home style / front porch living

Happy June! Ooh, sweet summertime, you're here after all. It's that time of year where our living room becomes our back deck, and spending an extra minute inside just feels wrong. Tim and I overhauled our back deck last year (see the before and after here) and now we can finally enjoy our hard work this summer. Well, we decided to put the "kick back and enjoy our hard work" on the back burner and tackle our front porch this summer, so that all of our outdoor spaces are livable and enjoyable.

We know how lucky we are to have an outdoor space in the front and back yard, and we can't wait until both spaces are cozy, comfy and perfect for lounging. I even joked to Tim that I won't know when to use each space... is the front porch for coffee in the morning, while the back deck is for picnics and happy hour? We'll just have to see.

Our front porch is not spacious by any means, but there's enough room for a small seating area and a porch swing. I've been DYING for a porch swing for so long, and thanks to Ana White and Tim's handyman skills, we'll finally have one. Here is our inspiration for the calming oasis our front porch will eventually be...

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front porch living | colorwhirl.com

Shop these items... globe lights / IKEA chairs / tie-dyed pillow / floral pillow / side table / outdoor rug / blanket / pouf /

Are you tackling any outdoor projects this summer? Or, did you finish your projects last year to reap the benefits this summer? Either way, at least we'll all be outdoors. Long live summertime!

going green / outdoor planter roundup...

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. We celebrated with my family on Saturday due to work schedules, so Tim and I had a quiet, relaxing Sunday to ourselves. We pulled our outdoor furniture out of storage and I soaked up the sunshine for about an hour, with bright pink cheeks to prove it :) this weather is sooo good for the soul.

Tim and I have been putting together a list of outdoor projects and I cannot wait to get back outside! Each year I try to learn more about gardening and I think this is the year we'll start our own. I've never had a green thumb, but it's not black, so that's something. I'm taking baby steps and planting herbs in pots this year, which is kind of noncommittal and just enough for me. Herbs can grow like crazy and I don't want half of our yard consumed by mint come summertime!

I'm always on the hunt for outdoor planters, so I thought I'd share some of my favorites since planting/potting season is officially upon us!

colorwhirl | outdoor planter roundup

shop these planters... 01 / 02 / 03 / 04 / 05 & 06 / 07 / 08 / 09 / 10 / 11 / 12 & 13 / 14 / 15 / 16

Are you planning a garden? If so, do you plant right into the soil, use raised beds or take it slow and plant in pots? There are so many pros and cons to each option, and I'm always curious to know what other people are doing. Green thumbs, please share your wisdom with me!

Happy spring, happy warm weather, & happy Monday!

design ADD & guest bedroom inspiration...

I am fairly certain I suffer from design ADD when it comes to our home. In the midst of one project I brainstorm something entirely new for a different room - or three. Currently, I am working on our home office but I also want to repaint the laundry/mud room and I just pulled together a full design board for our guest bedroom. We have to put new flooring in our upstairs bathroom and I also have my eye on a new console table for our living room and a DIY shelving project I'd like us to work on. Not to mention, I laid out how I want our master bedroom to look and I have a mental shopping list going. AH! How does one stay focused?!

Thankfully I have limited resources and funding so I'm forced to slow down, but my mind is racing at all times. In an effort to stay sane and not make Tim go crazy, I'm trying to limit myself to two rooms at a time - because I can't stop at just one. Inspiration strikes at any given moment, after all!

The two rooms I am hoping to pull together quickly - and inexpensively - are our home office and guest bedroom. These are two rooms that basically house all of the junk and miscellaneous items that we're not sure where to put yet, or have all of our leftover decor from our rental days. While I can appreciate re-purposing items that are still useful and in good condition, it can't hurt to spruce up each room with a few hundred dollars.

First up, the guest bedroom. This is how it looked when we bought the house (previous owner's decor):

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The walls have some sort of stucco/rough texture that feels like light grit sandpaper and it's SO not good, nor is the color. The carpeting is so low-pile that it almost feels like you're walking on concrete (or original hardwood floors that we're not ready to uncover quite yet). Since we had so many other projects to tackle, we furnished it with an old comforter, sheets, and our old bedroom set. It works just fine as my sister and brother-in-law's room when they stay over, but we never felt proud of the room so we always kept the door shut.

A few weekends ago I felt a surge of inspiration and decided to take on the guest room. I threw on a duvet cover that was in storage (that is king sized on a queen bed), put down a gray shag rug that was previously in the office, and started giving it a little love. I picked up little trinkets and vases we had lying around the house and it immediately felt like a new space. It's still dark and heavy, but so much better than before.

This is what it looks like now:

colorwhirl | guest bedroom before
colorwhirl | guest bedroom before
 The planter is new and I couldn't resist hanging it, which is why there are no plants in it...!

The planter is new and I couldn't resist hanging it, which is why there are no plants in it...!

There's something about rearranging furniture and loving previously neglected spaces that allows you to see them so much clearer. Now it's time to give the room a facelift. I am challenging myself to keep it as low-budget as possible because we still have so many other projects to complete, but I'm confident that paint and a few new touches will totally transform the space into a relaxing guest room.

Ideally, I want to keep the project under $300. If I'm lucky I might even come in at $250. I've sourced all of the items I'll have to purchase with the exception of a DIY project, and I'm really hoping that this challenge will not only keep me on track budget-wise, but keep me motivated to wrap up the project quickly and efficiently.

I want the room to be calm, serene and light. The walls will go white, the bedding will be a neutral white and chambray stripe, and there will be touches of indigo throughout. Minimal decor will keep the project inexpensive but also make the room feel nice and calm. Plants and a few framed prints will bring personality and energy to the space, and voila! The bedroom will be transformed.

Here is my design board, along with a few inspiration images:

colorwhirl | guest bedroom inspiration
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With some savvy shopping and a few coats of paint, this space will totally transform and I can't wait for the end result! It'll be so nice to take pride in the room and leave the door open for once :)

For me, I find that the simplest way to stay on track and under budget is setting parameters and creating the overall design ahead of time. Otherwise, I can lose my focus quickly and shop impulsively which is NEVER good. How do you tackle new projects?

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product spotlight / kiriki press

It's always interesting to see trends come and go. Fashion trends are the most cyclical (70's bell bottom jeans are popping up everywhere after a 40 year hiatus and scrunchies are creeping back onto shelves... whyy!?), but interior design trends come and go just the same.

The one trend that I can't get enough of is handcrafted goods; woven textiles in particular. Woven wall hangings are EVERYWHERE (mass-produced in Target, even... I'm wondering if they are already past their prime), and embroidery/cross stitching is becoming just as popular. A few years ago, I'd associate cross stitching with my grandmother's generation. Now, there are artists taking the old technique of embroidery/cross stitching and turning them into modern, beautiful works of art (Maricor Maricar in particular - their work is stunning).

I applaud all of the artists making old art forms "cool" again (not that these techniques weren't cool, they just might not be applicable to a younger generation) - calligraphy, embroidery/cross stitching, etc. These art forms have been around for decades, centuries even in some cases, so it's wonderful to hold on to those techniques and modernize them for everyday use and appreciation.

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Anyhow, off my soapbox I step... the reason I'm preaching about old art forms is because I stumbled onto these sweet little creatures online a few days ago and it sparked the thought process above. How freaking cute are these animals? I don't have children yet but I contemplated buying one or two because they're just too adorable.

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Kiriki Press, based out of Canada, is an indie design foundry that creates DIY embroidery kits in varying skill levels. Ranging from skill level 1 (the monkey) to skill level 3 (the raccoon), these little animals are whimsical and look like a perfect weekend project.

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I seriously can't get enough of these animals - the fox and bear, in particular.

My sister cross stitches the cutest (sometimes hilariously inappropriate) sayings and I get so excited seeing the new pieces she's working on. How do you feel about old trends, like cross stitching, coming back in a modern way? I, for one, can't get enough!