Moving Break!

Hey Guys!

Just wanted to stop by real quick to let you know I’ll be taking a tiny break from posting while we are moving into our new house. Words can not express how grateful I am for you guys sticking by me of this first year of blogging. I can hardly believe I’ve already hit the one year mark! Over the last year, I feel like I have really started to grow into my own blown style. I look forward to continuing to make progress and changes to the blog as I really find my own little niche in this huge blogging world. I looked at my numbers today, and I am stunned to see I have over 33,000 views from my pins on Pinterest. Like, I mean I am STUNNED. I can not thank you enough for taking the time out of your day to look at my little blog, it means so much to me.

With the new house, I look forward to having so many more projects and exciting things to share with all of you. This house has a really different feel to me, and I look forward to seeing how my design style changes as we start to transform this into our forever home. I can not wait for what is to come!

I’ll be back soon enough, but be sure to like my Instagram and Facebook pages. I will be posting some quick (and probably not too pretty) progress shots as we start to paint this baby! Wish me luck!Actually-Ashley-Ohio-Home

Wedding Planning: DIY Hair and Make-up

How I saved a boat load of money by doing my own DIY Hair and Make-up for our Wedding Day


Hello There!

Thanks for the love on our new living room designs and the color scheme for our house! I can’t believe the day is here and we are moving! Be sure to follow on Instagram to see some photos as we go! I’ll be sure to post about the progress on the house over here too, but it might take a minute. Moving is pretty crazy.. and we won’t have internet right away. I am hoping to be able to share about the house soon though!

Today I wanted to switch back to our wedding and share how I saved money by doing my own hair and makeup. As you might remember, I was trying to cut some costs and save as much as we could while wedding planning. After doing my research and calling around I was finding that the cheapest hair and make-up artist I could get in our area was $500.00… for just me… Look, I know that being in an artistic job field that people are always expecting you to work for nothing.. I get it, I really do.. but $500 for an hour of hair and make-up seems pretty steep. So, I decided to try and tackle the task by myself. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad. I have compiled a list of tips that helped me along the way:

  • Do your homework. Professional makeup stores will teach you how to use their products. Head to a store like Mac or Sephora and request a makeup lesson. Some places will take walk-ins while others ask you to reserve a spot. Most stores will teach you for free as long as you make a minimum purchase- which is makeup you’ll need for your wedding look anyway! Consider bringing photos of a makeup look you’d like to learn how to recreate.
  • Go big or go home. My photographer reminded me that my makeup should be darker than I might normally wear it for it to look good in photos. I wore faux eyelashes and much darker eye makeup than I would have normally worn. She also asked me to darken my makeup a few times. It was good to feed off of our photographer to make sure the look was as good on camera as it was in person.
  • PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE. I did my “wedding look” several times in the months before our wedding. I tried out different lip sticks, shadows and blushes before I perfected the perfect look. I also opted to wear faux eyelashes for a super glamorous look. I highly recommend test driving these puppies before the big day- it can take a few tries to really get the hang of it.
  • Have your hair done a week or so before the wedding. Do not have a fresh cut or dye right before the big day. It helps to have at least a week for the color to fade a bit and the cut to grow out so it looks more natural. I went to my local beauty supply store and purchased clip-in extensions to wear for my wedding look. It was so simple and really helped amp up my look.
  • Invest in quality products. I wasn’t about to spend a boat load for one day- but I can stomach spending a little as long as I can keep some quality products to reuse. I spent around $150 and purchased some good quality foundation, powder and brushes. It was worth every single cent. I love the new brushes and use them daily. The foundation I selected was Makeup Forever Mat Velvet in color #25 warm ivory. This foundation was made to last- even on a humid and sticky day like ours. Its also great because it helped to keep my skin matte and not shiny. I tend to get oily quick so it was a huge help! After the liquid foundation- I topped it off with Sephora Collection 8 HR Mattifying Compact Powder in color #16 linen. This really set in the liquid foundation and helped even out my skin. My sister in law gave me a Stila eyeshadow palette which had so many shades and options to layer on. It was great! While this particular one is no longer in stock- its nice to have so many options (especially while you’re practicing your look!) Thanks Nellie- I loved this one!
  • Try out different hair curlers for different looks. I purchased 4 curling irons and tested each one before deciding which I would use on the wedding day look. I also looked at a few youtube videos to perfect the techniques for each one. I settled with a Remington 1/2-1″ Curling Wand  which was around $20 online. I loved how my curls turned out with it!Sicher-125Sicher-70Getting help curling those extensions! It was tricky!Sicher-124Sicher-127Sicher-133Sicher-138Sicher-142Sicher-141Sicher-146Sicher-149Sicher-154Sicher-163Sicher-174Sicher-180Sicher-181Sicher-183Sicher-188Sicher-194Sicher-200

Sources: Embroidered Shirt | Personalized Hanger |  Wedding Dress |  Shoes | Similar Headband

Face: Foundation | Powder | Blush | Primer

Eyes: Liner | Shadow |  Mascara

Lips: Liner | Stain

Hair: Curling Wand | Extensions | Headband | Brush

Thats a wrap! What do you think about doing your own hair and make-up for your wedding? Would you ever trust yourself for it? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Be sure to check into my Facebook and Instagram for more photos and to stay up-to-date!

Until Next Time,

Ashley

Check out some of my other wedding posts:

DIY Florals | DIY Wedding Cake | How to Plan a Wedding in SIX Months | Wedding Invitation |  Wedding Color Scheme | Keeping Wedding Costs Down

 

 

Whole House Color Palette

How I am creating unity in our home with a paint scheme that works in the entire house.


Creating a unified house can be a challenge. One of the easiest ways to make your home feel like it flows is to use a consistent color palette throughout the entire house. Pick a color scheme, any color scheme, and stick to it. I mean it. Stick. To. It. Emily Henderson, author of the book Styled, says:  “People constantly ask me what the number one design mistake is, and 9 times out of 10 your room may not be working because you have not stuck to a consistent color palette. My number one piece of advice for any room is to pick a color palette and stick to it. Buy within that palette and it will allow you to work new pieces in without your space feeling too hodge-podge or disjointed.” While Emily is talking about a specific room having a color palette, I’d like to expand this idea to your entire home. Our last home felt disjointed because I got too excited and picked a different color scheme for almost every room. I do not want our new house to feel like this, so I’m on a mission to fix this problem before it even starts!

On Sunday I shared my hesitations with the Living Room design plans for the new house. Its been causing me a lot of stress and loss of sleep but I am feeling so much better with the new direction. Thank you so much for the love! In that post, I shared the new paint colors for the living room and how I got to them:

I started to lay out huge paint samples (8″x10″) all over the floor. I pulled beige, greys, pinks, whites, navy, greens, oranges and yellows.. I made little groupings that seemed to fit nicely together, then focused on the schemes that worked in nicely to the furniture we already have. I started to pull together a little color scheme that I truly loved and knew I would be happy with for the long haul. Then I let that beautiful little color scheme sit on the corner of my desk for two weeks. I worked next to this color pallet for 14 days and still loved every bit of it. That’s how I knew I was on a better path.

Once I had selected the paint colors, and knew I was in love, I started to “assign” them to each room. I started with looking at the before photos of each room, and looking at the furniture I had already ordered or owned from our old house. I went room-by-room and laid out the large paint chips on the floor kind of in the shape of our house to see how each one would flow into the next. I tweaked the colors as I went to keep the colors consistently used in the house. It was so helpful to have the photo of the current rooms to see exactly how much natural light the rooms got, the trim details, and the way the current paint colors looked in the spaces.

Actually-Ashley- Whole-house-paint-color-schemeI am keeping the same white (SW7004 Snowbound) in every single room to create a flow from space to space. All of the millwork and trim in the house will be this soft creamy white. I am also using the same black color in every room (SW7069 Iron Ore) on the interior doors and the window frames. We painted the interior doors at our previous home black and I LOVED it. I also want to experiment with adding black to the window trim. I found this photo on Pinterest and really liked how the dark contrasted the white. I am going to move this outdoor porch concept indoors and see how I like it.

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So, what else will we paint? Everything. So far, there is not a single surface in this house that won’t be getting a facelift. Here is the breakdown:

Foyer and Stairs: Basically everything that is currently blue will become Sherwin William Snowbound and everything currently white will be painted Sherwin William Balanced Beige. I will add a “pop” by painting the front door in SW Iron Ore, which is a really rich black.

Living Room: This room seems so dark in its current color. I plan to lighten it up by painting all of the dusty blue color to be Sherwin William Snowbound, and then adding depth to the space using Sherwin William Sea Salt to the drywall above the chair rail.

Dining Room: Again, I will use SW Snowbound on the trim and the exterior of the built-in china cabinets. I will use SW Naval for the inside of the cabinets for a crisp pop of navy in this room. I’ll repeat the SW Balanced Beige from the foyer onto the upper half of the room above the chair rail. Balanced Beige is one of my favorites from our old home, because it changes its tones in different lighting. It can be a warm grey, or creamy beige depending on the time of day.

Family Room & Kitchen: This room also feels so dark to me. I am going to paint the entire fireplace wall, the bead board and chair rail, and all the trim SW Snowbound. I am hoping this will brighten the space up. I am also going to paint all of the kitchen cabinets the same white. The walls will be SW Balanced Beige, and the window trim and french doors will be SW Iron Ore.

Mudroom: The mudroom (and laundry room) are the first thing we will walk into in this house from the garage every day. It is important to me to make it a welcoming and happy space. I want to continue the millwork into this space by adding a chair rail and trim below. We will paint it… you guessed it.. SW Snowbound. Above the chair rail- I want to repeat some of the soft blue tones that I am using as accents in the rest of the house by adding a fun wallpaper. I’ve selected Galbraith & Paul’s Lotus pattern in Cobalt. The cobalt color way is perfect becausse it picks up the navy and light blue colors from the sea salt color.

Thats the bulk of it! We are going to hold off on painting the second floor bedrooms until we are finished up on he main floor. I have to have a project to keep me busy this winter, right? Sorry for such a winded post, but it feels good to show you all what I’ve been thinking about non-stop for the last month. Only one week until we move in!  So what do you think of the house paint colors? Let me know in the comments below!

Until Next Time,

Ashley

The New-New Living Room Design Plans

I am changing my mind. Sorry, honey, I am redesigning the Living Room in Ohio before we even get there.


Sometimes I pour hours into a design and truly love it.

Sometimes I pour hours into a design and it still feels… slightly off.

Sometimes the design that feels slightly off is for our new house.

I am changing my mind, so shoot me. Not kidding, Brian might. I spent a ton of time designing the first go at our living room and I really loved it at first. Then I spent a ton more time on Pinterest and then I didn’t love it as much. I wish I still loved it as much as I did at first, but it seems to be missing something. Like it is slightly too dull, or slightly too harsh. Slightly too blue. The design needed some more layers, and needed something to add depth. All of the sudden I hated the fiddle fig tree. Its EVERYWHERE. Its been done a few too many times. Also, I somehow hate the drapery I selected. Truth be told, I was never really sold on the selection from the start. I knew I wanted a big bold blue pattern in there and the drapery fit the bill. But now that pattern seems so dated for some reason. Kind of funny how fast my opinion can change when I take a few steps back and use a more critical eye.

Here was our Living Room Design last month:Actually Ashley Living Room Furnitue Design Board

The entire re-design started when I went to finalize the paint selections for the entire house. I am such a huge fan of an entire home having a color scheme so each room flows into the next. My problem was that every room I designed felt too similar. The dining room, the family room and the living room all had the same basics: neutral furniture, beige paint and navy accessories. I want the new house to have flow, and a good color scheme throughout- but I don’t want the same exact color in every single room. So I decided to step back and re-think how I wanted our house to feel. After all- this is supposed to be our forever home.

Somehow I must have known I wasn’t in love with all of it because every bit of the furniture in the Living Room is pretty neutral. Good thing because all of the furniture for the room has been ordered and has already arrived. Luckily I still love the “base furniture” of the room.

I started to lay out huge paint samples (8″x10″) all over the floor. I pulled beige, greys, pinks, whites, navy, greens, oranges and yellows.. I made little groupings that seemed to fit nicely together, then focused on the schemes that worked in nicely to the furniture we already have. I started to pull together a little color scheme that I truly loved and knew I would be happy with for the long haul. Then I let that beautiful little color scheme sit on the corner of my desk for two weeks. I worked next to this color pallet for 14 days and still loved every bit of it. That’s how I knew I was on a better path. After I knew I was in love, I showed the new direction to Brian (and assured him I would not be changing any furniture items we just spent a lot of money on!) He wasn’t totally sold on the new paint color for the Living Room, but I am trying to convince him of how nice it will be.

Living Room Furnitue Boards RedoThe new color pallet is still a base of neutral linens, crisp white and navy- but now I’ve also layered in some softer elements. The layers of pale blue green, and tiny hints of blush pink help to add depth to the space.  I’ve removed the navy patterned drapery and replaced it with soft creamy drapery, like these from Restoration Hardware. What an instant upgrade that made. I also ditched the accent pillows and went with some softer options like this floral watercolor, navy buffalo check and velvet blue lumbar. I kept the lamps and art the same for now, but swapped out the hide rug for the actual one I got during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. The biggest change to me is the new paint. This room has beautiful trim details already with a great chair rail. We will paint the lower half of the room, below the chair rail in Sherwin Williams Snowbound- SW7004. The top half of the walls will be the soft blue/green called Sherwin William’s Sea Salt- SW6204. This color is so pretty in real life, and helps to break up all of the white.. blue.. white.. blue.. in the previous version of this room. Here is a look at the two designs side by side:Living Room Before and After Design RedoCrazy how much and so little changed, right?! I am feeling so much better about this room now. Like, one billion times more ready for this move.. which is in exactly 14 days. HOLY CRAP!! Now- it has me thinking about softening the other spaces using the same concepts. What do you think? Leave them the same or change out some minor stuff for a whole new direction? Leave me a comment and let me know what you would do!

Until Next Time,
Ashley

Getting My Fix: Stitch Fix Review 9

While this post is sponsored by Stitch Fix- As always, all of the comments and opinions in this post are my own.


Every August my family takes a trip down to the shore. I love being on the beach and taking a moment to unwind and enjoy time with my loved ones. Its not too often that I get to spend multiple days in a row with my parents and brother, so it is always something I look forward to. This family vacation is also always something I look back on, as we create so many great memories. Last year we ventured out to Assateague Island.  Have you heard of it? It is a National Seashore Park where wild ponies roam free on the beaches. I know, cool right?! You can also drive your car right out on the sand and drive down the beaches for miles. We drove until we couldn’t see anyone else and set up our little “camp”. We saw a few ponies swimming in the ocean and walking the beaches. The island is such fun memory for my family. We are heading out for our family trip this week and I look forward to new adventures this time. My friends over at Stitch Fix are sharing a super fun summer bucket list challenge with 50 ways to create your own great summer memories! I know I will be checking a few of these off on our trip next week!

SUM16June_Blog_Your-Summer-Bucket-List_05-Wk-3_05-Wk-3_PRINT1

While you’re checking things off your bucket list, be sure to hashtag #StitchFixSummerStory and #contest with your Instagram photos all summer long to be entered to win a free Fix! How awesome is that?! Stay in touch over on my Instagram to see photos from our beach vacation, and see what items I am crossing off from the bucket list! Now onto my latest box from Stitch Fix! I was so excited to open this box!Actually-Ashley-Stitch-Fix


1: Loveappella- Zola Knit Dress- Returned
Actually-Ashley-Stitch-Fix-Zola-Knit-DressActually-Ashley-Zola-Knit-DressThis is a cute dress, and was so super soft and comfy! I ended up returning it because it felt a hair too short for me, but overall I loved the look! I paired this striped dress with a red bubble necklace that I got as a gift from my dear friend, Michelle and red pointed toe flats for a nautical look!


2: Mia- Britta Bow Ballet Flats- Returned
Actually-Ashley-Stitch-Fix-Britta-Ballet-FlatActually-Ashley-Britta-Bow-Ballet-Flats
Did you guys know Stitch Fix added shoes?! How exciting! I got a pair in my last fix that I wear all of the time. I requested some nude flats a few fixes ago, and my stylist remembered! Unfortunately, I already found a pair on my own that I love so I returned these babies.


3: Kut from the Kloth- Jansen Linen Shorts- Returned
Actually-Ashley-Stitch-Fix-Jansen-Printed-ShortActually-Ashley-Jansen-Printed-Linen-ShortTruth be told, I have never felt more pale than I did wearing those shorts. Insert the ghost emoji here… I did love the cut and shape of these, and they had a elastic waist band which made them fit perfectly.. but I could’t get past the highlighter-lime-green-yellow color. I paired these with my Papermoon Stanford Mixed Material Top which made the color a little less jarring.


4: Crescent- Romee Scallop trim Chambray Top- Kept
Actually-Ashley-Stitch-Fix-Romee-Scallop-TopActually-Ashley-Romee-Scallop-Trim-TopThis is such a perfect summer BBQ top! I packed it for the beach trip so be on the look out for it on Instagram! It is a tad too big in the sides, but I am hoping a quick trip to the tailor will make it perfect. The scallop detail on the neckline was just too cute to pass up. I paired it with Target White Sandals and White Skinny Jeans with gold zipper detail.


5: Creative Concepts- Kaeli Eyelet Dress- ReturnedActually-Ashley-Stitch-Fix-Kaeli-Eyelet-DressActually-Ashley-Kaeli-Eyelet-DressLooking back at these photos, I am wondering if I made a mistake returning this dress. It was a great color and a nice shape. I love the detail in the neckline. I just already own a dozen coral dresses. With us moving in a few weeks, I am in a constant “purge” mode right now and sent this one back.


Have you signed up for Stitch Fix yet? Please share photos of your shipments with me, I love to see what everyone gets! Please feel free to follow along on my summer adventures as I check off bucket list items on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest! Talk soon!

Until Next Time,

Ashley


While this post is sponsored by Stitch Fix- As always, all of the comments and opinions in this post are my own.

Professional Design: Design Mistakes

Designing Model Homes isn’t always easy, some times you make a few mistakes. Its all about learning from your experiences and making the best of what you have.


Do you ever read a blog and sort of roll your eyes at how perfect everything seems? The perfect photos of their sparkly clean kitchens with fresh flowers casually placed in the white farm house sink…. the perfectly dressed toddler sitting in the sand box next to a six story sandcastle and not a stain on his freshly pressed linen pants… or the stack of fluffy waffles with fresh picked berries and homemade whipped cream?

Seems unrealistic and unreachable, right? Thats because it mostly is… Bloggers put out the best of the best, Pinterest perfect content. Honestly, I can spend hours photographing one little outfit or room and it still won’t look just like I wanted it to. The point is, not everything in a bloggers life is Instagram worthy. We make mistakes, we mess things up, project don’t turn out how we had envisioned them. We can spend 3 hours picking a perfect paint color… then another 5 hours actually painting.. only to realize it is baby-poop-green.  Model homes are kind of the same way.

The point of a model home is so simple. Get the people to buy a house. As a model home interior designer- my goal is to show you how Pinterest perfect your home could be, and how Instagram worthy your life could be if you lived here. Seems deceptive, because it kind of is.

But, designing for a model doesn’t always go to plan.

I designed a model home almost a full year ago and honestly in the end it was one of my favorite ones I’ve ever designed. It just took a little while to get it there. Originally this post was going to be just like any of my others from my “Professional Design” series… show you some photos of a pretty model and some of the sources so you could buy items used in the house. But when I started to look back at this model, I remembered what a stressful time it was getting it together. It made me laugh thinking about how a model home looks so picture-perfect, yet this was such a nightmare to get there.

Side note: this model was never professionally photographed. All I got is these horrible iPhone photos, sorry y’all!

My first problem was when I opened the front door on the furniture installation day- I realized the electrician did not hang the two chandeliers in the dining room. I called him to try to get him over to the house and realized that he never got the lights we ordered. Apparently the lights were backordered and no one ever let us know. Yikes. The models open house would be in 5 days, so there was no option but to shop locally for something until the real lights arrived. I ran off to the local hardware store and made the best with what I got. Actually-Ashley-Farmhouse-Model-Dining-Room-2

These beauties were the best lights I could get at such short notice. It is what it is for the opening. Lucky, we were able to get the original lights to the house about two weeks later. They look much better, don’t you think?Actually-Ashley-Farmhouse-Model-Dining-Room

You might notice in the first photo that we are also missing an area rug, while the second photo there is a pretty fluffy rug. Yup, you guessed it, I forgot to order all the rugs for the house. All of them. I have no idea how I didn’t catch this, but I did. It was one hundred percent a “my bad” situation. Like I said, designing a model home doesn’t always go to plan. We ordered some rugs and got them out there as quickly as we could and apologized profusely to the client along the way.  Actually-Ashley-Farmhouse-Model-Master-BedroomActually-Ashley-Farmhouse-Model-Master-Bedroom-2

Notice anything missing in this Master Bedroom? Yeah, its the beautiful patterned area rug that would have added depth and texture to the space. The worst part is, I don’t even have a “after” photo. Oh well! This model was missing all of the rugs, and the dining room chandeliers. At this point, I’m thinking, well at least it won’t get any worse. Boy was I wrong.

For our design installations we typically use the same moving company every time. For this particular install, our movers sent out a few summer temporary employees that were super nice, but not necessarily cut out for the job. You need to be strong enough to carry a sofa up 3 flights of stairs, yet delicate enough to unbox 12 sets of crystal china and not smash them to bits. Unfortunately we had a few casualties that day. Actually-Ashley-Farmhouse-Model-Basement-Bedroom-TeenOne such item was the mirror for the basement teen bedroom. One of the movers dropped the mirror on the driveway while bringing it into the house. RIP. So, we were left with little options but to leave the wall bare for a few days until we could get a replacement in. The manufacturer was so nice and sent out a new one right away.Actually-Ashley-Farmhouse-Model-Basement-Bedroom-Teen-2Doesn’t it feel so much better by just having that mirror!? Funny how such a small detail makes all of the difference (especially when its a light reflecting mirror in a dark basement bedroom). I thought my problems would end there, but this is now the house of horrors… Just kidding, but not really.Actually-Ashley-Farmhouse-Model-Teen-Girl-BedroomYou might not even notice what drives me so crazy about this room but there are two big things. First thing is that the rest of the house was very “modern farmhouse” in style. We used rustic raw woods and kept the color pallet to black, white and soft blue.  Do you see it now? The bed pillows are the soft light blue from the rest of the house while the bed frame is mint green. I should have requested a finish sample from the bed manufacturer but it looked so perfectly baby blue in the photos online that I thought it would be fine.

Secondly, our original nightstand for this space fell victim to our movers being stronger than they thought. One of them was dropped and had some damage that was far to gone to be repaired. These were a pair of nightstands so even though only one was broken, we now needed two matching replacements ASAP. I found two little white nightstands in our design storage warehouse. They work just fine for this space when viewed as an individual bedroom, but they are too mid-centruy for the rest of the house. I still think this is a super cute and playful girls bedroom, and I like it as a stand alone bedroom. I just wish it meshed better with the rest of the house.Some mistakes you just have to live with, but it does’t mean I have to like it.

While we are talking about the problems in the bedrooms of this house- Lets talk about white paint. NOT ALL WHITE IS CREATED EQUAL. I learned this the hard way here, guys. Actually-Ashley-Farmhouse-Model-Boys-Baseball-Bedroom

Its sort of hard to tell from the photo (iPhone, sorry!) but the paint color turned out way too cool and was slightly blue in the daylight. The paint I used was Sherwin Williams SW7007 Ceiling Bright White. This is still a great color but not for the warm tones of this room. Can you see how the creamy white drapery and the stripes in the bedding look dirty next to the bright cool paint? I wish I had gone with Sherwin Williams SW 7002 Downy or Sherwin Williams SW7012 Creamy instead. They are both warmer whites that boarder on the line of cream/beige. Hindsight is 20/20 my friends. We did a fun paint stripe to look like baseball stitching in this bedroom. It would have been to expensive to have them repaint this to another white, so it remained the same. Not a huge deal, but from now on, I will be very careful of the undertones in white paint.

Another big lesson I learned in this house was bulkheads. Always consider bulkheads into he design layouts. Now, if this is your own home and you live there, you probably know where bulkheads are in your house and will never run into this problem. However, as a designer I am almost never see the space fully ready until installation day. I had over a full set of deign plans to the construction team to complete the house including flooring, paint and electrical. I’ll do a walk of the house right after its been framed, just to make sure there is no major changes (builder like to move walls without telling you sometimes). Other than that, I am seeing the house finished the same day I am installing furniture. With this house, I wanted to do a fun little moment above a kids desk area in the basement of the home. I wanted to stagger a few pendants to hang at different heights to create the look of a chandelier for about half the cost. Little did I know that a bulkhead was placed directly where two of my pendants would hang. Actually-Ashley-Farmhouse-Model-BasementIt ended up being okay. While the illusion that they are a chandelier is gone, I still got a pretty staggered effect. While this turned out to be fine, I’ve learned to double check where bulkheads are in the house before designing to avoid problems in future designs. I just feel lucky that my bookshelves weren’t one shelf higher!

The last thing that went a little wrong in this model was the playroom. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this concept for a playroom. I just wish I added a little bit more, or changed the scale. Scale in design is a hard thing to get right. Sometimes it takes a bit to play with things, or switch items out until it feels right. To me, the stage is a bit too large, or the kid sized furniture is a bit too small. I wish I had used bigger, more comfortable chairs or bean bags as the “audience” seats. I also wish that I had ditched the table and chairs on the stage and gone for something more playful like a microphone or painted the wall behind the stage a different color. Models are hard because we don’t have the luxury to really go back and switch items out until it is just right. Its kind of a one shot gig. Actually-Ashley-Farmhouse-Model-Basement-Playroom-StageOverall, I guess what I am trying to say is- shit happens. Things don’t go to plan. Projects turn into nightmares. Designing a perfect house takes time and a ton of patience. Don’t be fooled by blogs and model homes that look like Martha Stewart is the live-in maid, it takes a lot of work to get there. Learning from your mistakes is part of the path to get there. Trust me, I will never forget to order area rugs for a job ever again! A home takes a lot of time, and adding layers to it is what makes a design great.

Check out some of my other (less painful) model home designs and professional work here!

What design mistakes have you made? Did you have a project go wrong or a DIY fail? Don’t leave me hanging out in mistake land by myself, leave me a comment and let me know what you would have done differently! Stay in touch with me over on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Ashley

Wedding Planning: DIY Flowers and Alter

Hi there!

Thank you so much for all of the love on the recent launch of my E-Design Services! It is something I’ve been itching to do for quite some time, and I’m happy that the timing is finally right! I am floored that I already have booked four of you to work with in the last week. I am so excited to get going on these projects, and I’m hoping to be able to share them with you soon!

I also wanted to say thank you for the love on the last Wedding Planning series post- DIY Rustic Wedding CakeI am so happy with how our $60.00 cake turned out, and so grateful for all of the help from our family in pulling it off! Sicher-623Its been way over two months since our wedding, I still can’t believe it. I received our wedding photos back from our wonderful and amazingly talented photographer Lauren Nievod. You might remember her work from our engagement photos that I shared last winter. I am really excited to share our wedding using Lauren’s photos little by little. Just in case you’re new around here lets recap the overall wedding plans to get you up to date:

We decided right off the bat that we wanted a very small and affordable wedding. 20 guests and under $10,000.00 to be exact. To be honest, a wedding was not very important to either of us and the expense of a full blown wedding seemed silly. We wanted to be able to invest our money into a new home instead. We decided to take a different approach, and to think outside of the box for a venue. We opted to rent out 7 rustic cabins around a lake in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. We would enjoy some time in nature and with our family before we would be married at a scenic overlook on the property. I knew that we would have to be doing a lot of the work ourselves because of the remote location and in order to keep costs down.

Last Fall, Brian’s sister was getting married. Before her big day her florist quit unexpectedly, leaving her without anything… She was searching for a good florist that could do her wedding but was having no luck. Now, I’ have no real experience as a florist but I stepped in and offered to do her flowers for free.

The one major catch was that I live in Washington DC, and her wedding was in Pittsburgh. There wouldn’t be enough time from when I got into town to the ceremony for me to style fresh flowers. I knew I’d have to do all the flowers prior to her wedding and then travel with them to her wedding. Now, we all know real flowers weren’t making that kind of trip and still looking nice. We decided to go with faux flowers and see how they looked. To my surprise they looked and felt so real. Everyone was pleased, their wedding was beautiful and I chalked it up to a win!Image-10585447-230671450-2-WebLarge_0_f39112fe6fac46704fb91505a0950cb3_1

With the experience of helping on a prior wedding under my belt, I felt pretty good about DIYing my own wedding flowers. I knew I needed the basics- bouquet, boutonniere, flowers for the isle. I also wanted some sort of flowers to decorate the arch we would be married under. Like any other bride- I spent approximately 7 billion hours on the internet getting ideas. I shared some of my ideas in this post showing off our Navy & Blush color scheme.Navy Blue and Blush Wedding Colors Actually AshleyWith that inspiration in mind, I went shopping. I purchased all of the faux flowers and vines from my local Hobby Lobby. It took me a few weeks at a slow pace, but I got it all done with lots of time to spare. Here is the overall view of the scenic overlook where we had the ceremony:Sicher-221For the front of the ceremony area I wanted to add a little welcome sign. I purchased a board at Home Depot, then took it home and stained it in Midwax’s Walnut. I used the Silhouette Cameo to design and create the vinyl lettering for the sign. I bought a $15 easel from Michael’s and spray painted it in navy. We draped a Hobby Lobby vine over it, and using some green floral tape we attached a few simple pink roses to it.  Sicher-222Sicher-228Sicher-226For the isle, I created little floral bundles using various faux flowers combining them with floral tape (and a lot of hot glue). I cut long strips of navy ribbon and attached it to the floral bundles, allowing them to flow down a bit. Each bundle was slightly different, but I tried to use the same flowers in each to create unity. I used simple plastic pew hooks to attach the flowers to the chairs. These were so simple and fast to make, really any crafty guy/gal could tackle this project!Sicher-224Sicher-229We wanted to make the birch archway feel a bit more glamorous, so we decided to add drapery. I purchased $9.99 (for the pair!) curtains from Ikea. We used a left over birch branch as the ‘drapery rod’, and simply used zip ties to attach it to the arch. The curtains covered the zip ties so it all worked out! We attached the ready-made vines from Hobby Lobby directly to the drapes using a staple gun. I had made two longer floral clusters for either side of the arch, and a small flower cluster for the top. We attached these to the drapes with navy ribbon. Sicher-234Sicher-232Here is how it all looked during the actual ceremony:

Sicher-325I kept Brian’s boutonniere simple. I used two small with faux flowers as the base. I mixed in faux eucalyptus to add greenery and a pop of navy with the little blue branch. Once I liked the arrangement of the faux flowers, I began to warp the bases with floral tape. I used hot glue to secure the tape at the end, then wrapped the base in navy ribbon to hide the tape. Lastly, I tied a small bow out of twine and hot blued it under the flowers.Sicher-237For my bouquet I kept is small and simple. I used 7 larger roses and peonies in a mix of blush pink and white to start. I then added in layers of lamb’s ear, eucalyptus, and the same blue branches. Once I was happy with the size and shape I began to wrap the base with the floral tape, hot gluing as I went. I left the very bottom of the stems exposed to try to achieve a more ‘real’ look. After it was all secure, I wrapped the base with navy ribbon. I cut a long piece of ribbon and attached it to the bottom, allowing it to flow freely. Sicher-515I am so happy with how the faux flowers turned out. It saved me so much time & money, and I honestly don’t think anyone noticed they were fake!

Sicher-224Later in the day we went to a local restaurant to eat dinner. I took two of the chair flower clusters with us. I made simple “Mr.” and “Mrs.” signs using pre-cut wood, spray paint and the cameo cutter. I used tiny little clothes line clips to attach them onto the bottom of the flowers Sicher-567It was such a simple way to reuse the same flowers from the ceremony!

That’s it for our DIY wedding flowers. The overall costs of the vines, flowers and supplies to make them came to $650.00. I know that seems like a lot for fake flowers, but I had a bunch left over. Not too bad considering the average wedding florist budget is around $1500.00. (My coworker spent $7,500.00 on her wedding flowers, yikes!). I hope you enjoyed the post. Please check out my Instagram and Pinterest pages to see more from our wedding!

Until Next Time,

Ashley

Wedding Planning: DIY Rustic Wedding Cake


Actually-Ashley-DIY-Wedding-Cake

Hello there!

Its been over two months since our wedding, I can hardly believe it. I just recently received our wedding photos back from our wonderful, beautiful, and amazingly talented wedding photographer Lauren Nievod. You might remember her work from our engagement photos that I shared back in February. My jaw about hit the floor when I opened the photos from our wedding day. She captured each moment so beautifully that looking back at the photos was truly like reliving the day.

I am really excited to share our wedding through Lauren’s photos little by little, one detail at a time. I want to do it like this so I can share more details about each piece that came together to make our wedding day perfect. Today I am giving you the full run down of our DIY Rustic Wedding Cake. But first, lets recap the larger wedding plans to get you up to speed!

We decided right off the bat that we wanted a very small and affordable wedding. 20 guests and under $10,000.00 to be exact. To be honest, a wedding was not very important to either of us and the expense of a full blown wedding seemed silly. We wanted to be able to invest our money into a new home instead. We decided to take a different approach, and to think outside of the box for a venue. We opted to rent out 7 rustic cabins around a lake in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. We would enjoy some time in nature and with our family before we would be married at a scenic overlook on the property. I knew that we would have to be doing a lot of the work ourselves because of the remote location and in order to keep costs down. That meant DIYing all of the decorations, flowers, invitations and you guessed it, cake!

Luckily, Brian’s mom is an avid baker and had actually made the wedding cakes for his sister’s wedding last year. I quickly roped her in for the project. We started with a plan, which involved finding a few photos from Pinterest of rustic cakes that I liked. We also made up a “mock” cake with cake pans that I shared on Instagram for me to see the size of the cake she was planning.

We decided on a three tiered cake. I wanted to have two flavor options for the wedding, and the top tier to save and freeze for special occasions like anniversaries. My mom and I found a perfect cake stand at Home Goods. It would be so simple to recreate by using a piece of sliced wood and gluing a small wooden bowl to the bottom. The size of our largest bottom tier was determined by the diameter of the cake stand. It ended up being a 10″ Chocolate cake with Peanut Butter Cream for the bottom, 8″ Vanilla cake with Strawberries and Cream Cheese for the center and a 6″ Yellow cake with Berries for the top. Our wedding was centered around the mountain surroundings, and being on a lake I really loved this inspiration image for our cake topper.

Canoe-Cake-TopperSource

Brian’s little sister Chelsea was taking a wood shop class for her final year of high school, so just like her mom, I roped her in for a project. It was so nice to have so many details created with the love of our family. It truly made each item so special. Chelsea did an amazing job creating the canoe and ores.Sicher-98Sicher-102Unfortunately I haven’t found a good source where you can find your own carved canoe cake topper, but I’ll keep you posted if I can source one! Brian’s mom made the cakes at her home before bravely driving them the 3 hours down to the lake (with three dogs in the car, mind you!) The morning of the wedding she brought them to the cabin I was getting ready at to ice and decorate. Sicher-97Sicher-100Once she had beautifully iced the cake and added the canoe cake topper, I was called in to help decorate. Brian’s sister and Grandmom had already laid out the flower selection for me. We used all faux flowers from Hobby Lobby for the entire wedding. I wanted to have the flowers for the isle and bouquet done well a head of time so silk flowers fit the bill and looked so great. Honestly, no one really realized the flowers were fake until they touched them.Sicher-48Sicher-50Placing the flowers on the cake was really trial and error. With the icing being a sort of messy look, it was easy to pull them off and replace them as we went. Sicher-116Sicher-118Sicher-113Sicher-112Sicher-122We started with the three largest flowers placing them diagonally down the cake starting with one by the canoe and moving downward. We then layered in the smaller flowers to create groupings at each layer. Lastly we used bits of small vine like flowers to connect the groupings. I couldn’t be happier with the final result! Overall the cake was very inexpensive.. the cost of 6 boxed cake mixes, some fresh fruit and ingredients for the icing, the faux flowers (mostly left over from the other wedding flowers) and the $20 Home Goods cake stand! I think we spent under $60 for the entire cake. Here are the photos of it all done, and the cake cutting:Sicher-623Sicher-626Sicher-628Sicher-632Sicher-635And it wouldn’t be a good wedding if the dogs didn’t get some cake!Sicher-637Sicher-639Sicher-640I made this cute little sign with my Silhoutte Cameo. I picked up the navy board from Michael’s craft store for .99 cents. I also grabbed a wooden plate stand and pink spray paint for the sign holder. The grooms “cake” was a big bowl of dirt with a gummy worm B for Brian. Sicher-644Sicher-642Thats a wrap for our DIY style wedding cake. I can not thank Brian’s mom and sister enough for their help and contribution. We are so grateful for their love and support! Be sure to stay in touch! You can find me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook to see even more! Be sure to check back for when I share our isle decorations and florals with you!

Until Next Time,

Ashley

E-Design Services

Hi There!

Today I am excited to share a new service I am kicking off here on Actually Ashley Blog! With our big move to Ohio just around the corner, I am “retiring” from my full time job as an Interior Designer here in Washington, DC and transitioning to working Part-Time from our new home. I am excited to have enough free time to dedicate to beginning a new E-Design Service! I have received so many inquires about designing privately for you all and I am so excited that the timing is finally right to do so! See below for all of the details:Actually-Asshley-E-Design

What exactly is E-Design?
E-Design is a digital interior decorating service for you to get a custom designed space for your home regardless of your location or budget. With years of experience in the design industry, Actually Ashley will decorate your room, or entire home, without having to retain a traditional full-service interior designer. E-Design is a do-it-yourself decorating solution that provides you with design boards and source lists to create a professionally decorated space that you can buy and install at your own pace. You provide us with your room measurements, before photos, & budget and we will custom design your personal digital plan and source list that fits your needs, style, and space.

What will my E-Design Package Include?

  • Digital Consultation: Upon reaching out, Actually Ashley will ask you to fill out a quick and easy questionnaire to get a better idea of your wants, needs and style. Once we establish a design direction and your budget we will begin designing your space!
  • Design Boards: Do you have a hard time envisioning what a fully designed room might look like? Our E-Design Boards will help you see the space by showing you images of all furniture, wallpaper, art and other decor. These boards will show you how the different design components come together to create a fully decorated space.
  • Space Planning: After you provide measurements of your room, Actually Ashley will provide a furniture layout of your space drawn to scale. Each item in your Design Board will coordinate to your space plan and show you how to arrange your new furniture in the room.
  • Revisions: Your E-Design Package includes one revision round to provide solutions to an concerns after the initial designs are provided.
  • Source List: We will provide you with the designs and you do the rest! After creating your e-design boards and space plans- we will provide an organized shopping list with easy links for online retailers for you to purchase every item in the design. You can purchase all at once, or at your own pace to create the room of your dreams!

How are your E-Design Services Priced?

Our E-design Services are priced based on the size and scale of the room requested. Decorating Services will begin upon payment and will take 2-3 weeks to deliver full E-Design Package after your digital consultation.

$350.00- Foyer, Powder Room, Breakfast Room, Home Office, Nursery and Kids Bedrooms

$450.00- Family Room, Living Room, Bedrooms and Dining Room

$500.00- Kitchen and Bathrooms

$50.00 Per Hour- Need help selecting a good paint color, picking a backsplash tile or want to know what headboard would go great with your existing style? If you have a quick design questions I am here to help!

Do you have examples of E-Design?

Yes! You’re in luck! To celebrate the launch of our E-Design Services, Actually Ashley is providing a free E-Designs! Today I am sharing a Modern Kitchen with clickable links to explore the design for yourself, free of any charge! Check it out:


 

 

Actually-Ashley-Modern-Kitchen-E-Design

1. Pendant Light 2. Backsplash Option One 3. Backsplash Option Two 4. Counter 5. Cabinets6. Faucet | 7. Floor Tile | 8. Cabinet Hardware


1. Pendant Light- Progress Lighting Alexa 4-in W Brushed Nickel Mini Pendant Light with White Shade- Price: $64.54


2. Backsplash Option One- Anatolia Tile Java Mixed Material (Stone and Glass) Mosaic Wall Tile- Price: $10.98 each


3. Backsplash Option Three- Anatolia Tile Java Mixed Material (Stone and Glass) Mosaic Squares Wall Tile – Price: $10.98


4. Countertop- allen + roth Sugarbrush Quartz Kitchen Countertop- Price Dependent on Size


5. Cabinets- Wolf-Dartmouth in Dark Sable- Price Dependent on Quantity


6. Faucet- Giagni Fresco Stainless Steel 1-Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet-Price: $199.00


7. Floor Tile- Style Selections Ivetta White Glazed Porcelain Floor Tile -Price: $2.19 each


8. Hardware- Style Selections 7-1/2-in Center-to-Center Brushed Satin Nickel Bar Cabinet Pull- Price: $5.37 each


Source for look photo: Unknown, Pinterest.


 Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you’re as excited for the new E-Design services as I am! If you’d like to check out more of my professional designs from past projects- check out my online portfolio here and my resume here and here. If you’d like to try out the E-Design Services please shoot me an email at actuallyashleyblogs@gmail.com.

Pick Five- J Crew

Rounding up my five favorite picks from J Crew


Hey there!

I have been really enjoying my new Pick Five series. I recently wrapped up my five favorite items from Pottery Barn and Z Gallerie– and received lots of great feedback! Thank you for reaching out, it is always so great to hear from you guys! Today I want to switch gears from home goods to fashion. I am rounding up my favorite picks from J Crew. I have a quite few items from J Crew- and I am always so impressed with their quality. I have washed my favorite J Crew button down about a hundred times and it still looks brand-spanking-new. While they may be a bit more pricey than another store like it- I know the items will last. I also love how J Crew’s style seems sort of timeless. While they have some trendy items- overall I think their style looks just as great from five years ago. I’m sure I will still love their clothing in another five years. So here is the 5 items I am totally digging from J Crew right now: Actually-Ashley-Pick-Five-JCrew

 

 

1. Classic Popover Plaid Button-Down  |  2. Graphic scarf with Tassels  |  3. Gingham Linen Shorts4. Austrian Lace Pencil Skirt5. Beaded Tassel Earrings


  1. Classic Popover Paid Button Down- $78.00- I love J Crew’s plaids. They are always such great color combinations and are easy to mix and match. This one I particularly love because it it made from a gauzy-cotton material that is great for the hot summer nights!

    2. Graphic Scarf With Tassels- 59.50- This is a great layering item and so easy to pack for a weekend trip! I love the navy and kelly green colors for a preppy summer outfit.


    3. Gingham Linen Shorts- $59.50 now $39.99- I struggle to find shorts that fit properly. Its either a perfect fit on my legs and huge in my waist, or it fits my waist but are WAYYYYYY to short. I love J Crew because they have shorts that are long enough for my frame. I love this navy and white gingham pattern and they are on a super great sale right now!


    4. Austrian Lace Pencil Skirt- $198.00- This cutie comes in white or black. It is such a great staple for a work wardrobe as it seems so timeless! J Crew says: “We updated the classic pencil skirt in luxurious lace from Hämmerle & Vogel, the Austrian fabric house that’s been making beautiful textiles and embroidery since 1900. We love that our designers added a sleek, comfortable inner lining that really highlights its intricate details.”


    5. Beaded Tassel Earrings- $65.00- This is such a fun accessory! I love wearing long earrings when I pull my hair back to really show off the jewels! These come in the green color shown as well as a more classic gold! 


Thanks so much for checking in! I have been having so much fun with this “Pick Five” series, and I hope you’re loving some of my selections. Check out my previous posts: Pick Five- Pottery Barn and  Pick Five- Z Gallerie. Also be sure to follow along on my Instagram and Pinterest Pages. I try to update them as often as I can. Thanks so much for checking in. Hope to hear from you in the comments below!

Until Next Time,

Ashley