before & after / our guest bedroom

Back in the spring, I pulled together inspiration to re-do our guest bedroom on a tight budget and a tight timeline. I went all HGTV on myself, got 80% of it done in the timeline, then a failed DIY headboard attempt slowed me down and I decided to focus on our front porch re-do instead. Nothing like a classic case of design ADD!

The guest bedroom has sat untouched since May, so I figured until I finish the last 20% of the project, I'll share what it looks like now. Here is a little recap of where I started:

The room was dark and heavy, the walls were textured like sandpaper (why do people do this?!), the decor was recycled from our rental days and felt pretty masculine. It didn't fit the overall aesthetic in the rest of the house and was begging for white walls. White paint = game-changer, always.

I set a budget of < $300 and pulled together this inspiration:

Overall, I wanted the room to be light, bright and calming with minimal color... various tones of blue and white to blend the room in with the rest of the house, with little pops of color here and there. With < $300 to work with, I am pretty pleased that the room is 80% complete and I still have $90 to work with, thanks to IKEA, CB2 and Target for their affordable decor!

I saved money by DIY-ing a lamp that we already owned - see the Rebecca Atwood-inspired DIY here - and used the furniture that was already in the bedroom, that was my moms as a child (and the rocking chair she used when I was a baby!). With the remaining $90, I will make a headboard and shelf that will go above the bed to hold art and plants.

Here is what the guest bedroom looks like today:


Check out the abstract artwork courtesy of my talented nephew... one for me, and one for Uncle Tim! I can't wait to hang these.


I painted the walls in White Dove by Benjamin Moore and straight-off-the-shelf high gloss ultra bright white paint for the trim. It was the most rewarding, refreshing paint job ever to cover up the hideous brown and I learned how to properly caulk and paint trim for the first time. I even bought a trio of special paint brushes that I will reserve for trim only... I'm taking my new skill very seriously! I haven't painted the doors yet, and I'm still debating between the ultra bright white or a pop of color... thoughts?

The headboard and shelf still need to be made and will fill the void above the bed. Art will hang on the wall opposite the mirror, and it will finally feel like a calming, cozy retreat - and a finished space! I have issues finalizing rooms in our house as they're always evolving, but since the guest bedroom is rarely used, I'm hoping that once it's complete I'll be happy to leave it alone. That would be a first ;)

And since I'm such a sucker for a classic before & after (or, 80% complete rather than "after"), here it is:

Although I didn't stick to my original HGTV-style timeline, I really enjoyed the challenge of keeping everything within a tight budget and focusing on one room at a time. Now that the guest room is almost complete, we're deciding among the master bedroom, the kitchen or our dreaded post-flood basement to tackle next. While the basement requires the most attention, it's also the most out of sight, out of mind room. I'll be sure to share what's next!

In the meantime, how do you stay focused and avoid design ADD? I need some tips!

catching up...

It has been a BUSY summer, and now all of a sudden it's basically fall. Ah! #seriouslywheredoesthetimego

Between sprucing up the exterior of our house, our day jobs, our side jobs and commitments, it's been a non-stop whirlwind of to-do lists and meetings (with a little bit of sunbathing and downtime mixed in). I've never been one to thrive on a continually busy schedule; it's not sustainable for me. I tend to thrive on those bursts of busy times that come few and far in between, where an all-nighter might happen and you're back to your regular routine in no time.

That said, all of the things keeping us busy have been really enjoyable and rewarding, so there's nothing to complain about! Here is a rundown of what I've been up to this summer...

// Tim and I joined forces to re-brand his company, Cardboard Helicopter! The re-branding process is really easy when you live with your client and decisions can be made quickly ;) I can't wait to show more of the process and the full brand as we roll it out this fall.

// Our basement flooded! Mother Nature threw us a curve ball and I sort of hate her for it - but, really, my anger is directed toward the previous owners. They carpeted the basement as a selling feature when we bought the house, not indicating that the basement collects pools of water... fast-forward almost three years later and we're sloshing around in soaking wet carpeting. So disgusting. So frustrating. Redoing the basement was nowhere near the top of our "to do" list, and since we don't spend a lot of time down there, it's NOT money I want to spend right now. We ripped everything up, decided to take the summer off, and we'll deal with it in the fall/winter (maybe). Screw you, basement!

// We hosted a Christmas in July party / open house, prompting us to cross 7,238 things off of our to-do list. The front porch and yard got a makeover (see the before & after here), and the back yard got a little makeover, too. The backyard isn't finished by any means, but I hope to post a few pictures of the work in progress soon. (Note to self: if you need an extra push to get things done, host a party!!! There is nothing like the stress of hosting to get your butt in gear.)

// I teamed up with several of my high school friends over the past few months to plan and design our 10-year (!) reunion weekend. I can't believe it's been 10 years, but at the same time, I can't believe it's ONLY been 10 years... think about who you were at 18. It's kind of hilarious to see how far you've come. We toured the school, caught up on life at Around the Corner, and had a family picnic at Lakewood Park on Sunday. There's nothing like playing a pickup game of volleyball with people you haven't talked to in 10 years to bring back SO MANY memories. I couldn't stop laughing at how easy (or creepy) it is to reconnect, all thanks to social media... "I know I haven't seen you in 10 years, but I saw that you took a selfie with a baboon at the zoo 2 days ago and you looked really cute!"... haha. Social media is so weird, but it does make potentially awkward situations so much easier.

// I wrapped up a beautiful gold & blush wedding invitation suite for an old coworker and friend, and I am soo in love with how it all turned out. Their wedding is right around the corner, and I can't wait to see it all come together. Congratulations, Michelle & Dave! (Stay tuned for photos of the invitations in the next month or so!)

// We celebrated Colin's 5th and Mary's 2nd birthday last weekend, and if you don't remember or know... they have the SAME birthday. I'm still not over it and it's been two years, ha! It's an interesting challenge to come up with a birthday invitation design that suits both kids and isn't too gender specific, but I love how it all turned out. I'll be posting those soon!

// I am in the midst of working on some fun branding projects that I can't wait to share in the coming months, so suffice to say, it has been a busy summer! It flew by in the blink of an eye, and I can't wait to rest a little bit to enjoy the last bits of summer weather before the cold hits.

All that said, it's basically my excuse for completely neglecting my blog and only posting about 4-5 times this summer... :) I will have a lot to share, soon! I hope you stick around.

In the meantime, have an amazing weekend and ENJOY SUMMER!

before & after / our front porch

After long last, I remembered that I had a blog and decided to post something! ;)

Kidding! It's been SUCH a busy summer, and blogging fell to the wayside because it's summer, after all. That's not to say Tim and I haven't been busy little bees, working away at home, because we absolutely have - and there's some fun before & afters to show for it.

My favorite project so far this summer has to be the front porch. Since we moved in three years ago, we've never given any love to the space - at most plopping two adirondack chairs down from our renting days, just so it wasn't bare. The paint was chipped, the decor was non-existent, and it was in a really sad state. It was all the same drabby gray/blue tone that didn't complement the house at all, not to mention, the landscaping was overgrown needed some TLC.

colorwhirl before & after | front porch

Now, the house feels much lighter and brighter. The crisp white paint contrasts nicely against the navy banister, stairs, and deck, tying in the navy shutters. The gray edging stones define the beds and contain the scaled back, lighter landscaping. We removed the heavy bushes on either side of the stairwell, opening up the porch entry. Evil, prickly bushes were removed from the front left bed (they were the WORST) and were replaced with lush hosta plants; my current obsession, and some cheerful yellow marigolds. The mature azalea bushes (that bloom in bright pink and purple) have gone dormant for the summer, but will look so healthy and happy as the hostas grow to fill in the space. We planted an arborvitae (he goes by Artie) to the right of the stairwell to bring some height to the right bed, but we're not sure he's in the right spot - he may get too big for the space he's in. We trimmed up our huge pine tree to a healthy height, opening up our yard even more, though now we've sacrificed some valued privacy in our back yard... a new project for us to tackle :)

For now, the landscaping is under control and we're on weed/clover removal duty for the remainder of the summer. I love how open our house looks now... like a warm welcome as opposed to a closed off, claustrophobic space.

colorwhirl before & after | front porch
colorwhirl before & after | front porch

I scraped and sanded the entire porch floor before painting it with a special porch and patio paint that has a sandpaper texture to it. It went down like a dream and instantly transformed the shoddy, splintered wood. It's not perfect, but it's infinitely better than before! I also painted the banister with navy paint leftover from the previous owners, and next on my list is touching up the white portion of the banister. Eventually we'll need to replace a few boards underneath the porch swing, but that will likely happen in the fall, if not next year.

After dreaming about having a porch swing for years, my wish finally came true thanks to my handy husband and Ana White. If you haven't checked out her site, you MUST - it's awesome. We used these plans as a guide but had to customize them to fit the width of our porch. I made a swing cushion out of several different types of foam cut down to size, and wrapped it in a shower curtain from Target. I'm in LOVE. The swing is extra deep so that even Tim can curl up and take a nap on the swing, which says a lot... most swings can't accommodate a 6'+ man.

colorwhirl before & after | front porch
colorwhirl before & after | front porch

Our porch is so much better than I originally envisioned - see my original inspiration here. The blues are calming and serene, the white is refreshing and airy, and the neutral tones and textures feel homey. The overall look and feel are an extension of our home, which I love. It's my favorite spot to relax once the sun goes down, listening to music, sipping a beer. Come fall, it's going to be the perfect spot to watch the leaves fall, curled up in a blanket... I can't wait.

This space makes me happier than I could have imagined, which makes the dozens of hours spent sanding, scraping, weeding, and mulching so worth it, not to mention the two-a-day trips to Lowes where I befriended many employees.

Next up: finish up the back yard (until next summer) so that we can finally relax in our very own great outdoors. Do you have any summer projects you've completed, or have yet to tackle? Tell me I'm not the only one that visits Lowes at least 4 times per weekend!

rooted in cle / yoga + libations + light bites

As the wife (and constant cheerleader) of a small business owner and entrepreneur, nothing makes me happier than to support other small business owners in Cleveland - especially those that are my friends, and genuinely great people.

Imagine my delight when I saw that Harness Cycle was collaborating with BurkleHagen to put on another Cleveland is my OM event on Friday, May 15th full of yoga, cocktails & small bites - in a VERY cool venue. Sign. me. up.

Rooted in CLE is an evening focused on the farm-to-table lifestyle, kicking off with an hour of slow-flow yoga led by 3 Sisters Yoga. Post-yoga, Spice Kitchen & Bar will offer up small bites and The Agrarian Collective & SweetWater Caravan will serve cocktails. Yoga + delicious food + craft cocktails + great venue, all while wearing yoga pants, equals one pretty fabulous Friday night.


The event is held in the BurkleHagen photography studio & loft in Midtown Cleveland (featured above). The space is beautiful (hello, indoor swings! & a massive prop closet to swoon over) and they produce the most breathtaking images, focusing primarily on commercial food photography. If anything, give them a follow on Instagram for their drool-worthy pictures and GIFs.

While tickets are normally $50, I'm offering 10% off the ticket price with promo code "COLORWHIRL". Tickets are available for purchase here. Make sure to enter the promo code to get your discount!

The event will likely sell out, so hurry up and get your ticket! Will I see you there? Sign up, and get your om on with me!

Happy weekend, and first day of MAY! Summer, I can almost see you now! :)

Disclosure... I was given a ticket to Rooted in CLE in exchange for a post to promote the event. All opinions are my own! Thanks for helping me support other creatives, small businesses and entrepreneurs in our city.