Oh What a Night & Some Exciting News!

We had such a great time last night at the Elle Decor- Bloomingdales - Apartment Therapy Big Window Challenge event!  Dave & I woke at 5 something AM, loaded the kids in the car, and headed up to New York to celebrate Eddie's big WIN at Bloomingdales!  (We dropped the kids off with our family in New Jersey before heading into the city.)  I'm still pretty bleary-eyed from that lack of sleep so I'll tell  you all about it & post pics on Monday.  We did have a beautiful dinner with Eddie & Jaithan, Mrs.Blandings, Deborah Buck, and {from Elle Decor}:  Matthew Talomie and Margaret Russell.  We met lots of amazing new people who are so incredibly passionate about what they do and I just loved being around them. 

Everyone was super-sweet and inclusive.  I was totally nervous/ freaking out about meeting Margaret Russell (Mom & Grandmother- she's the Editor-in-Chief of Elle Decor Magazine ;) and she couldn't have been nicer!!  (And yes, she's just as graceful & gorgeous in person as she is on TV & in pictures, if not more so.)  But more details on Monday.  Congratulations To Eddie & Jaithan on a HUGE win for Elle Decor!!

On another note, I'm insanely excited to tell you that Better Homes & Gardens is coming to shoot our house!! 

It's a Christmas story so it'll be in the 2010 holiday issue.  They're doing the outside, the entry, living room, dining room, kitchen and us.  (I'm a little worried about the "us" part, as I have an extra 30 lbs on me right now from the pregnancy and when I see pictures of myself right now it looks like a "me" inside of a "me."   So I'll need to either get over it or wear a sign that says "JUST HAD BABY."  Think they'll mind?? ;)   

Anyway, since we're travelling & have so much to recap on Monday, there won't be a formal Pure Organization Project for next week, but personally we're working on time management & figuring out our schedule like we talked about in Time (Or Lack Therof.)    I'll post the readers' projects I've received later in the week.  Have an awesome weekend!!!

Guest Blogger Before and After: Jennifer from The Newlywed Diaries

Hi everyone, it's Jennifer from The Newlywed Diaries here to show one of my favorite spaces in my house. First off, I just want to say that I am by no means a professional designer. I'm just a young newlywed with a desire to create a beautiful home on a real budget.

We're coming up on two years in our house, and the dining room is just now feeling "done" -- it started out as blank as it could get. It is between the kitchen and the living room, so we spend a lot of time there and wanted it to be multi-use space that was pretty and functional.

My mom found this barley-twist table at auction for a steal and gave it to us has a housewarming gift. Having a table in the room was definitely a step up from the months when our old sofa was against the wall (luckily no pictures of that exist).

Also in the room is a pair of chairs that my great-grandmother bought in the 1960s. They are in a great condition as they sat for years in a living room that was seldom used and then in an out-of-the-way corner in my family's lake cabin. I rescued them from being sent to the Goodwill when the house was redone and I love their French-inspired lines and don't care that they were mass-produced. Before: The pea-green chenille upholstery left a little to be desired.

After: I had the chairs were recovered in a simple linen with blue paisley embroidery and I cannot even express how much I love them now. (Photo by Becky-Luigart Stayner).

The other big piece in the room is a simple dresser (which also came from the lake house -- I'm not one to turn down free furniture!) that we use as a sideboard. Before: It was pretty dingy and the square drawer pulls were strange.

After: I cleaned it up and added a few coats of paint (Benjamin Moore's Stratton Blue -- leftover from my mom's living room). Oh and new hardware, though to be honest, I think I'm ready to replace those already (whoops!).

Having extra storage here has been essential. Our house is without a defined entry, so the table becomes the dumping spot for mail and whatever else. Those drawers hide a multitude of sins, and Lauren, I'm waiting on you to do a drawer clean-out so I can join!

So this is how we lived for a while. Totally fine, just nothing special. The walls are painted the same color as the living room (Benjamin Moore's Grant Beige), and my handy husband even added crown molding (painted BM Bennington Gray). Oh, and there's our dog, Maddie, can't leave her out!

Things really started to come together when we found an old lantern at a local antique shop -- exactly the kind we'd been looking for! The brass had been painted with a steel blue-gray color that went perfectly with the adjoining living room.

We had it rewired and wow! It really made a difference in the room. It was definitely the biggest single expense in the room, but was around what you might pay for a new lantern that size (believe me, I've looked at them all!). For us, its an investment that will definitely be coming with us to the next house (sorry, future home owners). The mirror was a Christmas gift from my mom last year (Brayden Arch by Uttermost, if you're interested).

Here is the room today. I hate to say "finished" because I'm like Lauren -- always moving things around -- but all of the big things are in place and we're quite pleased with how it's come together. The white upholstered chairs are our first Ikea purchase. They are super-comfortable and you really can't beat the price. It was a little scary to eat on white at first (though I actually served a red sauce the first time we used them!) but the slipcovers are machine-washable and can be purchased separately if one gets ruined.

The chairs sit under my "ironstone" platters which came from HomeGoods (my favorite!). The seagrass rug is another great HomeGoods find that really helped the room come together.

The top of the blue chest gets changed with the seasons (and according to my mood) and right now it is holding some meaningful things: the ceramic candle holder was Wes' grandmother's, the books are on my favorite subjects (decorating, collecting, cooking, old houses), the pewter pitcher has some grocery-store tulips, we picked up the old books at yard sales and flea markets, and the ruffled bowl holds Werther's candies -- Wes' favorite! I bought the marble lamp on a shopping trip with Eddie Ross in Atlanta, and the shade is from Martha Stewart's collection at K-Mart, which I dearly miss!

Whew! I think that was the longest post I've ever written -- hope you're still with me! Lauren, thank you so much for including me. I hope to meet lots of new blog friends!


Oh.my. goodness.  Jennifer thank you so much for for sharing your gorgeous dining room with us. I think I can safely say that we're all crazy over that chair fabric!!  Your style is so beautiful & I love seeing how your space came together with things you already had & were able to completely renew.  Thank you for sharing!!


ps-  Don't forget to vote for Eddie's Bloomingdale's Window!  ( link at the top of the right sidebar) Dave & I are headed to NYC to celebrate (fingers crossed!) Eddie & Elle Decor's win and I'll be sure to take lots of pictures!

Time (Or Lack Thereof)

After reading everyone's desired super powers in the comments of this post, I was struck by how many of us said we wished we could snap our fingers & have chores finished (most mentioned was laundry), have more time to get everything done, be cloned because there's too much to do, and even grow extra arms to help with all of the work around the house!    I do think that some people came up with the perfect solution of BEING MARY POPPINS.  She can do shores in a snap and fly. 

But really, is this where we've come to?  Are we SO slammed with chores & work & short for time that we will pass up magical, incredible, unreal possibilities (C'mon!  Starting fire with a glance- controlling the weather- super strength- moving objects with our minds- flying- breathing underwater- talking to people through their dreams- etc ) for help with our house work??

I loved reading everyone's "super powers" but in a way I was a little bummed by the truth of how insanely busy we all are.  I didn't pick a chore-related power as my super power, but truth-be-told, I sort of wanted to...  I mean, the laundry situation in our house is insane.  And we only have two kids.

I'm not complaining about the chores,  (Ok, maybe a little) because it is just life, but it did get me thinking of what I could to to make it a little easier.  And I'm not sure I came up with any real solutions, but I do believe that even attempting to come up with solutions at least gets you thinking & makes you more aware of how precious your time is. 

We're all pressed for time.  There's never enough of it.  We have so much to do and so many people rely on us to get things done.  Laundry is endless (yes, I hate laundry) and it seems that just when you finish vacuuming one room, another one's dirty.  Can you even count the number of times you clean crumbs off of the counter a day?  Or do dishes or dust a surface (ok, I never really dust! ;) or pick & put away something that's not yours?   (And honestly, I'm so messy myself!) 

Look how happy she is:

 I'm not her.  I hate to clean.   But I do it because if I didn't, I'd eventually become a cat lady and my house would try to eat me & my neighbors would call the authories on me because of the smell and the trash pileup.  (Ok, and I love a pretty house & all the designing/ decorating would be wasted.)  ...  So all of these chores just have to happen. But is there any way to do these things more efficiently? 

Enlisting our kind friends from the forest?? 

How do we want to spend our time?  Most of us seem to want to spend it with the people we love.  To spend time working on what we love to do...  our passions....  Reading, writing, creating, designing, being good sisters, daighters, friends, girlfriends, wives, moms, granparents...  Doing fun things, making memories...  So how can we spend more time doing the things we want to do and less time with chores & house work? 

--On a sidenote, I believe time is money & money is time.  My idea of success is not based upon money, but rather on happiness.  A happy person is a successful one to me.  (Now a happy, rich person?  Well hot damn! ;)    ---

Anyway, the first thing that comes to mind is that anyone who can afford a cleaning service & doesn't already have one, should hire one asap.   That time that you would have spent cleaning, you can now spend in better ways.  So maybe you don't have as much money in the bank at the end of the month, but you do have more time at the end of the month.  And if you spent that time wisely, you have more memories, more bonding with the people you love, and a less harried life. 

Now what about those of us who can't afford a cleaning service?  (above)  Or those of us who already have one and are still pressed to the max??  (Laundry NEVER stops!!!)  Well, there HAS to be something we can do.  Something to make it more efficient.  A system perhaps?  Can we really possibly doing it the best possible way already?  I don't really know the answer. 

There are probably things all of us can cut out a little.  TV?  Chatting on the phone for too long? And dare I say it, blogging?   (oh that hurt to type.)  We could probably move faster too.  Some of us wanted lightning speed to get chores done quickly...  so maybe we should try going as fast as we physically can?  I know some people like to set the timer for a short period of time (my Grandmother!) and get as much as they can accomplish finished before the buzzer goes off.   I also love getting my toddler involved in chores and trying to have fun so it's less painful... 

And when I get REALLY pressed for time, the first thing I do is create a schedule.  I plan out my entire day. 

When I had my first baby, I was unprepared for life with a newborn.  I knew I'd be exhausted & slammed, but I didn't know what it would really be like.  After going through a few weeks or months (it's a haze) barely sleeping, eating, hanging out, never really relaxing and completely fawning over our new sweetie pie, my husband & I realized that we needed a solution.  We needed "us" time and it seemed like there was always something- laundry, cleaning, working, etc.- that kept us from enjoying each other & doing the things we really wanted to do and feel like good parents.  (Him- work out, me- work on a new business.)  SO, we created a weekly schedule.  On the back we both wrote what we wanted to do weekly and daily.  We had a date night on there (that could be as simple as making a great dinner at home & watching a movie), We had work-outs on there, a daily walk as a family, I had a couple of hours a day of business I needed to get done, and I even wrote "shower before 3:00" on there because as that point I was having trouble putting the baby down because the poor little guy would wail his head off if I did.  Anyway, once we wrote down the things that needed to happen, we put them into time slots on the schedule.  We didn't put chores on there.  Just the good things.  We did the chores in the unscheduled time. 

We basically reversed out priorities.   (In effect, the chores were still on there, but not written down, so the good things became the bigger priority.)  We weren't perfect at sticking to it, but it was something to strive for.  And it made a huge difference.  We still had piles of laundry and were behind on chores (like we'd always been) but we were happier, more satisfied.  We realized that a walk with each other around the lake was going to do us a lot more good than cleaning the house.

And the good thing was, that I knew when I was hanging out, bonding with Christian, that I didn't have to feel any guilt over not working, because it was scheduled in for later in the day and I would get it done.  (Working from home/ running your own business is often hard to balance:  when you're working you often feel guilty about not spending enough time with your family, and when you're with your family, it's easy to think about how much work is waiting for you in the other room.)  Anyway, I know it's not rocket science, but at the time it felt like it.  Life had completely changed for us & we needed a new way to handle it.

Well, life has changed for us yet again.  Add in another baby (Justin Alexander, above) and a business that's now full-time AND BLOGGING...  and, well, let's just say the laundry room floor is waist-high in clothes.  (And I haven't even gone "back to work yet!")  So it's time to break out a new schedule. 

And my new plan is to race through the chores...  To move like lightning!!  I think music & a timer will help... I'll let you know how it goes.  Could you share your ideas?  Life is short, so let's live it. 


ps-  Don't forget to vote for Eddie's Bloomingdales window today!!  (at the top right of the sidebar)  THANK YOU!!!!

We've also got a giveaway winner!!  (see previous post)

Giveaway Winner

The Lisa Leonard Giveaway Winner is Terri Wright!  Terri, please email me your address at lauren@thepurestyle.com and Lisa will contact you about selecting your custom jewelry piece!!

Pure Organization Project #4: Update an "Ugly" (Bathroom Sink)

Well, you all said you were interested in even seeing the not-so-pretty projects, so this one definitely fits the bill!  Our kids' bathroom is AWFUL.  Really bad.  (And it's also the bathroom nearest the main living area so everyone uses it.)  Our house was built in the 70s and so was graced with beautiful green bathroom fuxtures!!  yum yum pretty...

When we replaced the old linoleum floors with hardwoord, we (Dave) installed a new white toilet. Since then, I've been dying for a new sink.  The green shower can be hidden by a shower cutrain but that sink is just out there.  We bought a new sink and then returned it, realizing that this bathroom isn't a space we want to put any money into right now.   So as a temporary fix, I decided to try out a porcelain refinishing paint kit from here for around $50.   It was a simple 2-step process of spraying on primer (2 coats) and then multiple coats of the spray-on Epoxy/ Porcelain Hard Finish. So here it is before:

And here it is now (san- new caulk-  that's happening soon):

It's SO MUCH better now.  My mom gave me these cute little blue gungham animal towel sets for the boys (from PB Kids)  and so I'm using these as the starting point for the design. 

I'm planning on sewing a sink skirt that removes with velco (thanks Eddie!) to hide a couple baskets of toiletries/ diapers/ etc.  I've also got a blue & white sheet to tun into the shower curtain & some art work for the walls.  Dave's adding in some woodwork for towel hooks.  We may or may not paint from there.  So, how did the spray on stuff work?  It looks much MUCH better but there is still a bit of a greenish hue about the sink when comparing it to the white toilet which is next to it.  If you look right at it alone it looks like a pure white as seen in this pic:

Since we haven't used it yet (we're letting it cure) I can't tell you about its performance.  I'll let you know how it's working in a month or so.  But for now, I'm very happy with it as an intermediate fix until we're able to do more in here.   When we're finished with this little bathroom redo, I'll of coures take pics & show you!

And now for Project #4:  Update an "Ugly"

Maybe you're lucky enough that you've already updated your uglies (Oh how I wish I were!!) and if so, you get the week off!! :)  But if you're like me and live in an old house or even a house that was done by someone else, or like to collect flea market pieces in need of a little TLC, you probably have some things that need a little updating or freshening up.  Door or cabinet hardware?  Any furniture you've been planning on repainting or refinishing?  Light fixtures?  Faucets?  Outlet covers?  Mailbox?  Door knocker?  Anyway, doing this little thing makes our whole bathroom feel 100 times less fugly.  Is there anything you can do to update a little something in your house?

UPDATE**  I LOVE getting all your photos & seeing them, but I'm getting so many that I've decided to use Mr.Linky's widgets so that you can link up to your photos straight from the post.  As soon as I figure out how to set it up, I will add it on to the end of this post so check back!! :)

Goodl luck!!    THANK YOU!!!

ps - Don't forget to vote again for Eddie's window!  (The top right pic on my sidebar is a link to the voting and you can also text "1" to 89800)

And tonight is that last night for the LISA LEONARD DESIGNS GIVEAWAY (previous post) so be sure to enter!! :)

Lisa Leonard Designs

I'm so excited to tell you about this GIVEAWAY from Lisa Leonard Designs!!   Her jewelry is so unique and just looks like it was made with love. 

 I'm always inspired by stories of people who take risks and follow their hearts to create sucessful businesses.  I think Lisa's story is best told by her: 

I have been making jewelry since high school but I decided to get serious after my first son, David, was born. I wanted to start a small business that would enable me to quit my job and stay home with my boys. At the time, I had never taken any formal classes or received special training in jewelry making. I just went for it! I am kind of the 'jump in and learn as you go' type. Creating jewelry not only allowed me to work from home, but has connected me with so many amazing women along the way.

My desire is to create simple, lovely pieces that can be worn with jeans or your little black dress. I want each piece to meaningful. Our custom jewelry is hand-stamped with your kids’ names or a special phrase or verse. I love to touch my necklace throughout the day and reflect on my husband and my sweet boys.

Each piece we create is a work of art—hand cut, hammered, polished, drilled and assembled with care. I am inspired by other artists--painters, scrapbookers, clothing designers and poets. I also love to soak up nature-the sky, the sea, the green hills. I let all these ideas and images swirl around in my mind and then I create. When an idea hits me I sketch it out and play until the perfect design comes together.  Lisa Leonard Designs exists because moms, grandmas and friends have shared our designs with each other while waiting in line at the grocery store or sipping coffee with a friend.

sloan photography:

Lisa has generously offered to give away one of her beautiful pieces to a reader. 

How cute is the spoon above?!  What a perfect gift for a new baby!   And the chandy necklace below?!!  Can you see how unique they are?  See how the names are stamped into the sterling silver?

And yes, I got something wonderful too out of this giveaway!!!  Lisa was sweet enough to send me the Family Crest necklace  (below) and I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!  It's just incredible and is the perfect thing to wear everyday.  Seeing the photos of her jewelry is one thing, but they're just amazing in real life.  I haven't been crazier over a piece of jewelry in a VERY long time. 

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment answering this question:  If you could have any superpower, what would it be?  (And being able to heal people doesn't count because I think most of us would probably choose that, except my husband, who claims he wants a tail, which even isn't a superpower and is so gross.  He won't tell me his real coveted superpower.)     

I'll pick a name at Random, check back on Tuesday to see who won.  If you win, you'll  get to choose your favorite piece from the website & Lisa will send it to you.  Lisa also has a beautiful blog here with lots of pretty inspiration.

...  And I WOULD FLY!!! 
(Flying dreams are the best!!!)


ps-  Don't forget to vote again for Eddie's Elle Decor Window for Bloomindales!  (On the top of the right sidebar is a photo link to the voting.  :)

*All images from Lisa Leonard Designs

Eddie Ross's Elle Decor BIG WINDOW

Voting has started for the Big Window Challenge & I'm sure you can guess who's getting my vote.  ;)    In case you haven't heard, the Big Window Challenge is a competition between Bloomingdale's, Apartment Therapy and Elle Decor to see who can make the best Bloomingdale's window display using a piece from their new furniture line.  Eddie Ross (for Elle Decor) designed & finished installing his window, "The Modern Woman" Wednesday afternoon at Bloomingdale's.    (All subsequent photos by Addie Juell)

The window is the living room of an imaginary woman with a husband & 2 boys.  She's a hard-edged media mogul by day and a loving mom/ wife who loves to entertain by night & weekends ;)   She's treated herself to  this room and has taken a fairly traditional color palette of white & blues & injected it with bright pinks & oranges.  She 's not afraid to mix old and new. She displays her collections without apology and has surrounded herself with the things she loves.  I'd say the room is a bold modern take on traditional, but she'd say she doesn't care what it's "called," only that she loves it & it's very "her."  (She's a very confident woman.)  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

I think my favorite area of the space just might be the bar that Eddie created on the shelf.  (below) It's such a beautiful display and I am IN LOVE with those brass flowers!!!   (Brass is back baby! ;) The mix of brass, blue & glass throughout the room gives it a sparkly glow...  Imagine seeing it from the street at night! 

And of course the cocktail table is set to perfection:

Loving the lamps!  (below) The French man statue with his basket of pink candy is awesome.  Filled with chocolate or standard  mints it would have been fine, but filled with bright pink balls, it's funny & quirky.  It's the details like this that make me love a space & make it feel personal. 

And this woman is"real."  Here's the evidence in her cast off shoes, the comfy throw and a pile of magazines:

So now that you've seen the space, if you have the time, please go & vote for it!!!  You can also vote by texting "1" to 898-00.

The competition is fierce and Eddie needs our votes.  (The voting is set up at Apartment Therapy where you have to login to vote, but I promise it's really easy & they never send you emails bugging you.  It takes 2 seconds. )  We're allowed to vote twice/ day - once via AT and the other via texting- so I'm going to keep bugging you until they announce the winner on Friday, January 28th.  ;)  Anyway,  head on over here & vote and leave a comment if you can.  (I know Eddie would love your support.)

Dave & I will be heading up to NYC next week to see the BIG WINDOWS in person at Bloomingdale's.  We're so excited & hope we'll be celebrating Eddie's BIG WIN!!!


ps- Make sure to check out Maria Killam of Colour Me Happy's Before & After in the previous post

Before & After Guest Blogger: Maria Killam @ Colour Me Happy

I am so thrilled to be guest blogging on Pure Style Home! Thanks Lauren for the opportunity!

My before’s and after’s are from a project that was featured on the cover of BC Home magazine  last September, my readers haven’t even seen the before’s of this loft so I’m excited to show them here!

My client Karen is a young Corporate Lawyer in downtown Vancouver who wanted her place to reflect her current level of success. I am lucky to have clients that mostly hire me because I have a talent for creating atmosphere  which happens only after the lighting and accessories have been installed. Not every designer has the luxury of finishing each space, I consider myself to be very lucky!

Karen hired me to decorate her empty loft (except for the large TV she had been given) I advised her to get rid of it. The one existing colour that we had to work with was the yellow beige broadloom because it was staying. She was renting the space so painting the white walls was not an option (in the end we created a colour block instead)

This was how it looked when all the soft furnishings had just been installed. Everything here was custom made except the 3 Malm dressers from IKEA that were used for extra storage and for the TV. It was also designed to be the focal point of the room. You can see that I repeated the carpet colour in the top panel of the drapery (and it’s in the polka dot ottomans as well).

Here is the space (photographed by me) the day before the photo shoot with everything in place. The branch was raided from a tree in my neighborhood!

I have learned that photographing interiors is all about the flowers and I went to 6 florists before I found one that had the dark purple leaf that is in the arrangement (above).

And here is the final professionally photographed image! Big difference isn’t it?

Here was her bedroom (before).

Since my client was buying everything else new, she decided (for now) to keep the bedroom furniture. The Lumpy TV had to go once again and she immediately bought the duvet cover from Macy’s when she saw it shopping in Seattle!


This bookshelf was at the 3rd level of her 3 level apartment (which ended on a rooftop deck, to see all the images from this project, click here:  http://mariakillam.com/yaletown.htm



Thanks Lauren for including me as part of the blogging community that will be appearing here weekly! I am honoured!


Thank you so much to Maria for showing us how to turn an ordinary rental into a magazine-worthy pad!!   Of course your colors are spot-on as always & I can't get over you finding the purple leaves for the arrangement!!  The whole place feels so young & fresh & light & modern.  Beautiful!!


ps-  Go here to vote for Eddie Ross's Window in THE BIG WINDOW CHALLENGE!!  (You can vote twice/ day!)