Category

Home Decor

I started this journey as a small-town-girl not knowing exactly what to expect- but have gotten so much joy in sharing my experiences along the way. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design, I worked my tail off trying to make a name for myself in a very cut-throat business. After years of working as a full-time designer, I’m switching my focus and trying a new approach. Follow along on my journey as my husband, two dogs and I take the plunge- moving from the hustle and bustle of Washington, DC to a 60 acre tree farm in the middle-of-no-where Ohio. Joing along as I share everything in home decor- from photos of professional designs, decor tips and tricks in our new home, interior styling and everything in between!


Getting My Fix: Stitch Fix Review 10

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

Hello Friends!

I am so excited to share with you some amazing items I received in my last Stitch Fix shipment! Last week my husband and I finally announced our very exciting news that we will be expecting our first child this summer! We are so excited for this big change in our lives. Speaking of big changes… my belly is steadily growing each week. While I forgot to change my profile before this shipment arrived, I made sure to update and notify my stylist for next month to receive their new Stitch Fix Maternity gear! They have also recently launched Stitch Fix for Men and Stitch Fix Plus Sizes! They seriously have something for just about everyone now! Some of you have been asking my how exactly Stitch Fix works… Well, I got you covered! First create an account here. Fill out the style profile and sizing information. The more specific you are the better! You can even add a link to a style or fashion Pinterest board to show them what you love.  Once you complete your profile, set up a date you’d like to receive your fix. A personal stylist will review all of that information and select five items they think you’ll love. If you download the Stitch Fix App, you can edit your profile and track shipments right from your smart phone. I love seeing this beautiful box on my door step! Your first fix will arrive right on schedule. Open up your fix and take a look! They provide you with detailed outfit ideas and a personalized note from your stylist. You’ll have time to try everything on and decide which items you’re going to keep. There is a $20 styling fee which will be deducted from your total if you purchase anything! In your package will be an invoice which lays out the price of each item. You only pay for what you’re going to keep. If you want to return anything, just package up the items in the prepaid packaging and leave it for the post man to pick up! Go onto your app or the Stitch Fix website to check out, give feedback and schedule your next fix. Easy as that!

Another question I get a lot, is what is the average price per item in my shipments? It honestly depends on the brands they send and the item. A nicer jacket or amazing denim will run around $60, while a cute top might be closer to $30. You can also give them a price point in your style profile! Now, onto my fix from this month!


1: 41Hawthorn- Ayesha Textured Button Detail Pullover- ReturnedLook at that little bump! This sweater was cute, and comfortable. I opted to return it because I have so many white sweaters already, but it was a good one! I paired it with dark denim jeans an camel colored boots.


2: Pixley- Abriella Waffle Knit Cardigan- KeptHoly cow, this sucker is so comfortable. Like, really really comfortable. Its a great neutral dark grey and has become a great item to throw on over a plain t-shirt to run to the store this winter. I kept the same dark jeans and camel boots for this look.


3: Loveappella- Evie Draw String Funnel Neck Sweatshirt- Kept

I was on the fence about this one, but my husband convinced me to keep it. Boy, he was right! This simple purple sweatshirt has become a weekly part of my new “comfort-is-key” pregnancy looks. It is soft, light weight and easy to throw on with jeans. I am so happy I decided to keep this one!


4: Mystree- Kotor Plaid Front Knit Top- ReturnedI really wanted to love this one when I saw it in my box. I really did. I like plaid, and the material was great! There was just something weird about the fit on me. I’m not sure if it was my growing baby bump or these weirdly large armpits.. but I had to return this one.


5: Toms- Classic Slip-On Flats- ReturnedMy stylist sent me this pair of red Toms. I love the idea of Toms, and the amazing things the company does. I know most people swear they are so comfortable and love theirs. They just seem to no have enough support for my taste. The canvas sides seem to rub slightly weird, and I do not like it. I sent this pair back because I knew I was not going to be wearing them too much.

Thats a wrap! Be sure to check out Stitch Fix if you’re interested! I love their services and would highly recommend it for anyone interested! Let me know what you thought of this shipment in the comments below. I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Ashley

Professional Design: Majesty West Model

Wow! You have to see this Crisp and Clean Model Home in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia


Good Morning! I have such a fun house to share with you today! If you’re new around here, let me fill you in! I work as an interior designer for a large design firm in Washington DC called P[Four]. We design several different types of projects from commercial spaces, multi family, and offices- but our specialty is designing Model Homes for builders along the Eastern Seaboard.  Over the summer I designed this beautiful townhouse built by MI Homes in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. My firm P[Four] really knocked it out of the park with this one. Majesty West is a four story stunner with two roof top patios, beautiful details and crisp white walls. I am so happy with how the project turned out and hope you love it as much as I do! Photographer Maxine Schnitzer took some amazing photos of the Majesty West Model and I’m happy to share them with you now:

majesty_west__actually_ashley_exterior-160607majesty_west_actually_ashley_living-room-3-160607majesty_west_actually_ashley_living-room-2-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_living-room-1-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_kitchen-6-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_kitchen-4-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_kitchen-3-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_dining-2-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_nook-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_master-bedroom-1-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_master-bedroom-2-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_secondary-bedroom-2-160607 majesty_west__actually_ashley_secondary-bedroom-1-160607majesty_west_0021_guest-bedroom-1-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_living-room-4-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_living-room-5-160607majesty_west_0021_loft-1-160607majesty_west_0021_terrace-3-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_terrace-2-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_terrace-1-160607majesty_west__actually_ashley_master-bathroom-1-160607Beautiful, right? Even The Washington Post did a full article on the home and all of its amenities. They highlighted the perks of the beautifully designed kitchen here:

“We like to cook so we like the huge kitchen island and lots of prep space,” she said. The 10-foot-long marble island is designed with the waterfall feature, meaning the marble top falls to the floor. The microwave is hidden behind a cabinet door with a swing-up hinge. Ceiling lights are recessed, and the ceiling is pre-wired for a sound system. A little alcove houses a pantry, utility closet and powder room. Double-hung windows are large and let in lots of natural light. “Even on cloudy days it’s bright inside,” said Pam Swartz, new home consultant with Prime Building Advantage”

I hope you like Maxine Schnitzer’s photos of one of my favorite designs I worked on this year. I can not wait to share some more homes from my professional portfolio soon!

Until Next Time,
Ashley

Kitchen Update

Good Morning!

Thanks for checking back with me on the progress of our new home. We moved in over a month ago now, I can hardly believe it. September came and went in the blink of an eye.

Thank you for the wonderful feedback on the progress of our living room. It is nowhere near done, but it feels so good to see how far it has come over the last month! today I wanted to give you an update on how our kitchen is coming along. Remember, these photos are not going to be cute or pin worthy. Please don’t judge me!

We stayed in our house with the previous owners over the summer for a few days so they could show us around the area. They have been so wonderful to us and so very welcoming. Here is our kitchen before when we stayed with them (Sorry for the humans, they didn’t realize they’d be featured on the blog):

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I knew right off the bat that I wanted to paint the cabinets. The dark wood with the dark counters felt so… dark. It needed to be lightened up a bit. I also hated the bulkheads. Especially the one floating in mid air above the countertop. I knew if we painted the bulkhead and the cabinets the same color throughout the rest of the kitchen it would make the ceilings feel taller without having the cost of buying new cabinets (aka the big bucks). We took on the task of painting these babies ourselves. Huge shoutout to my mom who lost a week of her life painting these with me- I love you, you’re the best. dsc_0562 dsc_0561We started by making a huge mess on the counters removing the doors and drawer fronts. We laid them all out on the porch to sand and paint separately. We sanded each with 220 grit sandpaper then washed them with TSP. We propped the doors up on 2×4 so we could paint the edges. dsc_0593We decided to use the same bonding primer on the cabinets that we used on the walls. It took 3 coats of primer and 2-3 costs of paint to get the dark wood fully covered. dsc_0583 dsc_0585I also took this as my chance to remove said bulkhead above the counter, rip out the cabinets and bulkhead above the stove and take out the backsplash beadboard… and really piss off my husband. We’d decided to paint and not do anything else for a bit. I got ahead of myself on this one.  dsc_0589Its not pretty, but its progress. The kitchen looks amazing with the cabinets painted white and even kept the same hardware. dsc_0612I want to add a decorative range hood over the stove top, with floating shelves on either side to house our every-day-dishes. This is the closest thing I could find that kind of get the idea across:Floating Shelves, Concrete Counters, and Marble Herringbone Backsplash || Studio McGee:

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So now the debate is on to find the right backsplash tile that has the look we want but the price point we can afford. I picked up a few options from Lowe’s and Home Depot. img_8752I love the look of the white/grey marble mosaics but these four options got the boot because they all run from $10-$15 per square foot. We’ve got some ground to cover so that number has to be cut in half, yikes.

dsc_0613These two options are from Floor and Décor. They are between $6-$9 per square foot but are much smaller scale than the pervious options. It hard to tell but the actual individual tiles are less than 2 inches long x .5 inches. It seems so tiny on such a huge wall.

I’ve ordered a few more choices. I’ll hopefully find one that is perfect in both style and price here shortly!So that is where we are at!

We still need to:

  • Build a DIY faux range hood with under mount light. The stove top has a built in fan so we do not need it to be anything more than pretty
  • Find and install the marble mosaic backsplash.
  • Hang new light fixtures. I’ve had two electricians in here this week to get me quotes. I’d like to add some recess lights and hang oversized pendants over the “island”.
  • Find and install a new faucet. I’d like something a little bit more modern-farmhouse style
  • Long term: Replace counter tops and install a farmhouse sink. That will have to wait a few more years.

Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out the progress on the kitchen. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Right?!

Until Next Time,

Ashley

Living Room Update: We Painted Everything..

Hey There!

Happy to be back to check in and let you know about the progress on our new home. If you’re new to the blog- My husband and I just purchased a new home. We moved from Washington DC to Columbus Ohio just over a month ago. The house was perfect and needed nothing done… but you know me… I decided that every room needed to be painted, that we needed new lighting, and some minor demo in the kitchen.Actually-Ashley-Ohio-Home We’ve been busy over the last few weeks but still have so much to do. I am excited to start sharing our journey along the way. Lets start with the living room! Let me warn you- these photos are not cute, not worthy of Pinterest, and just to show you where I’m at. Please don’t judge me too bad!

This is photos from the day we got the keys to the house:dsc_0547 dsc_0551 dsc_0553dsc_0549I love this space. It has beautiful trim details, large fireplace, and wonderful windows. But, the blue paint made the room feel so heavy. I decided to paint it. I feel like some white on the bottom of the walls will help lighten the entire space. We are lucky to have 4 beautiful windows that over look the garden, and the white paint will help to reflect the natural light. I opted to paint the top of the walls a light and airy blue/green color to add contrast and brightness.

 The house had all oil based paint, which if you’ve ever moved into a house with oil based paint, you know it is a nightmare. Every surface needed to be sanded, cleaned with TSP, two coats of bonding primer, three coats of latex paint… like I said, nightmare.

 Here is the room after a good sanding and cleaning with TSP:dsc_0581 dsc_0582Let me tell you, it feels so much happier being painted! We ditched the little dividers in the windows and just painted the window sills black. I am hoping it will be less harsh once we have window treatments. We dropped in our furniture and I tossed in some random accessories to make it feel sort-of-like-a-real-room. Here is the current state:dsc_0615 dsc_0614

So what’s left?

  • Swap out the sconces for something more our style. I am thinking something with a more sculptural aspect to it but haven’t found the right one yet.
  • Hang some curtains to add texture. I just followed this DIY Tutorial to make my own Lucite rods, I couldn’t be more excited for them to arrive. I really feel like they will add a level of sophistication to the room.
  • Hang some artwork in the space. I have a bunch of stuff to play with, but I am waiting to hang the curtains so I can get the right heights for the artwork.
  • Play with the accessories to make it feel like our home.. notice my huge pile in the corner? I said don’t judge me!dsc_0619That’s it for the progress update for the new living room. I’m so happy you stopped by. Feel free to check out my Pinterest and Instagram to see all of the house progress!

Until Next Time,

Ashley

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

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

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

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.

Favorite Pendant Lights

Rounding up my favorite pendant lights that fit into any decor style, and tips on how to hang them in your own home


Lets get real: Pendants can be a tricky thing to get right. As a designer- I see homeowners that feel light they are stuck with the builder grade pendants that were there when they moved in… not the case at all. In fact, switching out light fixtures is one of the easiest ways you can quickly update a space. #hellohandyman

Scale, shape and style can determine if your lighting choice makes a design come together or tear it apart. Personally, I really love a huge oversized pendant that makes a statement in a room. I often sub out traditionally sized pendants for chandeliers to create a bigger impact on the design. So how to you know what size light to get?

A good rule of thumb that your light should be about 1/3 the size of the surface below it or for larger areas like an island- think 12″ smaller than the edges. For example: if you’re hanging a pendant over a nightstand in your bedroom, and the nightstand is 30 inches in diameter, your pendant should be no smaller than 10 inches diameter. The bigger the fixture, the bigger the impact it will have on your design.

Tips for hanging your lights:

An ideal distance between your pendant and kitchen island is 28-32 inches. See those big beauties over that island?! LOVE! (Ignore the chandelier over the kitchen table, this is an example of builder grade fixtures that have not been switched out for something better yet)12304200_10153130112155248_1860542492900164880_oSource

Pendant lights over a side table or nightstand should be a little lower, about 25-30 inches from the table surface. How sweet is this kids bedroom at a beach home designed by my firm, P [Four]. Adding the pendant light above the shared nightstand added texture and interest to the room. 333E4310 Source

If you’re using a pendant in your bathroom, hang the fixtures around 60 inches from the finished floor, and layer it with your mirror to create depth. Do not hang the light too high so that it is floating all around above the mirror. Layering it creates an anchor. This amazing master bathroom was designed by my boss, Shawn Evans and was featured by Home & Design Magazine333E4176Source

Now, lets get to my picks. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite pendant lights from different design styles. Each one offers something so great about it, however I am partial to numbers 2 and 16 because I’m using them for the kitchen and dining room of our new home in Ohio!

Source-Pendant Lights- Actually Ashley

1. Pulley System Pendant  | 2. Brushed Iron Pendant  | 3. Warehouse Pendant  | 4. Industrial Farmhouse Pendant  | 5. Spudnick Pendant | 6. Interlocking Triangle Pendant | 7. Modern Task Pendant | 8. Gold Globe Pendant | 9. Classic Glass Pendant |  10. Silver and Crystal Pendant11. Gold Arabesque Pendant12. Moroccan Quatrefoil Pendant | 13. Carved Wood and Glass Pendant | 14. Iron and Wood Rectangular Pendant | 15. Sisal and Distressed Wood Pendant | 16. Round Wood Pendant

Check me out on Instagram and Pinterest to see more home decor ideas! So, what pendants are you drawn to? I’d love to hear from you, leave me a comment below!

Until Next Time,

Ashley

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