Ninja Tees.  

    10. Lucky Necklaces. A gift of good wishes and luck is the perfect galentine, because we all do better when we all do better. $9.99 for a pair of lucky charms from Urban Outfitters.


    Galentine Gifts to Buy or DIY

    11. Gold Heart Tumbler. A sweet reminder to stay hydrated. $12.99 from Target

    12. Slay Print. #slay #allday. $4 from Planeta444.

    13. BFF Mugs. Simple, bold graphics for your best gal pal. $22 for a set from Shop Bando. 

    14. In the Company of Women. This book, by Grace Bonney, is full of inspirational stories of dreamers and visionaries. $22.48 from Amazon.

    15. Lips Print. Gift your best friend a bunch of Xs with this print. $20 from Amazon.


    To DIY

    Galentine Gifts to Buy or DIY

    1. Stamped Leather Bracelets. Your favorite saying, your best inside joke, on your wrist. 

    2. DIY Foodie Friendship Bracelets. Tiny foodie representations of big friendship. 

    3. DIY Lip Gloss. Plump lips, simple ingredients. 

    4. Best Friend Art. BF art for your BFF.

    5. Girl Boss Plaques. This tutorial is for gift tags, but these could easily become wall plaques for the ones who run the world. 


    Galentine Gifts to Buy or DIY

    6. Stamped Air Dry Bowls. Send a message to your dear ones. 

    7. DIY Colorblock Necklaces. A pair of necklaces for you and your pal. 

    8. Hot Sauce Bag. The perfect project to DIY for your Beyonce-loving friend.

    9. My Life Would 'Succ' Without You. Because life is better with your bestie in it.

    10. A Bunch of Balloons. A happy surprise for one lucky friend. 


    Galentine Gifts to Buy or DIY

    11. Homemade Heart Gummies. Satisfy her sweet tooth with these homemade treats. 

    12. Hand Warmers. Handmade with love.

    13. Mini Bouquets. Flowers are automatic day brighteners. 

    14. Galentine Coloring Book.Make your bestie a coloring book with these printable sheets and a set of markers. 

    15. Enamel Pins. 90s throwback for the friend you've had forever. 

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    DIY 'Perfect Pair' Galentine's Day Mugs for your Best Friend

    We're fully on board with Galentine's Day and we whipped up a sweet and simple DIY project you can complete in a matter of hours. Start brainstorming nicknames for your dynamic duo, your terrific trio, and your fantastic foursome, because once you start this project, you won't want to stop.

     Inspired by these tees, I put together a set of hand painted mugs to treat my best friend.

    PB&J Best Friend Tees
    Photo by Mattie Krall for Champagne & Macaroons 

    All you need is a special set of paints, some mugs, and about an hour. Here's how you can make a set of your own!


    DIY stenciled mugs for Valentine's day present.



    Wash and thoroughly dry your mugs. 


    Cut around the outline of each letter and remove the actual letter so you're left with a stenciled outline. To prevent the stencil from permanently sticking to your mug, press it against a clean scrap of fabric to make it less tacky.


    Place the stenciled letters on your mug in a straight line. You can use a strip of washi tape to keep your line straight.



    Brainstorm a list of nicknames to put on your mug. Here are some of our favorites:


    • Bacon + Eggs
    • Thelma + Louise
    • Pen + Paper
    • Donut + Coffee
    • Bread + Butter
    • Beyonce + Kelly + Michelle
    • Monica + Rachel + Phoebe
    • North + South + East + West

    Apply the stencil stickers to your mug.


    Fill a round foam brush (spouncer) with paint and dab it on your stenciled letters. 



    While your paint is still wet, carefully remove the stickers from your mug and do any touch-ups with a Q-tip.


    Bake the mugs at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Once baked, let the mugs cool in the oven. Some people report that this paint is dishwasher-safe, but hand washing is what the manufacturer recommends.


    A note about safety. Although this enamel is specifically designed for ceramic and glassware, the manufacturer recommends your mouth not come into contact with the enamel. We recommend the same. 

    That's it! Doesn't the simplicity of this project and the satisfaction you feel make you want to repeat steps 1-6 at least a dozen more times?


    DIY Peanut Butter + Jelly Best Friend Mugs for Galentine's Day

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    DIY quotable bouquets
    Even if Valentine's Day isn't your thing, flowers should be. And if Valentine's Day is your thing (it's definitely mine), then you're going to love this DIY project. We put together a simple way to present your blossoms to your boo, your bestie, or your bae. And, we've added a few free! printable! adornments you can add to your bouquet. Read on to find out how.




    Valentine's Day wrapped bouquet printable


    • Flowers - Pick your favorites! We chose tulips, spray roses, and ranunculus
    • Brown kraft paper or paint masking paper- It's classic and versatile and stunning with ribbon (are you humming the line, Brown paper packages, tied up with string. These are a few of my favorite things...? I am!)
    • Mylar tissue paper
    • Ribbon and baker's twine
    • Scissors + washi tape
    • Optional: If you want to dress up your kraft paper, grab some paints and a brush and paint the town (brown?) red. We did quick Xs and Os, lips, and hearts.
    • Printable tags - These are your final touch!  Download the PDF here!


    Make pretty patterns on your brown craft paper

    Add a few simple designs to your brown kraft paper. I did Xs & Os, lips, hearts, and arrows using acrylic craft paint.



    Trim the paper to clean up any ragged edges.

    Ready to wrap your bouquets

    Trip your kraft paper to size. You'll only need about a foot for a small bouquet like the ones I made.


    Line your kraft paper with mylar and wrap your bunch. Don't worry about making it look perfect. A simple wrap that's tighter at the bottom and more open at the top looks great.

    Tie your bouquets

    Wrap the bouquest in mylar


    Add a ribbon to the outside of your wrapped bouquet. 

    Finish the bouquet with a ribbon



    Print out the free PDF bouquet tags and cut them to size. Attach tags to your bundle with a strip of washi tape.

    hand painted wrapped Valentine's bouquest

    Valentine's bouquest

    Quote bouquet

    Quote bouquet




    What are your favorite Valentine's Day DIY projects?

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    50 Ways to Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs

    Spring has sprung and Easter egg season is here! Gone are the days of simply dropping tablets into water and vinegar and plastic-wrapping your eggs. Though there's nothing wrong with the classic method, the sky is really the limit when it comes to egg decorating, and DIYing a dozen has never been easier or more beautiful. We've rounded up fifty of the best DIY egg-dyeing and decorating projects to inspire you!


    Black and white line drawn eggs
    Alice + Lois

    1. Mudcloth Eggs: These eggs are modern, minimal, and so stunning. 


    dyed robin's eggs
    Honestly Yum

    2. Dyed Robin Eggs: Dyed with cabbage and flecked with edible gold dust, these eggs are safe to eat in addition to being gorgeous.


    super hero tattooed eggs
    Brit + Co.

    3. Tattooed Eggs: Ink those eggs! These easy egg tattoos go on in just thirty seconds, and look crisp as can be.

    floral watercolor eggs
    Dream A Little Bigger

    4. Watercolor Floral Eggs: Food coloring + Paintbrush + Sharpie + (Artistry) = These gorgeous eggs that make me think of Rifle Paper Co. flowers!


    gold leaf eggs
    She Knows

    5. Gold Leaf Eggs: They're delicate and timeless.


    easter eggs with botanical illustrations
    The House That Lars Built

    6. Botanical Eggs: Moody eggs so beautiful that I want to quit my day job and craft them for a living. 

    punny typography eggs
    Lovely Indeed

    7. Typography Eggs: #springy #punny #eggs


    modge podged foliage on easter eggs
    Say Yes

    8. Foliage Eggs: You can put all the spring flowers on your eggs!


    pinneaple egg decoration
    Studio DIY

    9. Pineapple Egg: Transform your egg into fruit!


    indigo eggs
    Alice + Lois

    10. Indigo Eggs: These are my very favorite eggs on the list, and they're easy to make! And guess what? You can marble with shaving cream too!


    pantone color swatch eggs
    How About Orange

    11. Pantone Eggs: Organize those eggs by color!


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye & Decorate Easter Eggs
    Delia Creates

    12. Southwestern Eggs: It doesn't get much better than a blooming cactus. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye & Decorate Your Easter Eggs
    The Crafted Life

    13. Ombre Eggs: Easter eggs with just the right amount of color and shading. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye & Decorate Easter Eggs
    Our Best Bites

    14. Silk Tie Eggs: I just learned that you can color an egg using a silk tie! Mind exploded!

    The 50 Best Ways to Dye + Decorate Easter Eggs
    Earnest Home Co. 

    15. Black & White Eggs: Classic colors + classic design.


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye & Decorate Easter Eggs
    Alisa Burke

    16. Eggs a Dozen Ways: Using a variety of everyday materials, you can create a special dozen. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye + Decorate Easter Eggs
    Sugar + Charm

    17.Mosaic Eggs: A beautiful resolution to the Humpty Dumpty situation.


    The 50 Best Ways to Decorate + Dye Easter Eggs

    18. Star Sign Eggs: What's your sign? Turn your Easter into a horological experience by hand-painting astrological signs onto those mini-orbs.


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye + Decorate Easter Eggs
    Oh Joy!

    19. Dip Dyed Eggs: Half-egg, half-neon! All geometric fun.


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs
    The Merry Thought

    20. Moss Eggs: Delicate spring grass glued on an egg. These are cool, and, for some reason, also slightly weird to me.


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye & Decorate Easter Eggs
    Squirrelly Minds

    21. Paint Splatter Eggs: It doesn't get much easier than splattering paint on an egg. Jackson Pollock would approve.


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye + Decorate Eggs
    Brit + Co.

    22. Galaxy Eggs: These eggs are out of this world.

    The 50 Best Ways to Dye + Decorate Easter Eggs
    Paper & Stitch

    23. Pink Moon Eggs: Nick Drake-style Easter eggs for the emo among us. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye + Decorate Easter Eggs
    Bitte Shop

    24. Easter Bunny Eggs: Sweet bunny eggs asleep in their cozy egg onesies. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye & Decorate Easter Eggs
    Let's Mingle Blog

    25. Sprinkle Eggs: These confetti eggs are ready to party! Super easy to make, they bring lots of colorful fun.


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye + Decorate Easter Eggs
    We Are Scout

    26. Chalkboard Eggs: Create a new design every day with this clever idea. Now you just need to learn to draw those cute bunnies!


    The 50 Best Ways to Decorate and Dye Easter Eggs
    Paper & Stitch

    27. Artist Egg: Portrait of an artist as a young egg. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye & Decorate Easter Eggs
    Lovely Indeed

    28. Washi Tape Eggs: Tiny taped shapes turn these plain white ovoids into funky fun.


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye + Decorate Easter Eggs
    The Proper Blog

    29. His & Her Eggs: Lips and a moustache are the only disguise these eggs wear.


    The 50 Best Ways to Decorate & Dye Easter Eggs
    Sarah Hearts

    30. Monogrammed Eggs: Your initials or an Easter greeting on the incredible, edible egg. Happy typography for the win!


    The 50 Best Ways to Decorate and Dye Easter Eggs
    Oh So Beautiful Paper

    31. Tropical Leaf Eggs: A jungle of boho styling makes these botanical Easter Eggs extra special.


    The 50 Best Ways to Decorate and Dye Easter Eggs
    Brit + Co.

    32. Pointillism Eggs: Dotty designs using any shape you choose. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Decorate & Dye Easter Eggs
    Martha Stewart

    33. Lace-Dipped Eggs: Tightly wrap eggs in lace before they take the dip-dye plunge. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Decorate and Dye Easter Eggs
    Live Well Travel Often

    34. Penned Eggs: White pen + Brown egg = Delicate designs. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Your Easter Eggs
    Oh Happy Day

    35. Calligraphied Eggs: Beautiful script for all your Easter wishes.


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye & Decorate Easter Eggs
    Oh So Beautiful Paper

    36. Pink and Gold Mist Eggs: A hint of pink, a dash of gold. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs
    Urban Comfort

    37. Striped Eggs. A super-slick way to stripe your eggs. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs
    Mom Spark

    38. Quilted Eggs: Patches of dye and painted stitches create eggs that are practically cozy.


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs
    A Subtle Revelry

    39. Silly Face Eggs: Quirky, colorful eggs with abstract expressions.


    The 50 Best Ways to Decorate and Dye Easter Eggs
    My Melodrama

    40. Decoupage Eggs: Use these tropical images to deck those eggs.


    The 50 Best Ways to Decorate and Dye Easter Eggs
    Design Improvised

    41. Stenciled Eggs: Using tape and the shapes of your choosing, you can create patterns to your heart's content. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs
    Oh Joy!

    42. Confetti Eggs: Bring the party to your ovoids. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs.
    Tera Janelle

    43. Marbled Gold Eggs: Using grape juice and paint you can create a marbled dozen.


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs

    44. Nylon Floral Eggs: Beautiful designs using nature and netting. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs
    Super Make It

    45. Highlighter Pen Eggs: Achieve a watercolor look with a set of highlighter markers.


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs
    Delineate Your Dwellig

    46. Fruit & Veggie Stamped Eggs: The tiniest produce on display.


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs
    The Inspired Room

    47. Marker Colored Eggs: Use markers to make a set of colorful spring eggs. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs
    The Casual Craftlete

    48. Paper Napkin Eggs: These paper napkin eggs remind me of classic Scandinavian design and they are a piece of cake to make. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Eggs
    Sugar & Charm

    49. Gradient Eggs: Put your dozen in a row and gradually deepen the color. 


    The 50 Best Ways to Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs

    50. Rubber Cement Eggs: You can make cool shapes and swirls using a double-dye process and rubber cement. 


    Whew! We made it! Fifty gorgeous, completely DIYable Easter eggs for you to decorate this spring. Now, hop to it!







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    We say it every year – National Painting Week is our favorite week of the year, because the power of paint is never ending. Each year, Sherwin-Williams puts out the call to bloggers all over the country to refresh a space, change its perspective, or add more emotion through the transformative power of paint. Last year, we embarked on a community-based project, making over our beloved neighborhood preschool.

    It was so fun and rewarding that we decided to stick with the theme of community engagement. This year, we partnered with our neighborhood elementary school – a public school we treasure and believe in wholeheartedly – to create an unforgettable painting project that we integrated into our city-wide Art Crawl. 

    Why Is Curbly Black and White Today? 
    Oh, you noticed that, did you? Good! That's the point. Today, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Curbly is 'donating' all the color on our home page, and in return, Sherwin-Williams will donate 5,000 square feet of paint to community non-profits. In fact, Sherwin-Williams is donating thousands of gallons of paint during National Painting Week and throughout the year for everyone who gets involved!

    Learn more at, or by following #SWPaintingWeek on social media.


    We'll be back next week with the full reveal of this year's #SWPaintingWeek project, but in the meantime, here's a sneak peek at what's to come...

    Be sure to check back next week to see our full project, along with those of our friends (like Brit+Co, Apartment Therapy, and Vintage Revivals). While you're waiting, take a look at two of our favorite National Painting Week projects from the last few years ...

    Let the Children Play - A Nursery School Makeover
    NPW 2016: Nursery School Makeover


    Our National Painting Week Front Porch Makeover
    NPW 2015: Curbly House Porch Makeover


    For more than 150 years, Sherwin-Williams has been an industry leader in the development of technologically advanced paint and coatings. Sherwin-Williams is dedicated to supporting both do-it-yourselfers and painting professionals with exceptional products and expert, personalized service. Join Sherwin-Williams on  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and  Instagram.


    Sponsored by Sherwin-Williams, who provided the paint and funding for this project. We love this brand and the opportunities that come from our partnership with them. 

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    Curbly living room makeover with Shaw Floors

    I have some pretty huge professional goals this year, and one of them is about redirecting the Curbly ship into new waters. Specifically, our whole team is committed to pouring all we have into creating original content (projects, roundups, and tutorials) and taking on more room makeovers. I believe in the power of transformation, so I'm committing myself to it.

    We're beginning this theme of transformation by revealing a little secret: for the past few weeks, we've preparing to sell our old house! You guys: I'm so excited about this! This house was our first home (the original Curbly House, which we'd been using as a vacation rental); it's the home where we brought our newborn children, and interestingly, it's the one we never talked much about. Today I want to give a little background of the house, as well as our efforts to get it in tip-top shape for whomever lives there next.

    This post is in partnership with Shaw Floors, makers of the Life Happens line of carpet. This carpet has a fully waterproof backing (seriously, they even built a swimming pool out of it), and incredible stain resistance, all the way down to the bottom of the yarn.  


    How Did We Get Here?

    Bruno bought this house in 2003, at the age of 21, when we had just started dating. Pause to think about that for a minute. He was a baby, looking for housing with a group of college friends, and there wasn't much available. So, his smart, generous father helped him buy his first house. What happened next wasn't necessarily pretty, but it was pretty smart. Bruno moved into a quiet, residential neighborhood, blocks from the University of Minnesota, with a couple good friends. I'm sure the neighbors were thrilled to welcome these young bucks onto their quaint street!

    Curbly  Living Room Before
    Can you believe this is not a true, original 'before' photo? I painted a room goldenrod and used olive green as an accent color. I was 23 years old. I was fairly obsessed with the house in the 'The Royal Tenenbaums", and committed to painting each room a bold color. I beg your forgiveness.


    The Royal Tenenbaums' Home Interior
    My Inspiration, The Tenenbaum House
    Production Design: David Wasco, Art Direction: Carl Sprague
    Photo from Apartment Therapy


    As roommates graduated and began moving out, I moved in. The house became considerably cleaner (with fewer musical instruments lying around), and we began tackling a long list of improvements. That included lots of painting, yard work, wood refinishing and several sewage-relatedprojects.

    Curbly  Living Room Before
    I'm not sure 'Sea Blue' is an improvement over goldenrod, but our new sofa, chair, and room orientation sure were. This picture was taken approximately 6-months after the last one, so there's hope my tastes were improving.


    We got married in 2008, and had our little girl in 2009. After both of these life-altering events, we returned to our cozy little house.

    Curbly House  Before
    Things are starting to look up in this photo. A toned-down paint color, an attempt at styling cavernous open-shelving. If you ignore the highwater curtains, there's a glimmer of promise.


    Curbly  Living Room Before
    Painting the fireplace was a stroke of genius. Painstaking and an enormous task, but worth the toil.


    When our daughter was a few months old, we remodeled the kitchen and bathroom, and added radiant heat to the living room.

    Kitchen Before

    Kitchen After



    ... after.


    In 2012 we had our son, bought a new house (the Curbly House), and in a series of insane decisions, moved out when he was just 10 days old. Adding to the craziness, instead of putting the old house on the market, we decided to keep it as a rental (becoming landlords, because we lost our ever-loving minds and seemed to believe we didn't have enough on our plates).

    Curbly House living room before

    Before ...

    ... after.


    In 2016, after a series of wonderful tenants, we decided to try something new - redoing the house (hello, content!) and briefly trying our hands at managing the house as a vacation rental. We began by painting the exterior, to make it more charming and welcoming, and then set out to do a series of improvements, beginning with the living room.

    Newly Painted Exterior - Poised Taupe


    Why sell it now?

    Great question! We've had wonderful tenants, and never had any problem renting the house. But renting out a house you've lived in is a strange thing, because the house automatically stops feeling like your own. Plus, having long-term tenants in there makes it hard to get improvements done. Knowing the house was aging, and due for a series of upgrades, we decided to take a break from leasing it so we could get them done. In the process, the house began to feel like ours again. We were ready to put work into it and document its new iteration.

    We came to the conclusion that it was time to hand off this house to another family, and we wanted to leave it in the best condition possible before we put it on the market. So we began thinking about how to make our space special and functional.

    While focusing on the aesthetics is all well and good, we knew we also had to come up with an intentional, practical, functional design. We wanted durable paint finishes on the walls, dependable furniture and decorations (we wanted to list the home fully staged), and new, traffic-friendly carpet in the living room.

    That's why we were thrilled to partner with Shaw Floors for this project. They have a stunning line of carpet called Life Happens, which has a LifeGuard waterproof backing and stain and soil protection that keeps the carpet fresh and clean. Not only are the carpets designs and colors beautiful, but they're also designed for heavy traffic, eliminate odors, and make it easy to maintain a healthier, cleaner space. Perfect for a family home!

    Just a few of the options in the Life Happens carpet line from Shaw Floors.


    What makes a good real estate listing?

    When we made the decision to sell, we began thinking about our top priorities and the things that made our first home a good candidate. Here are some of our reasons:


    • Great location. Our house is nicely located close to the University of Minnesota, the Luther Seminary, and it's equidistant to both downtowns (Saint Paul and Minneapolis). Being close to public transportation is also a big advantage. Plus it's in a quiet, lovely residential neighborhood.
    • An open floor plan. Our house naturally has a fairly open floor plan. We wanted to be sure we choose beautiful, durable, cozy flooring for these rooms. We initially looked into adding hardwood flooring throughout, but it became clear that carpeting was far more cost-effective, especially when we knew we could use the Life Happens line, which is heavy-duty, durable, and beautiful.
    • Accessible and welcoming. Our house has a naturally calm and cozy feeling, and we wanted to embrace that. A fussy house that feels like a museum is impractical and intimidating. We knew we wanted to bring in a combination of vintage and new, quality furniture, comfortable beds, and decor that felt intentional and relaxing. Not pristine and haughty.
    • Well cared for. One thing I've learned over the years is that when you love your space and take care of it, that practice is contagious. People are drawn to beauty, and they want to preserve it. When your space is thoughtful and intentional, others want to take part in it. That's a beautiful thing.
    • Loved and lived in. I also have to admit right here that I love putzing with small details. I love the thins that make a space feel more home-like: flowers, candles, books all over the place, blankets, and cozy bedding. I'm a sucker for every inch of it, and I think people walking through our home will notice and appreciate that.

    So, there you have it. A full history of the house and a plan for where we're headed. Next week, we'll delve into the process of selecting a carpet, which in our case, set the palette for the room's complete transformation. We'll get into the design choices we considered, and give you a few peeks inside the evolving room.



    This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shaw Floors. The opinions and text are all mine.

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    design choices for living room makeover

    Yesterday we told you about our plans to make over our old house before we put it on the market, and today I'm back to walk you through our design process. As far as I'm concerned, the design process is the stuff dreams are made of - you get to go wild with dreams and possibility. In fact, you have an obligation to do so.

    While I always have to scale back (hello, budget), and redefine my dreams, I think examining the process is worthwhile. Have a look at the ideas we considered in bringing this room into all its glory.


    We are happy to partner with Shaw Floors on this makeover project. They have a beautiful line of carpet called Life Happens, which has a LifeGuard waterproof backing that keeps all liquids above the surface so you have time to clean them completely. It also features Shaw's R2X Stain & Soil Protection System which prevents stains and soils. It keeps the carpet fresh and clean, which is tremendously important in a vacation home that's designed to have people moving through it.


    My first step in designing is always searching for inspiration. I love Pinterest for this process because I can save all my favorites in one place. In the case of this living room I knew I wanted to go for a mid-century look, with lots of neutrals: warm whites, gray, natural wood tones, and black and blue (Is blue a neutral? I say yes!).


    Curbly BnB Pinterest Board


    Here's a closer look at some of the images I saved:

    Curbly Living Room Inspiration
    Photo by Belathee Photography for Domino


    Shaw Carpet
    Photo: Shaw LifeHappens Carpet Color: Opulence


    Curbly  Living Room Inspiration
    Image: The Tao of Dana via The Decorista


    Curbly  Living Room Inspiration
    Photo by Jenna Peffley for My Domaine


    Curbly  Living Room Inspiration
    Photo by Claire Esparros for My Domaine 


    And here are some of the mood boards I put together based on the color palettes, pieces, and looks we were going for:

    Living Room Inspiration Board for Curbly


    Living Room Inspiration Board for Curbly

    Do you see those carpet and paint swatches? We'll let you know all about the specific colors we chose tomorrow, but those are real live swatches for you to feast your eyes on. They are a perfect pair, creating a neutral canvas for a relaxed, mid-century vibe.

    I like to start out my design process from the floor up. In most cases, the floor is a design element you won't be able to change easily, so it's important to get it right. This living room was already carpeted (with no hardwood underneath), so we knew we'd be doing a wall-to-wall carpet. New hardwood just wasn't in our budget, and with this room having so many exposed windows, it needed something to keep it warm and cozy in the winter months. 

    I can picture the future owners relaxing in this room, enjoying the soft carpet, and feeling right at home! And since the Shaw LifeHappens carpet is super durable and stain resistant, they won't have to worry too much about tipping over the odd glass of wine or sippy-cup now and again. 

    After selecting a carpet pattern and color we liked, we realized we had to re-paint. Although we liked the existing color, it was just too close to the new carpet color, and we wanted something brighter.

    The next big design decision centered around the sofa. We knew we wanted a sectional for cozy seating. The current orientation of the room wasn't functional, with the sofa so far away from the television. Our sofa selection ended up influencing the entire orientation of the room, which was a huge (and happy) surprise.

    Let me wax poetic about the sofa we ended up choosing, because I am in love with it. The color is so rich, bold, and beautiful. It has enviable lines and tufting. The shape will work beautifully in the room and help give it an intentional orientation (that has been a real struggle with the competition between the wall of windows and fireplace focal points).

    Now we're down to the nitty-gritty; wall art, styling items, and a few little tweaks (like moving the curtains up four inches). As with any room makeover, there's always more to do than you first plan for. But I believe that once potential buyers see the new living room photos in the listing, the extra effort will be worth it. 

    Check back tomorrow to see the final reveal ... it's not going to disappoint!


    This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shaw Floors. The opinions and text are all mine.


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    Curbly living room reveal. Shaw LifeHappens carpet.

    The carpet is down. The furniture is in. The original Curbly House is officially on the market! We spent the last few weeks putting in long hours to get the living room (and the rest of the house) ready for showings, and we're excited to share the reveal with you today! Read on to see how we designed a cozy living space that will (hopefully) help us sell the house quickly to a lucky new family who will enjoy it for years!


    This makeover was sponsored by Shaw and their Life Happens line of stain-resistant carpet. The compensation we receive is used to buy styling materials, pay for photography and video editing, and support the entire Curbly team. Sponsored posts allow us to continue producing the best-quality, free content that we can on Curbly. Thanks for supporting our partners, and, in turn, supporting us.

    Before we get into all the details of the reveal, let's take a peek at where we started. The room began here:

    As you can see, the room always had really good light. Those huge picture windows are a gift. But for some reason, in this first iteration, we decided to smear pea-green paint all over the place. And top off the whole aesthetic with a carefully-placed bass guitar. I'm actually weirdly fascinated by this picture. It's a snapshot of a different time in our lives, when things were much different and most meals were Ramen based.

    Months later, we we did this:

    Woot! Take that, things that make sense! Here are some tiny mirrors above the fireplace, so you can scorch your face while fixing your hair! Want some neon blue walls? I got neon blue walls. On sale. C'mon. Half price! Evidently, these are the clever things you do when you're in college, working full time, and trying to design a space on a budget that feels like a hybrid between Trading Spaces and The Royal Tenenbaums. 

    Moving on, we did this:

    Which is noticeably better, despite the way-too-short-curtains. Clearly we had a baby around this time. Clearly the baby was on vacation or something, because otherwise the living room would not look this clean.

    Now what?

    When we decided to sell this home, we knew we wanted to create a space that was carefully designed, welcoming, and resilient. So we swapped out the old carpet, replacing it with Shaw's Life Happens line, which has a waterproof backing that keeps 100% of spills or accidents above the surface so that they can be completely cleaned and removed. It also features Shaw's R2X Stain & Soil Protection.  It's the perfect choice for a space that will have a lot of traffic, but still needs to look great. We went with the 'No Worries' pattern in the color 'Opulence'; it has a really soft, rich texture that's perfect for bare feet.

    Then we re-painted, partly because we wanted a color that worked better with the carpet, and also because a fresh coat of paint always makes a room look good. We went with our favorite paint on the market, Sherwin-Williams Emerald paint, in a color called Creamy (SW 7012). It offsets the gray in the carpet without adding green or yellow undertones. 


    Next came my favorite part of every room makeover: shopping! We made a trip to some of our favorite vintage stores in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and came away with a few pieces that I think really make the room work. One of my room makeover rules is: you gotta have some old stuff (I know, I know, it needs better wording). But seriously, it's hard to make a new room feel lived-in and comfortable when everything is new. Even a few small vintage pieces will help set the right tone.

    After adding new carpet, new paint, new furniture, and several new pieces we finally created a complete, cohesive room. Have a look!





    Product list




    This post is sponsored by Shaw. All opinions are mine alone. Thanks for supporting that brands that make Curbly possible!


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    This year for Sherwin-Williams National Painting Week, we tackled a community-based art project that exceeded all our expectations. We combined our favorite paint colors, our favorite community, and our favorite group of kids to create a Kids' Art Crawl! We wanted to get kids thinking about the role of art in their community, and make them feel special by putting their artwork up in a real gallery setting. It was sweet and moving, and we can't wait to tell you all about it. 


    When Bruno and I were first looking to buy a house together, we were squarely split between living in my childhood neighborhood or his. Both St. Paul 'hoods were full of charm, great schools, vibrant communities, and they held our happiest childhood memories. In the end, we found the right house at the right price in his neighborhood. So that's where we landed.

    Curbly House exterior makeover - Poised Taupe paint color

    Years later, with the birth of our children, and their launch into our neighborhood schools (both preschool and elementary), we were given the greatest, most unexpected gift of all - the gift of natural kinship. We are surrounded by loving neighbors who have become some of our most treasured friends. We have a network of people we love and a true community, and we attribute it to our beloved schools.

    Last year, to celebrate a special place in our neighborhood we teamed up with Sherwin-Williams to make over the gym in our son's nursery school. Here's a refresh of the project - it remains one of our favorites:

    Preschool Gym Makeover - National Painting Week
    Our National Painting Week Project 2016 - A Preschool Gym Makeover


    This year, in line with the theme of community, we wanted to do something for another school in our area that we treasure: St. Anthony Park Elementary. With the support of the brave and amazing second grade teachers, we embarked on the ambitious project of having 100 second-graders create a work of art.

    Let me digress for a moment to highlight our amazing teachers. It was clear from day one of second grade that we hit the lottery this year. Our Ayla has a once-in-a-lifetime teacher. I tell her that everyday, not because I want to set her up for a life of disappointment, but because I want her to soak it up and carry it with her forever.

    She believes Ms. Krider has hung the moon, and I believe it too. She loves our girl, and every other child in her classroom. And that's where magical teachers begin: from a place of love. You see it and you feel it, and the world is a better place because of teachers like this. 

    With this wonderful school's support, we assembled all 100 second graders together to complete a painting project based on the theme of community. Kudos to those amazing teachers for their generous offer of time and open-mindedness as we talked to the children about what makes a community and then set them free to fill a canvas full of their ideas. It was a magical couple of hours with lots of conversation, creativity, and a true sense of togetherness. The children were surrounded by their beloved teachers, and we had a terrific team of parent volunteers join us as we painted and created this project.

    Meanwhile, at Curbly HQ, a different kind of art project was going down. To help set the tone of our art show, M.E. designed and painted a giant mural for us to display in the space. It boasts our motto: Love Where You Live, and our Curbly colors (all matched to Sherwin-Williams paint colors, holla!). It is surely the most joyful thing we've ever laid eyes on.

    We projected the design onto the wall, and Bruno and M.E. hand painted it using Sherwin-Williams Emerald Interior Latex paint in the following colors:

    The mural was a ton of work, but seeing it some together was thrilling. Having really high-quality paint, like Emerald, was invaluable. Why? Because the last thing you want is thin paint that doesn't cover well, or worse, drippy paint that ruins your design. The Emerald line of paint is super-thick (almost buttery ... if you can say that about paint), and was a cinch to paint with.

    Two weeks later, we transformed our St. Paul studio into an art gallery, and displayed all the paintings as part of the St. Paul Art Crawl. We invited the children and their families to join us for a reception and the whole experience was like a big warm hug from your favorite grandma. Children arrived with their parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends. Neighbors came by. Teachers too. It was the perfect culmination of a very special project.


    You can't have an art show without refreshments, so we went kid-appropriate with cookies, popcorn, candy, and juice boxes. We served everything up on lovely party wares from Pottery Barn:

    Beverage Buckets: Bleeker Party Bucket 

    Marble Platter: Marble and Copper Platter

    Marbelized Serving Plates: Marbleized Serve Platters 

    Frame: Floating Wood Gallery Frame 




    This post is sponsored by Sherwin-Williams and Pottery Barn, but all opinions are mine alone. We're grateful to these companies for partnering with us on projects that support children and art in the schools, and we unreservedly love using their products. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Curbly possible.



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    Sponsored by smartpond

    My parents basically live in their backyard. It's large and lovely, with carefully tended flower gardens, enviable vegetable beds, and fruit trees galore. It's a take-your-breath-away kind of space you'd never expect when you look at their quiet suburban street. But when you enter the backyard, you feel the magic. 

    One of the last items on their landscaping to-do list was to add a water feature. Last summer my dad built a three-season gazebo (they lovingly call it the "tea house", a reference to the Japanese tea house it's modeled after). And they've been slowly plugging away at pages and pages of garden plans. Those plans have always had a space marked 'pond', but the initial bids they received for putting one in seemed crazy (one was over $15,000!). So, Bruno and I offered to help them make their pond dreams a reality buy DIY-ing one with the help of a pond building components fromsmartpond.

    Here's the thing: a backyard pond is an extremely DIY-able project, and the cost doesn't even approach quintuple digits. Sure, you can make it as fancy as you want, but at the end of the day, the hardest part is just digging the hole in the ground. The smartpond product line carries everything you need to get your pond started: a lightweight, puncture-resistant reinforced-mesh liner, a professional-grade pump, tubing, filtration, and even lights. 

    Here's how we helped my parents build a backyard water feature that really adds the finishing touch to their amazing outdoor experience:


    Thinking of DIYing your own pond? Here are some of the benefits:

    1. The sound! The sound of rippling water will soothe your soul. This was a top priority for my parents and the reason they placed it in close proximity to the gazebo.

    2. They're beautiful! A pond adds visual interest to any yard. It helps break up gardens and adds dimension and texture. The rocks and stones that line the pond reflect strength and weight, offering a beautiful balance to the delicate greenery that surrounds.

    3. They're easy to care for! Aside from periodically cleaning the pump (a straightforward process), there's really not much to do. You never have to mow or weed a pond! They can also help you take care of wasted space issues in the yard. If you have a patch of yard where nothing grows, or an awkward section of yard that you want to hide, a pond is a gorgeous solution.

    4. They're great for wildlife. You can choose to add fish to your pond, but even if you don't, the water will be a haven for birds, frogs, dragonflies and other small creatures. 



    Mark out the location of your water feature. We used stakes and spray paint, but you can use any method that works for you (a garden hose, string, etc.)


    Start digging! The depth of the hole you'll dig depends a bit on your preferences. If you'll be adding a fountain or waterfall, you'll need to be sure you create enough of a water reservoir for the pump to operate efficiently. A common error is building the pond too small, or too shallow. Generally speaking, it's better to err on the side of greater depth. We might have gone a little overboard, digging ours 2.5 feet deep, but we knew we'd be building a cool fountain, and we wanted to make sure the pump had plenty of water to move through it.


    Level the pond hole, and level the edges of the pond. Use some of the excavated dirt to build up the edges so that they're higher than the surrounding area. Pack everything down (using a tamper or by just walking around on it). Next, add a two-inch-thick layer of leveling sand (basically playground sand) to the bottom of the pond. This will level the base and provide some added protection for the pond liner. 


    Install the pond liner. This is easy! Just cut it to size (make sure to leave some extra), and lay it in the hole. You can hold it down around the edges with rocks. 



    Here's where our pond gets a little more complicated than the usual one. If you're just building a simple pond, you can probably skip this step. We added a platform built out of cinder blocks and rigid plastic garden edging. Here's why: we wanted to build a stacked stone fountain protruding from the middle of the water feature, and that fountain would require a big water reservoir to draw from. But we wanted the pond itself to be quite shallow and filled with river rocks. So, to avoid having to fill the entire 2.5-foot-deep hole with rocks, we created a 'faux-bottom' for the river rocks to sit on. Beneath the platform, there's lots of water to power the fountain. 



    Add stones to the pond. In most cases, this means adding aesthetically-pleasing rocks and stones to the pond and the edges of the pond to hide the liner and integrate the whole water feature with its surroundings. 

    In our case, we first had to build our fountain! So we dry-stacked New York Bluestone stones into a cylinder, with a copper pipe running up the center. To top it off, we had a local stone cutter fabricate a 39-inch diameter capstone out of another slab of bluestone. The water runs up the middle of the cylinder and out over the capstone, and then down the sides.

    Mind you: this was just an additional step my parents wanted to take (and were happy to pay extra for). If you wanted to complete a project like this without using the capstone, you could simply continue arranging stones to top off the cylinder, or, better yet, use one of smartpond's fountain nozzles to spread the water out over the edges.


    Add the lights, fill the pond, and turn on the pump!


    Here's how it turned out:


    Here's a night shot, so you can see how great the fountain looks when lit up (photo: Mike Lacy)


    This post is sponsored by smartpond. Thanks for supporting the brands that help make Curbly possible (or, should I say, "pond-sible"?). Sorry.



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    Design Inspiration for the Curbly House 2017

    Earlier this week we told you all about our new Curbly House makeover. A house we're so excited to take on, get to know, make beautiful, and then put on the market again (furnished and polished and perfect). 

    More than just a flip

    While this project is, by definition, a flip, I view it as a lot more than that. When we're finished with it, I want it to have a cohesive design and a story. I don't want it to feel cookie-cutter, or like blank slate. Plus, this house is going to be special, because we're going to list it for sale fully designed and furnished! That means whoever buys it will get to keep all the great furnishings and decor we put into it (if they want to).

    I want a family to walk through this home, once it's finished, and see themselves in it (and the ways they'll make their own mark on it). So, maybe it's more like matchmaking than flipping. And I can be the Patty Stanger of the house design world! (Hey, HGTV, call me!) 

    A new design direction (with a hint of the old)

    I'm over the moon about this house, because design-wise, it's going to push us in a very different direction. A lot of the design I've done on Curbly leans toward Mid-Century Modern or modern design, probably because it's what Bruno and I like! For this one, I'm excited to incorporate a more traditional aesthetic, while remaining true to the clean lines and classic looks that I love.

    Here's a look at a few inspiration boards I've created to help guide the design process. We're going to need lots of input from all of you when it comes to paint colors and finishes, palettes and furniture mixing and matching. So, think of these as loose inspirations guiding us as we go.

    First, let's start with a floor plan so you can get oriented:

    The Living Room 

    Curbly House 2017 Living Room Inspiration
    Neutral Colors, More Traditional Details (like Decorative Nailhead Trim), and an Ornate Rug 
    Product List: Coffee Table, Lamp, Mirror, Rug, Couch, Chair 

    We're planning to make the house feel a whole lot more open by removing only a few walls downstairs. This needs to happen because the kitchen is currently the size of a modest pantry and the dining room is cavernous. By opening up these spaces, the living room, dining room, and kitchen will feel like a unified space.


    The Dining Room

    Curbly House 2017 Dining Room Inspiration
    If things go according to plan, the living room and dining room will be connected (and visible) from the kitchen, so they're going to need to get along. 

    The best way I can describe the second floor of this house is "castle-y". Does that convey a message? It has a narrow landing (we're looking into opening it up) and four bedrooms, each with some sloped ceilings and architectural window bump-outs. These details are sweet and visually interesting, and we want to embrace the architecture of the rooms with paint accents and impactful lighting. The intention is still to keep the color palette muted, but I can see some soft blues, greens, creams, and pinks gracing these walls.

    Second Story Floor Plan


    Bedroom Inspiration

    CUrbly House 2017 Bedroom Inspiration
    A muted palette with weathered woods, linen bedding, wool rugs, and velvet pillows. I told you this was going to feel like a castle.

    So that's look at where we're headed and the vibe we're going for with this sweet house. Let me know what you think in the comments, and I'd love to hear about the kinds of paint colors you see for these rooms.

    Here's a peek at what I'm feeling:

    Curbly House 2017 Color Inspiration

    New to the 2017 Curbly House Project? You can follow the whole series here!

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    Curbly House Dining Room Gallery Wall of Family Photos

    This post is sponsored by Minted. 

    We've been rocking the same gallery wall in the Curbly House dining room for nearly four years. It was full of treasured family photos, and although we loved it, we were ready to change things up a bit. To give the room a fresh feel, we got some help from Minted, using their personalized art styling service to find new images that we loved. 

    Minted is a design marketplace connecting you to unique products from the world’s best emerging artists. It's a place for artists to be seen and discovered, and enables artists and consumers alike to follow their creative passion. You can even commission an original from independent artists! 

    Typically, the process of choosing a cohesive group of mixed art would send me into a tailspin. It's hard to pull the trigger with art because it's so personal. Each piece makes a statement and making a collection of pieces sing in harmony is difficult. That's why I was thrilled to work with a Minted designer. Based on the results of our style quiz, our designer put together a cohesive set of artwork that would have taken me a lifetime to chose on my own. 

    How we got here

    Before we tell you about the process of redesigning the room, let's take a closer look at how it used to look, and how it came to be that way. As you might remember, four years ago we became the luckiest people on the design block when Emily Henderson came to our house and made magic happen.

    We had just completed an epic remodel of our home, and it was primed for design. Had she not come and made it rain paintings, rugs, and furniture in our house, I can promise you much of the house would still be in a liminal state.

    We were so exhausted from having a baby, moving, remodeling, moving out, and then back in again, that our creative and design energies added up to ZERO. Bruno and I will feel grateful to Emily for the rest of our days because she made our house feel like our home at a time when we could not fathom the process. Four years later, I we're still completely in love with every inch of our house. 

    Curbly House Dining Room Gallery Wall of Family Photos
    Photo: Melissa Oholendt


    Curbly House Dining Room
    Photo: Melissa Oholendt

    Why change?

    The dining room is at the literal center of our home. We eat many meals there as a family, and it's where our guests gather when we host friends and family for dinner. The gallery wall is full of family photos, snapshots of who we all were, little whispers of the past, and it's a masterpiece. Am I crazy to want to change it up for awhile? Maybe, but there are a few reasons I'm going for it:

    1. The frames are forever moving, and I am forever straightening them. No amount of museum wax seems to keep them stable, and I will reclaim 10 minutes out of every day by installing something different.

    2. My children are forever touching the glass with their precious little paws and they've now both adopted the adorable habit of leaning back in their chairs whenever their bottoms hit the seat. As a result, I clean the glass frames a couple times a week, and live in constant fear that a child will come crashing through a frame (it has happened once, and clearly no one learned a lesson).

    3. I wanted to try something new. When the possibility of reworking the wall with the help of Minted's design service arrived, I jumped. I like the idea of having something more eclectic and I'm excited about giving the room a new feel.



    Using Minted's Art Styling Service

    Minted offers an art styling service for only $79, which includes unlimited rounds of styling help. 

    We started by taking a thorough style quiz (try it! it's fun and there's no obligation). Bruno and I sat down and looked through about 20 different pieces, clicking the ones that resonated with us.

    Then we answered a few more questions about the decor styles we most connect to (vintage, contemporary, mid-century modern, muted minimalism). We submitted a few photos of the room, and a few days later, our designer, Kathlyn, created two different mock-ups for us to consider.  

    Minted offers access to an incredible amount of unique artwork from many of the world's emerging artists, including, for example, stuff like this, from our friend and inspirational blogger, Jaime Derringer:

     Left to right: Composition 2, Planar 1, & Composition 4, by Jaime Derringer.

    Because there's so much to choose from, having some help to curate the best stuff was really awesome. 

    We have other artwork in the room (on the walls flanking the new art wall), so we wanted to be mindful of colors, style, and the overall cohesiveness of the wall. 

    Curbly + Minted Art Accent Wall

    Curbly + Minted Dining Room Art Accent Wall



    Curbly + Minted Art Accent Wall

    Curbly Dining Room Art Accent Wall, Option 2




    Bruno and I liked the "Option 1" mock up, because the artwork was a much better fit for our dining room. We loved the mix of photographs, line drawings, and abstract paintings. The color palette was cohesive, but not too match-y, and we loved how organic the pieces felt together. However, there was one piece we weren't crazy about, so we asked Kathlyn if we could swap it for another piece with a similar color scheme. Later that day, she sent us this rendering (which we loved in a very big way):

    Curbly + Minted Art Accent Wall
    Our revised design with a new piece for the bottom, left corner. 


    Product List for our Minted Art gallery wall:

    Salvage Barn Series 03 - 30" x 30" (Frame: White Border Print + White Wood Frame) 


    Dusk Sky - 30" x 40" (Frame: Matted Print + Natural Raw Wood)


    Roughshod - 24" x 24" (Frame: White Border Print + White Wood Frame) 


    Point of View - 18" x 24" (Frame: Full Bleed Print + White Wood Frame) 

    Fleeting Light - 16" x 16" (Frame: Matted Print + Natural Raw Wood) 




    Product List for the Dining Room:


    Once we had our artwork chosen, we modified a few of the frames and mat options to match some of our other artwork in the house (and keep the project on track budget-wise). Less than a week later, all of our artwork was delivered, carefully wrapped and ready to hang. 

    Our favorite thing about the artwork was how light and airy it felt. As a result, we were inspired to swap out the rug for something a little lighter (albeit, just as durable). 

    The dining room is totally and completely transformed. It's a thrilling thing for such a simple project to make such a big impact on a room. We are in love with the look of our new dining room. It feels open, airy, light, and visually captivating. I gasp every time I catch a glimpse of the new art wall.  


    All photos, except where noted, are by Bruno Bornsztein.


    This post was sponsored by Minted. All opinions, thoughts, and words are mine. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Curbly; the revenue that we generate from posts like these helps pay for photography, blogging materials, and all the other things that go into making the all the free content we product on Curbly!


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    Curbly House II - Kitchen Inspiration
    Current mood (board): kitchen-y

    We're making headway on the Curbly House and the next two weeks will bring about a big leap in the transformation we've been dreaming about. We spent much of the last week trying to finalize our choices for kitchen cabinetry, countertops, appliances, and fixtures. While the room reveal won't be ready until later, I wanted to share a peek at what inspired the design.  

    Inspiration for the kitchen remodel

    Curbly House Kitchen Inspiration - Gray Island

    Photo: Decor Chic


    Curbly House Kitchen Inspiration - Gray Cabinetry

    Photo: Domino


    We loved the idea adding gray base cabinets to the kitchen island, while keeping the rest of the cabinetry white, but in the end decided to stick with one color. As you may remember, we're doubling the size of the kitchen by extending it into the dining room. While the new layout is going to make the kitchen a total dream come true for cooking and entertaining, it needs to be seamlessly integrated into the house, making white cabinetry (that matches the wood trim throughout the house) a perfect choice. 

    Butcher block countertop

    Bruno and I love the idea of adding a butcher block counter top to the peninsula for warmth and an organic element. We think it'll help tie the room into the adjacent dining area, and help lead the eye out toward the newly landscaped backyard. We're working with Lumber Liquidators to source a butcher block style that we like, and right now it's between these two:

    Which one do you like best?

    If you have butcher block in your kitchen, drop us a line to how you like it! 

    Kitchen paint 

    We're painting the entire downstairs a warm white color (Sherwin-Williams Simple White). We used this color in our own home and love it because it's warm and it plays with natural light in a beautiful way. 

    We also re-painted all the trim in the house (Pure White SW 7005), using a new paint product we had never tried before: Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel. It's good for interiors or exteriors, and has a smooth, durable finish that's perfect for doors, trim, and cabinetry. It was truly a breeze to paint with, with great coverage and leveling, and absolutely no stickiness when dry (some enamels stay sticky for a while). It's my new go-to paint for trim and cabinets.

    Fixtures and appliances

    We've selected brass and black fixtures for the lighting and fixtures, and all our our appliances will be stainless steel. The kitchen is going to have mixed metals, but we think they'll play off of each other in a beautiful way.  


    Staying on schedule

    Amazingly, we're currently on schedule to get the house back on the market by October. Getting off the timeline was probably the thing that worried Bruno the most, and don't worry, there's still a pretty good chance we'll get behind, but as of right now, we're all pretty shocked and thrilled that things are going according to plan. Our electrical and HVAC work is done (new air conditioning!), and our cabinets are going to be coming in just over a week. That gives us plenty of time to close up all the walls, and do some of the other touch-up jobs that need to happen.


    Next week, while our contractor begins sheetrocking the kitchen, we'll be moving in all the upstairs furniture and getting those rooms ready to photograph. The other major job for next week is polishing up the landscaping, and I'm really excited to share the amazing progress we've made on the back and front yard.



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    Sponsored by Sherwin-Williams

    We recently celebrated our 5th anniversary in the Curbly House, and along with the pomp and circumstance (I'm kidding; as much as we love our house, we don't celebrate home anniversaries ... but maybe that's my new million dollar idea!), we've been busy doing a series of updates indoors and out. We've refreshed the paint, swapped out artwork, done some light landscaping, and made the house work better for our family. 

    The front door of the house recently got a little update of its own with a fresh coat of paint. Read on to take a look at our new door!

    The Color of the Year announcement is always a highlight, and we've been lucky enough to work with Sherwin-Williams on many COTY projects over the years. Check out last year's post, using the sweet 2017 color, Poised Taupe SW 6039:

    When we first painted the front door, we chose a soft hue called Halcyon Green SW 6213, that was lovely. But over the course of five years, it has taken a lot of abuse (mostly at the hands of our children) and was beginning to look pretty worn down. 

    When we learned about this year's Sherwin-Williams Color of the Year, I immediately knew I wanted to try it out on the front door. It's called Oceanside SW 6496, and it's bright, cheery, and BOLD! It immediately called me back to a semester I spent abroad in England during college:

    Blue Doors of England
    Top Row: j.labrado, Dimples & Tangles, peonylim
    Bottom Row:  isabellathThe Morning DistrictAndy P


    Are those doors charming or what?

    So we decided to change things up, and go for a front entry color that would be way more energetic and eye-catching than its predecessor.


    We started by taking the door off its hinges. Sure, you can paint a door standing up, but I wouldn't recommend it. It's much easier to get it horizontal so that the paint won't drip. Then, Bruno removed all the door hardware. Trust me, it's much easier to spend ten minutes unscrewing the handle and lock, that it is to try delicately painting around that stuff.

    After that, we washed the grime off, and lightly sanded the old finish to give the new paint a good surface to adhere to. 

    When painting doors, it's really important to take time and do it carefully, but also move fast to avoid streaks or brush strokes drying in place. You want to always go with the grain of the wood, which means you'll have to change directions at the panels, rails and stiles. For more great tips on painting a door, check out this article from Family Handyman.

    Before starting, tape the edges of the door to keep them from getting gunked up.



    After a few coats of paint, the door was done! Check out how great it looks!

    The door has a cheery glow about it and has already proved to be resistant to the filthy paws of our children.

    Tell us what you think of our door's bold, new look in the comments below. If you'd like additional inspiration for styling a room featured on Oceanside SW 6496, you can enlist some help from West Elm's knowledgeable design crew to help select furniture, home accessories and more. 




    This post is sponsored by Sherwin-Williams. Sponsored content helps us pay for all the free, original content that we create on Curbly, and we love working with brands like Sherwin-Williams, who appreciate the awesomeness of a good DIY project. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Curbly!

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    The Curbly House II's Little Boy's Room Makeover + Painting Tips 101We've been painting rooms at Curbly for over a decade. And, we've gotten pretty good at it. We've done straight-forward walls and we've done full-scale murals - and almost everything in between. Through it all, we've learned that good prep, good paint, and quality tools are the magic trifecta. 

    We're partnering with Purdy Paint Tools and sharing our favorite tips all through the reveal of the 2017 Curbly House's sweet child's bedroom. This is the first room we're revealing , and we're so inredibly excited, because it's a perfect glimpse of all the goodness that's in store for this complete home makeover.




    Where this room started

    Before we get into the nitty gritty, let's take a look at where this room began. By all accounts, there was nothing so sorry or sad about this room. It was very bland; the paint was a little worn, and the fixtures were a lot dated. 

    We began by washing the walls with a mild detergent to give the paint a clean surface to adhere to. Our initial plan was to paint only the walls, leaving the trim work alone (throughout the house), because it was in relatively good shape. We thought the new wall paint would make the old trim color pop nicely.

    Boy were we wrong! Once we got the paint up on the walls, we realized that the trim looked a whole lot worse for wear. This is often the case with paint, and the real uncensored truth with makeovers. You waltz in fancy free with the wind at your back with a plan to make things beautiful in a matter of hours. And then suddenly you're spun around and the wind whacks you in the face and is like, WHOOSH!Your list just got a lot longer, honey, because you must paint all the things!

    And so, we did. 

    Then we decided that because the whole scope of the painting project had changed, we might as well make the room really special with a stenciled accent wall.

    And I'm really glad we changed course, because here's where we landed:

    Scroll down for more gorgeous shots of this lovely little room! But first, here's some Painting 101 Information for all you aspiring room-maker-overers.

    Tips on painting interior walls

    Painting Supplies

    1. Create a fresh canvas for your paint. Prep, prep, prep! I know this step sounds tedious, but it can save you time and create longevity for your paint. Washing the walls with a mixture of water and tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) helps give you a fresh surface by removing any dirt and grease from the walls. Scrape off and spackle any areas of loose substrate, and prime using the product recommended by the paint manufacturer.
    Paint Prep 101: Washing the Walls

    2. Good-quality paint is a no-brainer. It covers better and makes the paint work much faster. Our favorite paint is Sherwin-Williams Emerald line. It's a super-low-VOC line that covers better than The Fugees cover Roberta Flack. 

    3. There's no better partner to high-quality paint than high-quality tools. Good brushes and rollers help you get the excellent coverage you want so you don't waste time applying multiple coats. The best brushes and roller covers we've used come from Purdy. The brushes are durable, they clean up nicely, and they hold their shape for repeated use. Their rollers come in a variety of different sizes and naps, making it easy to select the right one for the job. 

    Painting 101: Quality Tools

    Painting 101: Quality Toold

    I'm noting the quality of Purdy tools because the difference is, well, noticeable. Each brush is handmade, the roller frames are super solid, and that extension pole's not going to snap off at the threads like the cheap ones you normally use. We've been painting with Purdy brushes for years, and we never have trouble with bristles coming loose as we paint. Good brushes leave good, smooth strokes when you're cutting in (this is a major quality point for me). And when you care for them properly, they last a long time (we've used the same brushes over the course of several jobs and they're still working beautifully). 

    4. Tape around trim using painter's tape. Bruno is now to the point where he can paint an entire room without using any tape (he just cuts everything in by hand with a good brush – that's why a high-quality angled Purdy brush is the perfect fit). I'm not there yet. I always take the time to tape my trim so that I have some leeway when cutting in. (I also think peeling off the painter's tape after a job is one of life's simple pleasures.)

    5. Wash all brushes and roller covers immediately after you're done with the job. If you are reusing the same brush or roller, you can also wrap them with plastic between coats and store them for a short period of time. You can use brushes (and most roller covers) time and time again if you take the time to thoroughly clean them after use. 

    Painting 101: Storing Brushes and Rollers & Washing

    Pro tips: don't load paint higher than halfway up the bristles (keeps it from drying out and ruining the shape of the brush). When cleaning a brush, run it under water and brush against the sink basin to pull all the paint out.


    My Purdy Painting Tools Checklist:

    Painting tools check list


    A Note About Stenciling

    Stenciling a wall isn't as hard as it might sound, and it gives you the freedom to bring pattern to a wall without the use of wallpaper. 

    I added a star stencil to accent one of the walls in the little boy's room because I wanted to create a focal point. Given the lines of the ceiling (and the little bump-out), I knew wallpaper wasn't a great option - too many cuts around the window trim and the ceiling line. 

    The stenciling took about two hours to complete and I think it went relatively quickly because I used a large stencil with a very flexible repeat. The pattern wasn't so uniform and predictable that I had to match it up perfectly each time I placed it. This made my job so much easier, because every time I bumped into a wall or a ceiling, I could rotate the stencil or place in a position that worked for me. 

    How to Stencil an Accent Wall

    Here are my best stenciling tips:

    • If you're covering a wall, choose a large stencil (mine was 20"x20"). The less you have to move the stencil, the easier your work will be.
    • Use painter's tape along window and baseboard trim (or crown moulding). It helps keep those areas free of paint when you're wrangling a stencil in tight areas. 
    • Spray the back of your stencil with re-positionable spray mount adhesive. This makes your the job a trillion times easier! You simply peel it up and reposition it quickly as you go. It also helps the back of the stencil stay paint free so you don't have to wipe it down each time.
    • Use a small low-to-medium-nap roller to apply the paint. These walls were slightly textured, so I used the Purdy WhiteDove 4" Roller, which applied even coats and didn't leave any lint on the stencil or the wall.
    • If you're painting with a smaller stencil, this is my favorite tutorial. It gives a great description of how to stencil an organic pattern without a marked repeat.

    The accent wall is what makes the room. It's sweet and playful, and it creates a natural nook in the space. The gold paint is warm and shimmery while still keeping the color palette soft and neutral. 

    Soft and neutral was the theme for this room, and we were able to add contrast to the space through the bedding, artwork, and decor. Have a look!

    Bedroom Makeover

    Boy's Room Makeover Details

    Boy's Room Makeover Details

    I love that the room has lots of open space for play. We were able to create a nice open space by going without a dresser.

    We installed a closet system from Modular Closets, and the way it keeps everything organized and visible is my total jam.


    Product list

    This post is sponsored by Purdy, but all opinions are mine alone. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Curbly possible. We also received complimentary paint from Sherwin-Williams for use in this project.

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    Curbly House 2017 Dining Room

    The 2017 Curbly House is done! It went on the market last weekend, and (to my surprise and delight), we've already had several showings. After two-and-a-half months of intense renovation work, it feels a little weird this week, knowing there's nothing left to do except blog about it. I keep checking my 'To-Do' list, and it's all crossed off, which is my JAM! 

    Heads up! We'll be on Facebook Live, this Thursday October 19th at 1:30 PM central time, doing a live walk through of the entire house, and answering all your questions in real time. Join us! 

    Scroll down for the full, room-by-room reveal of the 2017 Curbly House, along with complete product lists (from our featured vendor partner, Hayneedle) and details about how we transformed each space. 


    The 2017 Curbly House is still available to purchase, so if you know someone who's looking for a home in St. Paul, MN, please help us spread the word! It comes with all the furnishings!

    Table of Contents

    (All photos by M.E. Russell unless noted) 

    Dining Room

    Curbly House 2017 Dining Room - trestle table and wishbone chairs
    Photo: M.E. Russell

    The Curbly House dining room had all the right ingredients to become a focal point for the entire home: big east-and-south-facing windows, a large open plan, and a great built-in shelving unit ripe for styling (and lots of paint). But it also had a weird closet in one corner (who needs a closet in the dining room?) and multiple ancient, sparking light fixtures. 

    I came up with a plan to style the room in a whole new way, with a unique, attention-getting chandelier over a chunky trestle table to ground the space. And we tore down a wall between this room and the kitchen, creating a huge live/eat/work space that flows seamlessly.

    As with several other rooms in the house, all the furniture in this room is from our friends at Hayneedle (click here to shop the entire house). We loved working with them on this project because their products are curated, eclectic (hey, chandelier!), stylish (hey, table and chairs!), and shopping their site is the opposite of overwhelming (which is exactly what you need when you're designing an entire home). Scroll down to see all the before and after pics, and get a full product list:

    Dining room - before remodel Curbly House 2017


    Curbly House dining room makeover - art deco mirror, buffet, wishbone chairs

    Credenza and bar

    Credenza with bar and mirror

    Styled open shelving

    Styled shelving detail

    Wiry white metal chandelier

    Open concept kitchen leading to dining room



    Living Room

    2017 Curbly House living room makeover with Hayneedle

    The living room is the first room you see when you enter the home, and I wanted it to set the tone for the entire house. It was the first room I created a mood board for, and it was the design blueprint for the entire first floor, which set the tone for the whole house. The living room had shaded, south-facing windows which gave it a calm, quiet feel we loved. A big oak tree just outside keeps the harsh southern light out, but sprinkles bright streaks of afternoon rays across the newly-refinished hardwood floors. 

    I chose a color palette that was muted and neutral, something that would let the sunshine do its thing without getting in the way. The focal point of the room is the gorgeous sofa, with its clean, curved lines and nailhead trim. But, in my view, the leather chairs are the showstoppers: they draw a comment from everyone who walks through the house. And, in case you're curious, they're very well-made and comfortable to sit upon. We've owned plenty of original mid-century-style chairs, and these definitely feel like heirloom pieces.

    Shop this look on Hayneedle, and grab a pair of those chairs before they're out of stock ('cause I'm pretty sure they will be soon):

    Curbly House living room before

    Living room - classic, elegant, leather chair, nailhead trim sofa, gold and marble coffee table

    Leather swoop back chair

    MCM chair

    Blanket ladder with mid century modern chair and basket

    MCM leather chairs with styled fireplace

    Side table detail

    Abstract painting

    Nailhead trim sofa detail with side table and table lamp

    Custom wall art




    Master Bedroom

    2017 Curbly House Master BedroomThe master bedroom has just about as much 'character' as you can squeeze into a room. The ceiling lines, the big windows, the charming gable-end nook, and built-in drawers scattered throughout. These are the kinds of architectural details that are so hard to come by in new construction, and while some of them are weird and funky (and hard to design around), that's exactly the point: this room is anything but an empty box. It comes with its own opinions about how it should look, and the interplay between the designer and the room is what makes things interesting, and ultimately, beautiful.

    We teamed up with Hayneedle to outfit this room with a delicate design that takes full advantage of the 100-year-old quirks inherent to the home. The house sits atop a hill, and from the bedroom windows you have a full view of the fall foliage and, in the distance, the Minneapolis skyline (picture a soft-toned heart-eye emoji here, please). It's a perfect retreat, with incredible afternoon sunlight, and although it's not a huge bedroom, it has two (modest) walk-in closets and enough space for a spacious dresser. 

    Shop the products in this room on Hayneedle, but don't expect to find the skyline view for sale: you have to buy the whole house to get that one (now, insert the winky face emoji).


    Bedroom - before makeover

    Curbly House master bedroom - upholstered headboard and vintage tables


    End of bed bench with stand up mirror

    Bed with wall sconces

    Green vintage bedside table with wall sconce


    Styled bedside table


    Huge gold trim mirror above bedroom dresser, marble front drawers

    Marble front drawers detail

    Wall art, woman portrait detail

    Hayneedle baskets



    Bedroom chandelier, gold with square geometric lines




    2017 Curbly House kitchen

    The kitchen! The kitchen! Oh, have mercy! I am beyond the horizon thinking about the transformation we were able to achieve in this room. When we walked through the house for the very first time, it was – honestly – easy to just overlook the kitchen. Where was it?! Did we miss it? It was tiny! In a wee closet. Just about seven feet by seven feet (which is basically like a cubic version of LeBron James), with an exterior door opening right into the space, blocking the fridge and the stove. I'm not exaggerating when I say that you couldn't comfortably fit two people in the kitchen at once.

    We knew this would be our biggest challenge in the remodel. We played around with lots of different plans, but finally settled on one that we thought we could pull off without moving any plumbing (important to help keep the cost down). We tore down a wall between the kitchen and the dining room, creating an amazing butcher block-top island (from our partners at Lumber Liquidators). 

    Then we took a very classic (dare I say, simple?) white shaker cabinet and elevated it with shiny brass hardware, and a very bold black-grouted subway tile backsplash. The pendants, from Lamps Plus, complete the elegant look, drawing your eye around the room and casting a soft, golden glow (even when they're turned off).

    Let me digress for a brief moment with this PSA: Lighting is everything! Your lighting is a ceiling sculpture, a work of art, and you are doing no one any favors by selecting boring, basic, flush-mount boob lights, or snazzy, tiny marbley-colored pendants. Go big with your lighting! It's totally worth it! Do you see these charming, brass pendants? They take your breath away! They demand respect! They are perfect! Thank you! 

    Here's a look at what the kitchen had to offer (nothing!) before we got to it, and how it looks now (all the BIG heart GIFs, etc...):

    Curbly House kitchen before renovation


    Curbly House kitchen, over butcher block island, white cabinets with gold hardware
    That butcher block countertop is the centerpiece of the room (Lumber Liquidators: American Walnut Williamsburg countertop)

    Kitchen, before

    Kitchen, after - stainless steel appliances, gold accents, subway tile with black grout

    Kitchen, wide. Gold pendants

    Gold kitchen faucet detail with stainless steel sink

    Gold pendant detail

    Butcher block countertop on island with white cabinets



    The Exterior Entries

    Glass insert door - Zabitat

    I will grant you that heading is a little awkward (I couldn't think of another way to title it), but you know what's not awkward? That absolutely stunning new front door we put in (on) this house! And the best part? It's not really a new door at all; it's the same old door with a new glass insert from Zabitat.

    Take a look at what an incredible difference this insert makes:

    Curbly House door - before - yellow


    Curbly House door - after - Zabitat door insert


    Zabitat door insert, Jameston
    The Jameston door glass insert from Zabitat

    Door detail - vintage hardware

    Entryway nook detail

    Above: it's the little details that give a home true character. Things like original door handles, and this charming little entryway nook.

    The cool thing about this glass insert is that it's a totally DIY-able project. Anyone who can handle a jigsaw (and Bruno says, that's anyone) can do this in about two hours. You simply cut out the middle part of your old door, set the new insert in place, and fasten all the screws. The carefully-designed trim pieces give you lots of leeway to make your cuts, so it's pretty hard to screw up.

    We liked the front door insert so much, we decided to try one on the new back door as well:

    Back door - Curbly House - built in blinds

    Back entryway detail - bench with hooks

     This one has built-in blinds (enclosed within the door glass, so they never get dirty). The rear-door glass insert allows lots more light into the dining room, which we love. We added a Brisa retractable screen here too, so in the summer, the dining room will get lots of cross-ventilation and feel open and airy.

    Brisa retractable screen door


    Curbly House front yard, before
    The Curbly House: Before

    Well ... the people who lived here before did not like grass. And I get it, grass can be kind of a pain to take care of, but this yard was a f'real jungle (front and back):

    Curbly House back yard, before

    We envisioned a family with kids living in this house, so we knew the yard would need at least some usable play space. Also, we added a storage shed for bikes, lawn mowers (and snow blowers), as well as a big two-car parking pad and brand new sidewalk. 

    Before this backyard transformation, the only way in and out of the house was up the long front steps. In the winter, that would've been a real hassle for someone carrying groceries. Now, there's a convenient place to park off the back alley, and access to the rear door is easy (and flat).

    2017 Curbly House front yard, after renovation, sod, repainting
    We repainted the exterior of the house (we matched the color at our local Sherwin-Williams store).
    Trim and shutters are SW 6258 Tricorn Black.

     Back yard with parking pad and shed, new sod

    Front windows with board and batten shutters

    Those shutters were a quick DIY project that Bruno pulled together. Just a few exterior trim boards from the hardware store, measured and cut to length to make board and battens. Don't they look sharp? 


    Boy's Room

    Curbly House boy's room

    The narrative for the next three rooms (the children's bedrooms) is going to sound like Groundhog Day, because that's how I feel about their design. While designing these rooms, I discovered that it's tricky business to create beautiful spaces for children that exist only in your mind. I suppose that's true of all design, but for me, these rooms had to straddle "adorable/stylish/childlike" without being too specific. So, I followed a brand-driven template for the rooms that worked pretty well. Each child's room is a pie-chart divided evenly between Target, Rugs USA (or Amazon), and Land of Nod. All three companies hit children's decor out of the park. So, I came up with a system, and repeated it. Do I fear they're formulaic? A little bit, but I also LOVE everything I chose and believe they're primed for little touches of extra character the new owners will add. 

    Boy's room with stenciled gold stars, zebra heads, blue and white, calm

    My favorite part of the little's boys room (we called it this, but obviously, it's ready for any child) is the starry accent wall. I love the symbolism of a starred wall - you can reach for them, wish on them, and more. I love the way the wall creates a focal point of the room, but remains neutral and pretty chill. 

    The rest of the design feels soothing, with grays and blues, and hints of gold. You can read more about the thought that went into this room here (the post is complete with a stenciling tutorial, if that's your cup of tea). 

    Boy's room styling detail

    Boy's closet system, organized
    This closet system from Modular Closets will be a nice bonus for whoever lives in this room (or, more likely, his parents).

    White ceiling pendant

    Boys bedding, detail



    Girl's Room

    Girl's room - bed - Curbly House 2017

    I wanted this room to feel joyful (and ultra-flexible). I centered the design around a bright, yellow rug, and lots of tassels and llamas. The pops of colors are vibrant and wowee(!), but the room is balanced with lots of light neutrals that make it feel like it's a part of the same house. I love this! I love it so much because the only thing its missing is a child with a big personality to elevate the whole look. 

    Here's what it looked like before:

    Girl's room, before

    And now:

    2017 Curbly House bedroom - girl's room

    Girl's room, yellow rug, pink and white accents

    Girl's room closet system from Modular Closets
    Another great closet system from Modular Closets

    Girls' room bedding detail.

    girl's room  styling tips

    girl's room bookshelf





    Nursery - Curbly House 2017 - wide shot

    This sweet room is the smallest in the house, but the space is perfect for a wee one. The room is located steps from the master bedroom, and set apart from the other two children's bedrooms. It's sweet and simple, easily adapted, but also lovingly put together. While there's nothing over-the-top about the room, it was a real throwback for me. It reminded me so much of the way we put our daughter, Ayla's nursery together. We wanted her room to feel open and minimal, because she was new, and we didn't want to send her a strong message from the start (rather, we wanted the room to grow into, and mirror, her).

    So, I hit repeat with this room. I wanted it to feel beautiful and basic. I want it to be filled with love, and I think the space is ripe for that kind of transformation. I am in love with the accent wall (the wallpaper is removable), and the light fixture (its twin is a gold version that's located a floor below in the office). The room is functional and exactly what you need for a tiny child. 

    When we bought the house, the room looked like this:

    Curbly Houe nursery room, before makeover

    As ridiculously retro as those track lights were, we had to let them go:

    Nursery makeover with removable wallpaper

    White feathers ceiling fixture

    Crib with mobile and tree wallpaper

    White ceiling pendant, flush mounted

    Quirky mobile for nursery




    2017 Curbly House bathroom, wide

    I'll be honest: I wish we could've done a lot more with the upstairs bathroom (the downstairs will be revealed in a later post). I wish we could've doubled the size, rebuilt all the plumbing, put in a double-vanity ... the list goes on and on. But every home renovation (especially a flip) requires prioritizing, staying on budget, and making tough decisions. In this case, drastically improving the bathroom would've required some serious structural changes to the house (and losing a bedroom), as well as tons of plumbing and HVAC costs. It just wasn't possible given the scope of what we wanted to do, and the timeframe we were working on.

    So, with the apologies out of the way, let me say that I really love what we were able to do with this room! We added bead board wainscoting, a new marble tile floor, and Bruno and Jon worked way harder than anyone wants to admit to get an actual vanity in there (as opposed to the tiny wall-mounted sink it had before).

    Throw in a new faucet, a dual-flush toilet, a flowy curtain, and a really pretty light fixture, and the bathroom feels like a completely new space. As you can see, it's a big improvement over what we started with:

    Curbly House bathroom, before

    Curbly House bathroom, after, wide shot, black and white color palette


    Small bathroom with shallow vanity and black and white color scheme


    Space saving bathroom design. Wainscoting on wallsHexagon marble floor tile for bathroom

    Bathroom shelf styling ideas

    Chrome bathroom vanity light



    For a not-very-huge house, the Curbly House actually packs in a lot of rooms! One of those is this first-floor 'bonus' room, which the previous owners appear to have used as an eating space, but we're treating like an office or family work space. It's a place to go through mail, check your e-mail, do homework, write blog posts (wait, that's our family), etc.

    There wasn't much to do here except paint, add some well-designed furniture (that desk & chair were a Craiglist steal at $145), and top everything off with a really nice, eye-catching light fixture. Check it out: 

    Curbly House office wide shot


    Gold leaf ceiling fixture

    Gold ceiling light detail

    MCM desk and chair in office, styling ideas



    So, here we are at the very end of the post. We've been working toward this moment for nearly ten weeks, and somehow it feels anticlimactic to just end it with an ordinary paragraph. But that's what blog posts do ... they end. And so do house renovation projects, like the 2017 Curbly House.

    Although today we mark the completion of this project, it's also an opportunity to celebrate, and look ahead to what's coming next. Doing a large-scale home renovation was equal parts challenging and rewarding, we're already dreaming of doing another one. So as soon as we're able to, we'll let you in on what our plans are for the next Curbly House. 

    Finally, I can't wrap up this series without acknowledging all the hard work of the people who made this possible: Jon Peterson and Bruno (for being crazy enough to push this idea in the first place and for being two of the hardest-working people I know); M.E. Russell, for doing anything and everything she was called on to do, and for doing it with joy; Chantal Nason, for pitching in with hard work and great ideas; and Chris Gardner, for holding down the Curbly fort. And of course, thanks to our families, for putting up with long stressful weeks of late work nights and twists and turns.  


    And don't forget: this house is still active on the market, so if you know someone who's looking for a new home in St. Paul, MN, please let them know this is the house they should buy!


    This project was completed in cooperation with several brand partners, who donated products for us to use in the home remodel. We're grateful for their support: Hayneedle, Sherwin-Williams, Purdy, LampsPlus, Zabitat, and Lumber Liquidators. This post may contain affiliate links (learn more). 


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    Dark, dramatic bathroom makeover using Sherwin-Williams Naval paint
    Sponsored by Sherwin-Williams

    We're back to share the tiny makeover we did in the tiny bathroom at the 2017 Curbly House. But the scope and the room are the only small things about the project - because we used a bold color that made a big difference. Read on to see our new, blue 'loo. 


    For the last year or so, I've had a growing crush on dark powder rooms. Maybe it's because they're always small, so a dark dramatic color feels like a surprise. Or maybe it's because it's a very intentional design choice (nobody accidentally paints a bathroom dark blue), and so it feels special.

    No matter the case, small, dark, dramatic rooms (bathrooms, specifically) make me feel like I'm in a 1920s Gatsby-era environment and that makes me feel fancy (even if I'm in the bathroom). Dark bathrooms are the caterpillar's kimono, and I love them. Have a look!

    A collection of dark bathrooms.
    Clockwise: Emily de Stefano, DecorPad, Most Lovely ThingsDesire to Inspire

    In the case of the Curbly House, this is the only room in the house with a bold color. Everything else is painted Sherwin-Williams Simple White SW 7021 (which is my favorite white). This one was easy to overlook because the room's purpose is mostly functional (hello, first floor bathroom!), not aesthetic.

    I began my quest for the perfect deep, rich navy blue by perusing the Sherwin-Williams website. I was immediately drawn to their  Pottery Barn palette because it's so classic and rich. I love the neutrals in this line, and I love the way the darker colors complement them.

    Sherwin-Williams Pottery Barn Palette
    Sherwin-Williams' Pottery Barn Palette

    From the beginning, Naval SW 6244 stood out. It's a rich, deep, stunning shade blue. Here are a couple of inspiration photos of this color in action:

    Sherwin-Williams Naval Walls
    Photo: Earnest Home Co.


    Sherwin-Williams Naval Wall Color
    Photo: Design Sponge


    And, here's a look at our own journey with Naval:

    In fairness to the bathroom, this is a tragically pathetic 'before' shot. Bruno didn't even bother to remove the plastic bag and window cleaner before snapping the photo.
    Editor's note (Bruno): in fairness to me, I had a bunch of much better 'before shot' on a hard drive that crashed and burned last week, so this pathetic phone snap is all I had left!


    Half bath makeover in a dark color

    round wood mirror and white trim  Gold vanity light - three lights

    Using a dark color in a small space

    Gold vanity light with dark blue walls Small bathroom sink with round mirror


    Tips on painting with a dark color in small rooms:

    1. Dark colors recede. Contrary to what you may think, painting a room with a dark color will actually make it appear larger, not smaller. 

    2. Use two coats to make sure you achieve full coverage. Dark paint is slightly less forgiving than its lighter-toned friends. You will need a minimum of two coats to ensure proper, complete coverage. Be sure to paint with plenty of light (natural or artificial - you'll want to be able to see what you're doing).

    3. When using dark colors on a small space with low ceilings, paint the ceiling the same color as the walls. We didn't have to do this, but if your ceiling are on the low end, keeping the whole room cohesive will actually help make it look larger.

    4. And lastly, painting in a small room like this is tricky, because you don't have much room to do the work. To give himself more room, Bruno removed the door from its hinges so that he wasn't having to work around it.

    Product List

    What do you think about using a bold, dark color in a small space? Let us know what you think in the comments!


    This post is sponsored by Sherwin-Williams, but all opinions are mine alone. Brand partnerships keep Curbly running and pay for all the free content we create on the site. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Curbly.

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    Lamps Plus Holiday Giveaway!

    It's the most wonderful time of the year. Thanksgiving is one week away and Christmas is coming! We're making the impending holiday season a little bit brighter with a great giveaway from Lamps Plus. As many of you know, at Curbly HQ we love this company and have used their lighting and furniture in nearly all of our favorite room makeovers (and the Curby House). Here's a little visual recap to refresh your memory:

    Curbly Houses + Studio
    Clockwise from Top Left: Curbly House Bedroom, Curbly House 2017 Kitchen,
    The Original Curbly House Livingroom Makeover, and Curbly HQ 


    We're delighted to tell you about this giveaway because it will bring a little extra holiday cheer to you (and your friends)!

    Here's how it works:

    Lamps Plus Holiday Giveaway!


    My gift guide picks:
    1. Lula White and Brass Gourd Table Lamp
    2. Raye Ink Blue 22" Square Decorative Pillow
    3. Capiz Teak 13" Wide Small Decorative Bowl
    4. Hunk Of Swiss Marble Cheeseboard and Cheese Knife Set 
    5. Tricube Metal Geometric Square Bookends


    • Lamps Plus is giving away all five of the items we selected for our holiday gift guide (our picks are pictured above).
    • To win, visit Lamps Plus on Facebook or Instagram (we'll be showcasing a our pics on Instagram Stories at 11am EST today!)
    • Find the image featuring Curbly's holiday gift guide. Then leave a comment and tag a friend (or several friends) with the items you'd like to won. The more friends you tag, the greater your chances are of winning. Just be sure to tag each friend in separate comments. 
    • Winners will be notified by November 21st. How much fun to win something like this? So fun! Because you'll make a friend's day!
    • There are 4 other blogs participating, and they've rounded up some beautiful gift choices. Check them out on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
    • Read the complete rules here.  

      This promotion is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram. By entering, each entrant releases and agrees to hold Instagram harmless from any and all claims and liability arising out of the entrants participation in this sweepstakes.



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    Adult ADvent Calendar DIY project idea - materials

    I'm going to use this platform to declare this: advent calendars are kinda the best. They capture all the excitement building in the hearts and minds of children and they temper it by delivering it in small doses the 24 days leading up to Christmas. Growing up, the method my parents employed was a drug store calendar filled with tiny poor-quality milk chocolates that my brother and I retrieved by poking our fingers through a small perforated square. And, we loved it! We looked forward to receiving those calendars every year – and I'm sure the small morsel of so-so-chocolate helped tame us a little bit.

    Seeing the complete joy my own children get out of the advent calendar tradition got me thinking about why we don't give them to adults. I know we're the mature ones who have the composure and will-power to wait until Christmas to open our gifts ... but, c'mon, that's no fun. So this year I decided Bruno was going to partake in the slow trickle of magic that is advent.

    Read on to see how I put an adult calendar together; maybe it'll inspire you to try one of your own. 





    • 24 boxes (envelopes or pillow boxes would do the trick too)
    • Numbered stickers
    • Twine
    • 24 knick-knacks (Most of mine were $5 and under) 


    Number your boxes 1 to 24.



    Fill them with treasures*.


     What to Put in Those Boxes:


    The sky's the limit, and yet, you want to keep those 24 treasures affordable. Here are some of the items I put inside the boxes:



    Wrap them up in twin whilst humming "My Favorite Things"



    Take great satisfaction in the knowledge that you are knowing you are making someone's day...


    What special gifts or gestures or kindness are you planning this holiday season? I love to hear all the fun ideas our readers come up with, so please share yours in the comments!


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      Affordable Christmas Mantels at 3 Pricepoints

      In our little corner of the world, winter is here and Christmas is coming. This morning there was a windchill of -1 (what!) and all I want to do is decorate my house for the holidays, eat soup, and listen to Bing Crosby.

      To hold myself over, I'm planning our Christmas mantel (and some fictitious ones too) and turning them into shopping guides at three price points - $60, $100, and $200. Build a fire, have a look, and get your shop on!


      $60 Holiday Mantel

      How to Style a Christmas Mantel for $60

      Photo: Tracey Ayton

      My favorite thing about this mantel is the color palette. I love the peachy, blush-colored accents mixed with the traditional Christmas greens. The garland situation is level 10, and probably costs a whole lotta clams. But, the idea is totally replicatable (I just made that word up) for a fraction of the cost. 

      Christmas Mantel for $60


      $100 Holiday Mantel

      How to Style a Scandinavian Christmas Mantel for $100

      Photo: Martha Stewart

      I was raised on straight-up Scandinavian Christmases.  Lefsa, lingonberries, and lutefisk. My mom still lovingly prepares the same Swedish Christmas Eve meal she's been cooking for the entire 38 years I've been alive. Therefore, when I see a well done Scandinavian Christmas mantel, I give it a little wink of approval. Straw sunbursts and snowflakes are not my favorite look, but IKEA's vast collection of paper stars are - and they're affordable.  

      Scandinavian Christmas Mantel for $100


      $200 Holiday Mantel

      Christmas Mantel Styled for $200

      Photo: Anthropologie


      Sometimes the simple things are the best things. And sometimes they're the most expensive. The swaggy mantel garland in the above photo is abundant and from a Sherwood Forest-like dream. I love it so. And those brass candlesticks are probably two-hundred years old and straight outta Monticello. But, you can modernize the look a bit for just under $200. We own several sets of those glass taper holders from CB2 and they are glorious and whimsical. 

      Christmas Mantel for $200


      If you're feeling all the Christmas decoration feels, tell me about your plans to deck your halls in the comments below!

      Holiday Mantel Shopping Guide: 3 Mantels at 3 Affordable Pricepoint



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