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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fresh & Clean Challenge | $250 Gift Card Giveaway




Since I released my Everyday Essentials Bottles, I have received emails from many of you telling me what a difference they make on your counter, in your bathroom and in your laundry room.  Sometimes it can be the simplest things that make the difference!

Today is MOVING DAY!  As you can imagine, I've been day dreaming of perfectly organized everything at the new house.  In this day dream, each closet, cabinet and pantry is stocked and tidy all of the time - and I never leave towels on the floor, and Emma picks up after herself... and doesn't splatter paint on the cabinets/walls.  Notice that Mike is left out of this day dream because Mike is actually the (only?) one in our household who will actually put everything back where he got it, his clothes will be put in the hamper and keep his drawers and closet perfectly perfect.

I, on the other hand, was not built that way.  Or at least that is my excuse.  Actually, being a "creative" type has always been my excuse.  Most of the day I am going - fast, getting things done, putting out fires, making dinner, running a business - like all of us I'm (we're!) busy.  I move at a fairly fast clip most of the time, leaving turmoil in my path - in the kitchen, in my closet and in my car ; )   I don't like to live amongst clutter, so at the end of the day I spend a chunk of time picking up after myself.  I always think it would be so much easier if I just did this along the way.

Baking Pantry Post
















You're probably thinking, but your photos always look so perfect - I assumed you were a neat freak.  What I am really good at is making things look pretty.  There is not a lot I enjoy more than organizing and making utilitarian spaces look pretty... I'm just not the best at maintaining them.  For me, it is like an art project.

Linen Storage Post










In fact it might surprise you to know there is a quote that I love, "a well-kept house is a sign of a poorly lived life."  So much truth to that.   I don't want keeping a home to rule my life, but I don't want a messy home keeping me from enjoying every second either.

Emma's Nursery Post 




SO.  What I do want to attempt to do is make the process of keeping a home easier.  Having clutter in closets, pantries and cabinets gives me stress.  I want not to spend my time at the end of the day picking up after myself.   I want to spend it drinking wine on the couch... or in my new bath tub.

Here are my goals :

1)  I want there to be a place for everything.
2)  I want us to have less clutter and consume less.
3)  I want everything to function and be easy to keep clean.
4)  I want every corner of the house to be stress-free.
5)  I want to spend less time picking up at the end of the day, and more time drinking wine : )









Moving into a new house is almost like January 1 - a fresh start and new resolutions.  As we unpack (in just a couple of hours!), I'm going to resolve to set up each area of the house to function at a high level and be easy to maintain - self cleaning.



Who's with me?  I know that the Spring Cleaning frenzy was a couple of months ago, but I'm challenging you to look at your home - what areas drive you crazy?  What closet gives you a headache?  Does your kitchen keep you from actually cooking?

I'm looking for support!  Do you have really creative home organizing ideas that work really well?


Here is the challenge : 

1) Take an area of your house that brings you down and transform it into something pretty.

3) Use an Everyday Occasions product to help you - Fresh and Clean Bottles, Glass Spice Jars, Linens, Kitchen Brushes... or any of my products that helped you!

3) Send a photo to me of the After (don't worry about a Before picture!) to jenny@jennysteffens.com subject : Fresh & Clean Challenge

4) Deadline : June 1st

You'll be entered for a chance to win a $250 gift card for my store!  I can't wait to see what you all come up with : )

Happy Post-Spring Cleaning!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Emma's Pink Mini Flower Wallpaper | Thanks Mom!


Up until about 30 years ago my Pops (grandpa) owned Schriefer Flooring Co. in Lexington Mo.  They carried carpet, wallpaper, paint, and other decorating supplies - all housed in the charming small town downtown in an old brick building with a pressed tin ceiling (now a tea room).  My Mom worked in the store after college and did some wallpaper hanging for their clients and her friends.

When I told her I planned to have Emma's room papered in a pink floral she insisted - we can do it!  I had received a bid for $500, which seemed like a little too much, for something we could take care of in a day's work.  So, the weekend before Mother's Day, we went to it.  During our long (very long) day, we did discuss many times if we still thought it was worth it.  At 6pm on that Sunday night we weren't quite sure!  The next day when I went over to take these photos it seemed totally worth it.

It was a long day, but in the end it was fun to do together.  Emma "helped" us brush on paste, and when we made a tiny mistake here and there, we reminded Emma (and ourselves) that we were hanging it with love : )  So much our of house had been taken care of by the pros that it felt great to get in there and do something ourselves - make a beautiful, pink flower room that Emma loves.   I should also mentioned that it was a big family work day - my Dad and Mike built our fence while we were papering... talk about a big day!  We got so much done thanks to their help.  Thanks Mom and Dad!




Here is the Insta post that I shared when I found "the" paper.  After hunting and hunting in fancy wallpaper stores and on fancy wallpaper websites, I realized that I wanted something that felt a little older.   Maybe even something that looked like it had belonged in the house in the 40's or 50's when it was built.  Something sweet.  And pink, of course.  I landed at Sherwin Williams browsing through books.  After looking at fancy papers ($70-90/roll) I was thrilled to find that this paper was $18/roll and everything I was looking for.

Sherwin Williams

Manufacturer: Patton Wallcoverings
Book Name: P CHOICE BASIX PETITE PRINTS
Pattern Number: PR33848
Color: PINK/MAUVE/ROSE


As always, it is hard to get a photo of the true color in a room like this with natural light and the chandelier competing.   I just love all of the nooks in Emma's room.  I think rooms with dormered windows were meant for floral wallpaper!  

  I really didn't want to touch her room at all - I wanted it to be like a time capsule of her baby room.  It feels very much the same as it did before, but now with very sweet pink flowers.


This is a photo of the paper still drying - you can see it is a little wet in places.  From the hall it just reads pale pink, you can barely see the pattern, which I think will be great for helping it grow with her.


This is the new fixture for her room, a 3 Arm Brass Chandelier from Sandwich Lanterns on Cape Cod.  I love the unlaqured finish and classic design.  I may add shades...?





 Last year for Mother's Day, I made this Inspiration Board for Emma's new room.  I'm still working from the same board, but probably adding a bit more of a big girl feel.  Amazing what a year does : )

I'm still looking for a pine dresser - I found one that is perfect, but will need to wait a little bit before I pull the trigger.



This is the photo in the left corner was the inspiration for papering her room.  The print I selected is much more subtle, but I hope it still lends the same charming effect.

After our long day of papering (and saving money!), I rewarded us with doing some bedding shopping for Emma's new room.  Just like in the photo, I pulled the deep pink out of the wallpaper to use on her bed.


I picked this duvet cover from Pottery Barn - white with an embroidered pink border.  I also did a white sham with pink monogram, but picked a different pattern.  The color is a little more muted in person - just a true pink.  (I didn't order the bright patterned quilt and shams shown here.)

I actually found it on the PBTeen site, because I couldn't find the colors I was looking for at PB Kids.  I always forget to check there, but they have great options.

*This is not PB sponsored - though I wish ; )


Tomorrow is MOVE IN DAY.  Yeah!  Forgive me if it is quiet for a couple of days - be sure to follow our move in progress on Instagram


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Interior Paint | Ben Moore Navajo White, Carrington Beige and Quiet Moments


Come on in!  Yesterday, I shared the exterior paint photos and today is the day for interior.  Warning, there are a lot of pictures.  Most of the interior is Benjamin Moore Navajo White - trim and walls.  It is different than Sherwin Williams Navajo White - the BM doesn't have quite as much color.  It was the same color that we had in our old house, and is my favorite warm, off-white.  It just seems to work everywhere.  It has a lot more color than most whites, but I think that makes it seem richer, and more neutral, rather than just white.

After saying that, I have to admit, paint is so hard!   I almost lightened it up.  But, I stuck with my instincts, knowing that I wanted our big open room to feel warm and cozy, not stark.  I wanted color, and I wanted a bit of contrast of whites.  It helped me to start thinking about layering whites, creams and ivories and treating them as colors, themselves.  Hopefully you'll agree ; )

This the front foyer.  We opened this area up and lost a little closet, but it now matches the more open, bigger house.

Paint : Ben Moore Navajo White - Trim in Satin, Walls in Eg-Shel


Love this picture light!


Here is our old living room.  As I talked about in the exterior paint post, I love tone-on-tone matchy paint.  Something about it looks more like those colonial farmhouses I love.

I wanted to change the color to be a bit deeper, so it felt cozier, since the rest of the house is bright and open.  There is also a lot of light in the room from large picture window, so it could handle some color.

BM Carrington Beige, Satin on trim, Eg-Shel on Walls.


I really love, love this room.  Since both mantles are the same design, I wanted the paint on the mantle and in this room to feel different - and the paint does just that.  


From the old living room into the new big room and kitchen.  More tone-on-tone.  I wanted the millwork and beams to stand out in a subtle way, so I kept the colors the same.  I think that if the trim is "accented" with a light color then all you see is the color - I wanted to see the detailed millwork.  I really love this entire room... and can't believe I will get to be cooking here next week!

Ben Moore Navajo White, Satin on Trim and Cabinetry, Eg-Shel on Walls.


And chandelier for dining area!  Sources coming later.


This is the first glimpse of the wood island top (more details later!) and Cape Cod Lanterns over the island!



The floor guys were there - here is sample of new color.  I wanted to match old floor color (all floors will be re-finished, I just liked what was there before), so we ended up with Mixwax Dark Walnut. 


Back to view from kitchen area - you can see Mike's office/library (man room...) thru the french doors where our old garage was.




This is the mudroom behind kitchen - also Navajo White, satin on walls and trim in here for easy cleaning.


Shaker pegs!  We re-used the old lights in our old kitchen and I (still) love them.


Back to big room - where the dining table will go.  We will be using our old table for now, but the hunt (and the saving...) has started.  Mostly saving : )


And view into library.


The Pine paneling is stained Jacobean.


Stained wood is hard to photograph the true color - but it looks greats, especially with the brass sconces on the bookcases.


Ok, up the stairs!


Stairs and landing are all Navajo White, too.  You can see our old bedroom is now our "Blue" room, and the door with the glass is the laundry.

You'll notice that one bedroom is missing in these photos - I'm saving Emma's pink wallpaper room for its own post!


The 4th bedroom is painted the same as old Living Room - Carrington Beige, Satin on Trim, Eg-Shel on walls.



Our "Blue Room" is Ben Moore Quiet Moments, Satin on Trim and Eg Shel on walls.


Secret passageway!


This is our bedroom - sort of a dark photo.  This is the old Cape Cod Lighting Co. lantern that hung over our dining room table.  The paint is Navajo White.


Here are our closets!  I will talk about hardware, too, at some point - maybe a big resources post later.  They are Schlage Oil Rubbed Bronze - a "living" finish, so they will patina and age, to show bronze through.  I wanted some contrast with all of our creamy paint and brass lights.


My favorite part- view into bathroom.


Ahhh.  Moment of serenity.  Especially in rooms like this, I'm so glad we went with the wood interior grills on the windows - they add so much architectural interest.


Wait, maybe this is moment of serenity.  So many times when we've been covered in mud as we've been in the back yard, I wanted to come up and take a soak!

Paint is all Navajo White in Satin.


View back into room.


And glass shower doors and plumbing fixtures this week!

Ok, thanks for making it to the end - I almost didn't... did you notice how short my captions got?  
I will definitely share lighting post very soon with all resource links.  
Officially 1 week from move in day!  I wish I could drink champagne with all of you : )

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Exterior Paint | Sherwin Williams Muslin to match Anderson Windows Canvas



We are so close to being ready to move back into the house - only one week left.  It doesn't seem real.  At all.  Ah!  Of course after waiting and waiting for so long (patiently?) I feel like there a million things that I need to get done between now and then!  Not today.  Today, I'm taking the morning "off."  I'm drinking my coffee in my PJs and writing blog posts and enjoying these photos.  We've been working so hard on the yard (and new DIY patio, details coming soon!) that I've earned a break in front of the computer today - away from the mud.

The interior and exterior painting were finished last week.  I haven't been able to share many details of the paint because the house was really off limits while the painters were working.  Then the day they finished the electricians swooped in a started hanging light fixtures.  So, you get to see a lot today!  I started with putting interior and exterior photos on this one post as well, but it was getting very lengthy, so I'll post those tomorrow.  Promise - writing it today.

Here we go!

As you know, so much of the design inspiration from our house came from our time in New England.  I love the early american, farm and coastal architecture there.  In fact, it was what I loved most about living there - but I didn't like being away from our family.  So, we thought, we'll just build a New England-esque house at home and have the best of both worlds.  Okay, so I don't have the beach, mountains and all of the colonial history minutes from our house... but, I can pretend : )

Below I talk a little bit about our various travels and where the inspiration for the paint scheme came from.  We knew we wanted a white-ish house, but with a little more warmth.  So, creamy.  But not too yellow, not too warm.  My favorite off-white is Benjamin Moore's Navajo White, which we used all over interior for walls and trim in main areas of the house.  I thought it would be a perfect match outside, too, but we needed to match our clad Andersen Windows.

Note : we are still waiting for the shutters, which will be painted to match the front door, SW Iron Ore.



As you may recall, I chose the Canvas color for the exterior clad of the Windows (Andersen 400s) because I knew I didn't want the house to be white-white.  So, we upgraded the windows from the 200s to the 400s to get the Canvas color option.  Andersen provided the exact match for the window color in Sherwin Williams Muslin, which is just a shade more saturated than Navajo White.  I tested the colors next to the windows and it worked perfectly.

*I mentioned before (this is non-sponsored, by the way) that we ordered our Andersen Windows from Home Depot.  We saved almost $4K compared to a local Andersen dealer.  Crazy.  Highly recommend!

I was a little nervous that the house would seem light beige instead of off-white, but I really think it turned out perfect.  I love classic white houses, but all of my favorite houses of all time were a little more creamy, so we took the risk.


Another risk was leaving the dormers and garage front in natural cedar shake instead of painting them like the rest of the house.  I'm so glad we did.  I feel like it really transformed the house from a standard looking cape to a charming cottage.  We wanted to do a cedar roof, but the cost was a little crazy, so adding the cedar element to the dormers and garage added that cedar element.

To make the final decision, we went back and looked at some inspiration photos :


This is was a house that we both loved that we found on our trip to Nantucket (more photos of our trip to here) last fall.  Note the very creamy trim, black shutters and natural cedar.  During the building process we kept coming back to this photo for inspiration.  It helped to have something to show subs and the builder, too, to help them realize you aren't crazy : )


Another house we've always loved was the Bedford Post Inn in Bedford, Ny.  We visited there a couple of years ago when I went to the Martha Stewart Show and toured her offices.


They have a lighter trim, but still same creamy siding.  You can see other photos from our Trip to Bedford Post Inn here.


Martha Stewart's Turkey Hill Home, old (when Martha owned it, above) and renovated (by new owners, below).

I really wanted to do the trim and the siding the same color - there is something about that tone-on-tone look that I love.  I love how subtle it is.  I love how it makes the millwork around the windows and door look.  For me, it lets the millwork stand out on its own, without relying on an "accent" color.  Her color is more grey/beige than ours, but I like the way it looks.


This is the renovated color.  It looks very much like our muslin, but not sure what the actual color is.


Side view of the new Turkey Hill.


Another point of inspiration (especially for tone-on-tone paint) was our trip to Deerfield, Mass.  In coincidences of all coincidences, as I was explaining my inspiration to our painter he told me he went to boarding school in Deerfield.  Yes, our painter in Kansas went to boarding school in Deerfield, Mass.  Such a small world.
More photos from our trip to Deerfield Mass.


Ok, back to our house.  Here is a glimpse of the landscaping I've been working on.


We ordered another Concord Lantern in Antique Brass (this one a wall mount) from Cape Cod Lighting Co., another nod to our time in Concord and on the Cape.  We had a lantern from the same collection over our dining room (that will now be in our bedroom) and I had two smaller ones made for over the island.

Also, I forgot to take a photo of the Barn Lights above the garage - also from Cape Code Lighting Co.


I really like this perspective of the house - see that big window?  Above the tub!  I really think the exterior grills on the windows make a big architectural impact on the house.   You can see how the house looks the same as it did from the front, but grows subtly out the back - just what we wanted to do.

Then, when you get in the back yard...


An entirely new look - but still colonial inspired.  
I forgot to take a full photo of the back after plastic had been removed, so this is one from my phone. 



Here are the copper lanterns on the porch!  There are 3, with 2 fans in between.   These are from Sandwich Lantern Co., also handmade on Cape Cod.  The owner is so awesome (and funny!) to work with.  Just talking to him on the phone takes me back to the salty air.


You can see another glimpse of the garden coming along.  This photo is a little outdated as we finished the new patio yesterday!  Mike and I (with Emma's help) built it ourselves in two days - I'll share the details later this week... after sod is in!

Interior photos coming tomorrow.  Thanks for sharing in my excitement - it has made it such a fun journey!  I can say that now that it is almost over : )

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