When we learned that I would be having another boy, so many people were disappointed that we wouldn’t have a little girl. I, for one, was not. Don’t get me wrong! I absolutely adore all of my nieces, and the idea of having a child who might actually enjoy shopping or someone to get pedicures with would certainly be fun - and expensive! And, I know for a fact that Chris would never be able to tell her no!
After having two boys already, I feel like I know what I’m doing, even if so many things have changed since they were born. Between balls, Legos, superheroes, and anything with wheels, I think I’ve gotten the hang of this #boymom thing! (Please note, I am also fairly certain this child will be totally different than my first two, and I will have to eat my words!)
When it came time to choose how to decorate the nursery for our little boy, I decided that since we were starting over on a new adventure to incorporate that into the theme and use maps. First things first, I started my Pinterest board of Nursery Ideas. I couldn’t find any bedding I really liked, so I searched Etsy and discovered this beautiful handmade bedding set from Hagar in Israel. After talking to my sister, Leigh, about how much I loved the fabric and wished I could find curtain panels to match, she coordinated with my other sisters and my Mama to order the bedding, and Hagar even made the curtain panels too!
We planned a date for all of them (plus my dear Aunt Wanda) to come over and paint the walls. Originally, this room was Caleb’s nursery with bright green walls to go with the green gingham and frog bedding we used for him and Seth. Over the years, it’s been a play room, a guest room, my father’s room when he’s had to stay with us after surgeries, and most recently, a bedroom for my sister, Latacha, and niece, Kasey. Once they found a place of their own, my boys and I set to work priming the walls to cover the bright green so we’d be ready when everyone came over to do the real painting.
Since it has been so long since my other boys were born (14 and 11 years!), I had given away all our baby gear, including furniture. I found out that my cousins were selling their nursery furniture, which was beautiful and an incredible deal!
Slowly, but surely, we’ve added to the room to make it functional and fun. The futon will give my Mama a place to take a nap when she's babysitting or if she wants to stay overnight sometime. The glider-rocker was my Mother’s Day present from Chris and the boys, so now we have a place to rock baby Perry to sleep. The little rocking chair was mine when I was a little girl, and the wooden toy chest was Chris’s, for a touch of sentimentality.
Tara covered Perry’s initials with maps as part of the decorations for my shower, and they’re perfect for personalizing this room into his space. Wire baskets underneath the changing table hold burp cloths and blankets, like the one Roxie quilted for Perry. I even found baskets with map fabric to hold all the baby essentials, and a matching photo album that will get filled with photos of all our adventures together!
Pick out something special for your own little or for a friend from our online store! Maileg Bunnies are some of our favorites additions to any nursery are treasured for many childhood years to come.
Most everyone enjoys the beauty of having fresh flowers in the home, but few of us actually keep them around on a regular basis. While picking up a beautifully crafted flower arrangement from your local florist on a weekly basis would support a local small business and be easiest, it might not fit into your weekly budget or your busy schedule! All of us buy groceries and most grocery stores sell fresh flowers. If you find yourself drooling over the flowers in the grocery store as you push your cart to the produce section, then this blog is for you! Pick out your favorite mix and put them in your cart because you can turn those awkward grocery store bundles into a beautiful bouquet like this in just a few quick steps!
Many people make the mistake of bringing flowers home, removing the plastic, and dropping them straight in a vase (that may or may not be the right size) without any trimming or arranging. While the actual blooms are very pretty, the arrangement will look very awkward and well, like you bought them at the grocery store.
One of the problems with store bought bouquets is that they usually don't include much greenery. To me, greenery is the most import key to creating a lush and beautiful arrangement. To get started you will need: a bundle of store bought flowers, your favorite vase, clippers (or your kitchen shears if you don't have yard clippers), and greenery cut from your yard.
For this tutorial, I intentionally chose some random greenery from my yard. Don't stress over what you are cutting. If you think it looks pretty and has a nice shape, then use it! I am using stems of camellia, azalea, and an unidentified branch from a tree, just because I liked it!
*Note, if you live in an apartment with no access to fresh greens, there is still hope for you to liven up your arrangement! Look at the grocery, to see if they have any bundles that have greenery, of if they have greenery you can buy to add to your preferred bundle. If that is not an option, then choose a vase with a smaller neck, so that your flowers will not be too loose when arranging them.
Start your arrangement by adding your greenery to your vase. Before I start to put my stems in my vase, I trim the leaves off of the bottoms of the stems, so that no leaves will be plunged into the water. Clean stems help to keep your arrangement from getting murky water. I started with the azalea first and then added in the camellia. You will need to trim the stems so that the leaves start at the top of the vase. I use the side of the table or counter that I am working on, to help me decide how much to trim off of the stem.
Spin your vase as you fill in so that you can green the arrangement evenly on all sides. I saved my shorter, unidentified pieces of greenery to fill any holes at the end.
Next, separate all of the main flowers from the mix, leaving the filler flowers aside. This bundle had lilies, mini hydrangeas and roses.
As with the greenery, you will need to remove the leaves from the bottoms of the stems, so that there are no leaves in your water.
I like to start with my boldest flowers first and then add in smaller ones. The lilies aren't open yet but when they do open, they will be big and bright. I started with a taller stem in the middle, and then added one a little shorter on each side. Again, using the side of the table to help me decide how much to cut off of my stem.
Next I will add the mini hydrangeas. I don't want any of these to be quite as tall as my tallest lily. I add one to the center of the arrangement and then the other three, spread evenly around the sides.
Next, the roses. I have a nice little spot in the middle so I add one in right beside the tallest lily. Then add in the others, evenly around the sides.
You can start to see a pattern here. Build each layer, starting with the center, working out around the sides of the arrangement.
Next I will add the "filler" flowers. These little daisies will be just what this arrangement needs to brighten it and add interest. Daisies often have flowers that grow too low down the stem, so don't feel bad when you have to remove a few of their dainty blooms. I added my first stem to the center and then worked around the sides.
I wanted to show a picture of my "trash" pile so you would know that I did have to remove quite a bit of foliage and low growing blooms from the stems. I don't want you to be afraid that you are trimming too much!
Lastly, I used the unidentified greenery to fill in little holes around the bottom of the arrangement, to make it look nice and full.
And ta-da! Just like that you have turned your awkward grocery store flowers into a colorful masterpiece!
If you decide to try your hand at this at home, we'd love to see your finished product! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram so we can see your handy work. I hope you've found this helpful, and that you feel empowered to go forth and arrange flowers without fear or hesitation!
They say a picture's worth a thousand words, but I think it's worth a million if you know the story behind it.
There's something about old pictures that does something good for my soul. One of my favorite things to do is flip through my Nana's old photo albums and listen to her reminisce.
It is so funny how I can recognize a face in a faded black and white photo--but that just isn't enough for me. I need to know where they were and what they were doing so that I can put the story together in my mind. To some, a picture might not mean too much, but to me, they mean the world.
I'm sure you've recognized from previous blog posts that Roxie likes to decorate with old family photos in her home. (She even uses copies of them throughout the shop!) I thought it was such an interesting and obvious idea--why hadn't I thought of that before?
Old family pictures are great reminders of what really matters in life. They are interesting to look at and are always a great conversation starter. They add an element of depth to your decor, while keeping things simple.
I just love learning about our family through photos. Sifting through stacks of pictures resulted in countless conversations. It is because of this that I know exactly where my bossiness, wrinkles and love of cooking come from. My favorite photos are those from my Nana's childhood. Not only was she beautiful, but so full of life! She went from silly to serious, from tom boy to beauty queen so seamlessly. Her personality just jumps right off of the page. The pictures of her from years ago are almost whimsical--maybe that's why I love them so much.
With Mother's Day quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun to encourage you to sift through your own family photos this weekend. Start conversations, listen to stories, and embrace where you came from. Choose a few of your favorites to feature in your own home. This is one of the ways I have chosen to honor my family. (Especially my mothers!)
If you were inspired by this post and are looking for unique ways to display your old photos, consider these brass and glass frames! They come in three different sizes and are just perfect for showing off your favorite photos. What I love most about his particular frame is how you can see the edges of those old and tattered snapshots.
I have owned a retail store for the past 14 years and Christmas, of course, is our booming time of year! We go all out! This year, my team of elves and I decorated 7 large trees for the store and countless table top trees. Over the years I feel I have perfected my tree decorating methods and wanted to share them with you! I like a Christmas tree to be very full and to have lots of layers. Whether your tree is fresh or faux, follow these simple steps and you’ll have your tree looking as fabulous as the ones you drool over in magazines!
Step 1: The Lights
My Dad (to whom we lovingly refer as "The Wizard") would tell you that this step is the most important one. He has a 10ft tall faux Frasier Fir that he puts over 1100 lights on every year. You have to put your sunglasses on just to enter his home through the front door. I am not as patient as he is, though I do believe you need a well-lit tree. If you have a pre-lit tree, then just plug in and you are ready to roll, unless of course some of your lights won’t come on! If you are putting your own lights on your tree then start at the bottom of the tree at the back and begin to work your way around. You also want to run the lights up and down the branches as you work your way around so that your tree has lights in the center as well as the outer branches. Remember you should have no more than 3 strands of lights connecting to each other. If you have a large tree you may need to run an extension cord up the center of the trunk to start a new strand of lights. If you end up with extra lights at the top of the tree you can run them down the center of the tree to help illuminate it from the inside out.
Step 2: The Topper
Many would save the topper until last but I like to put it on before I do anything else. If you choose to use a classic simple topper then this will not take you long. If you like to have a bow at the top of your tree, it is good to put it on first so you can place the tails where you want them without having to worry about bumping your ornaments. I like to put unusual things in the tops of my trees. You will see from the sample pictures that the sky is the limit! From wooden reindeer to chandeliers, we are willing to try anything!
If you choose something like a chandelier that lights up, you will need to run a separate extension cord up the middle of your tree to the top to plug the topper in. Do not plug this item in to your lights! If you choose to use a bird’s nest, or bird cage, wooden cut out, etc. you will need to affix it to the top of the tree with a little floral wire. If you will wrap the wire with floral tape first it will not damage or scrape your decorative items and will be easier to work with. Sometimes I also like to add large branches, or stems of berries in the top of the tree. These will usually secure themselves in the braches but if you have trouble, just grab your trusty floral wire.
Step 3: Garland
If you are using any type garland or ribbon around the tree, now is the time to do it! You want to wrap the tree before you fill it with stems and ornaments. With paper or stiff garland you want to tuck it in at certain points to create a billowy effect. If you are using beaded or glass garland, you want to drape it loosely so it doesn’t look too tightly wound on the tree.
Step 4: Stems
I love to add glittery stems or berries of some sort. I even love to add picks of pine and different greenery. You can see in the sample pictures that I added butterfly picks to the garden tree. This really adds some depth and interest to your tree and helps to create a nice full look. I usually have a higher concentration of picks at the top and then intersperse them through the tree all the way to the bottom.
Step 5: Large Ornaments
I like to put on all the larger ornaments first. Be sure to work your way from the inside of the tree outward. You don’t want all of your ornaments dangling on the end of the branches and have emptiness in the middle. The larger ornaments are great for filling the spaces between the branches on the inside of the tree. Concentrate most of your large ornaments in the middle and the bottom of the tree. Sometimes they can be a little overwhelming at the top.
This is also a good time to incorporate unusual items! We decided to use these small metal mirrors as ornaments because they looked so good with the colors in this tree!
Step 6: Small Ornaments and Ornament Clips
Finish the tree by decking it out with the rest of your ornaments. If you have any ornaments that clip (i.e. flowers, birds, candles etc.) clip those on the outer tips of the braches very last. Don’t be afraid that you are using too many ornaments. It is my opinion that less is not more when it comes to your Christmas tree!
Step 7: Tree Skirt
Last but not least, add the tree skirt. If you have a premade tree skirt that you love, go for it. If not, don’t be afraid to use an old quilt or yardage of fabric that matches your décor. I have even used table cloths before! Just find something that really goes with the personality of your tree and your room.
The entrance to your home is very important. Whether you are welcoming guests through your front door, or you think back door guests are best, the entrance will form your guest’s first impression when they walk up to your home. I think choosing the right exterior door color is the first step in making sure that the entrance to your home conveys your family’s personality before anyone ever steps foot inside.
When choosing a color for your exterior doors, don’t overthink it! Doors are small and easy to paint. You can change your door color once a year if you want to. Painting a door is an inexpensive project that will give your nest a whole new look! I have a friend in town that changes her door color all the time. In fact, I should have interviewed her before writing this to ask just how many colors it has been since she moved in. (Yes, Candace, I am talking about you!) It is so fun to drive by her house and see a beautiful new color waving at you from the front porch!
You may want to try something bold, if so, here are my favorite picks right now for a bold front door:
If you aren’t feeling so brave, here are a two hues that will give you a softer color pop:
I am a believer that your doors should all be the same color. You may have different style doors in different areas of the house, solid doors, French doors, etc. Painting them the same color will give the outside of your home some unity and consistency. I do have one exception to this rule. If you think you want to try a wild and crazy color on the front door to make a real statement, but you are not sure you can commit to this color on every door, then keep the other doors very simple. Black doors are great on most houses as a neutral and you can always paint doors your trim color, a white or off white. I hope this has inspired you freshen up the outside of your home and try a new look! Remember, it's just paint. You can change it if you don't like it! Happy painting y'all!
It's still warm outside here in the South, but there is a change in the air and we know that fall is on its way! Time to spruce up those front doors and welcome in this pleasant time of the year. I thought it would be fun to help you make a beautiful fall wreath for your home. If you are feeling crafty, then grab your hot glue gun and let's get started!
Here's what you'll need to get started:
-hot glue gun
-fall floral picks
All of these supplies will be available at your local craft store. For this wreath, I used two colors of wool grass (two stems of each color), two picks with fall foliage, one pumpkin pick and one gourd pick. You are free to choose whatever fall stems that speak to you! The design concept will be the same, even if you choose something different than what I have used today.
First, you need to wrap your wire with floral tape. This will make your wire much easier to work with. Learning to wrap your wires with floral tape is life-changing, and you will never want to work with naked wire again! Start by wrapping the tape around the top of your wire and then pull the tape as you twist it down the wire.
The tape is stretchy and will stick better if you pull/stretch it as you wrap the wire. Cut your taped wire into two pieces, one to use for your hanger and one to use for your bow.
To make a hanger for the back of your wreath, lay the wire over two fingers, pull down, and twist, creating a loop at the top.
Wrap the straight end of your hanger around a chunk of the grapevine on the back of the wreath, pulling the straight end up, and wrapping it around itself. Make the hanger extra secure with a little dab of hot glue.
Next, you will need to break down your floral picks. By breaking down your picks and stems, and cutting them into smaller pieces, you will make what you have go a lot further. In the end, this will make your project less expensive to make.
I am starting with the long wild grass that was part of my wool grass stems. Start by gluing a piece of the grass down and work your way around the wreath, continuing to glue the sections of grass. *Helpful Hint: Put glue on the end of your stem and then shove it down into the wreath, rather than just gluing to the top. This will make your stems more secure and help hide your glue!
Next, add the wooly tops. Divide your wooly pieces in half, using half for the first layer and half for the second. Glue the wool grass to the top surface of the wreath, alternating colors as you work around it. The first layer will all be glued right along the top.
As you start the second layer of wool grass, start to fill in on the outside and the inside of the wreath base. This will help build out the shape of your wreath and make it look more full.
Now that all the wooly pieces are attached, go back and fill in with the extra foliage that you separated out when you took the stems apart.
You can see how the wreath is really starting to take shape and fill out. The trick to this type of wreath is to build it up, layer by layer. We've laid the foundation, now let's add the fun parts!
Next, add the bow. You will need about 2 1/2 yards of ribbon to make a simple bow like this. Start by leaving a tail. At the top of the tail, make a small loop that will be the center of your bow.
Pinch and twist the remaining ribbon before making your next loop, which will be a little bigger.
Continue making loops, making sure that you twist the ribbon between each loop. You should end up with five loops total, one small one for the center and four larger loops. Find the center of your bow, where it all started. You will have three loops on one side and two on the other. Lay the taped wire across the center of the bow. Tightly pull the wire to the bottom of the bow and twist it on itself.
After securing your bow with the wire, you can fluff up your loops.
Some folks would add the bow at the end, but I like to go ahead and attach it now, so that I can work around it as I fill in with the rest of my fall foliage. I decided to place my bow off center, which meant I needed to move one of the wool grass tops. This is no problem! If you decide you don't like where you've put something, just clip it out, move it, and re-glue it.
To attach the bow, wrap the wire around a chunk of the grapevine and twist it on itself until the bow feels secure.
Fluff your loops up and place your tails where you want them to hang so that you will know where to start placing your next layer.
Next, add the different elements of the deconstructed fall picks. First, I filled in the bare spots around my bow with the leafy greenery.
Next, decide where to place the pumpkin and gourd. I placed one on the top of the bow at the center and one on the bottom.
Fill in with some extra grass. Something like this will be available to you at your local craft store. This grass just helps to make the wreath look a little fuller, while also adding to the wispy-ness.
Now, start to build out the base of the wreath, out from each side of the bow. I added fall leaves to each side.
Next, add in some fall colored paper grass and berry pods, again building out on each side of the bow.
Fluff up your bow one last time and voila! You have a beautiful fall wreath for your door! You can see in this picture how I used all the extra pieces to build out the bottom of the wreath around the bow. The top of the wreath is just the base of wool grass that we started with.
If you are running a little short on time, or if your creative juices are just not flowing, you can buy one of these beautiful wreaths that I've already put together for you!
If you're feeling crafty and would like to take on this project, we have made the elements we've used available to you!
I am so excited to talk to you about my kitchen because it has turned out to be my favorite spot in this little house. It was definitely the room that needed the most work in this renovation! I think I mentioned in my previous blog that I don't have any pictures of the space from before we started working. Apparently, it was so horrifying I didn't want to remember it too clearly, haha! So let's get to it so you can find out how my kitchen went from this....
to this!!!! A bright, happy, CLEAN, efficient kitchen work space.
Just to recap, there were only a few, old cabinets that all had to be removed. There was also a wall that separated the kitchen from the dining area. Obviously, the floors had to be completely replaced! The original floors were long gone and the existing layers of rotten plywood were so termite eaten that they started falling out when my carpenters starting jacking up the house to replace the joists. You can read more about my adventures in flooring HERE. We took out the wall in the kitchen (it was super rotten anyway) to create a more open space. I did close up one window in the kitchen so that I could put the stove there. To be such a tiny house it certainly had plenty of windows so I didn't sacrifice any of my nice natural light by doing this.
The next step was to get the floors sanded and stained, and the walls and ceiling primed and painted and ready for cabinets! I used the same paint colors in the kitchen as I did in the living / dining areas, treating this as one large room so it would flow and be cohesive.
After doing a little research and some price comparrison, I decided to go with Ikea cabinets. I could get the look that I wanted and get the most bang for my limited bucks! *Disclaimer* If you are not a handy person and are not up for a project, then this is probably not the route you should go. I am very blessed to have some handy folks in my life to help with projects like these. I will tell you that I had no experience designing kitchen spaces and I found it very easy to use the online design program that Ikea offers on their website. It took some time to play around with things and learn the program, but I was able to come up with a design that I was happy with. Matt and I headed up to Atlanta where we were able to have an Ikea professional review my plan to make sure there were no major issues and to purchase the cabinets. It was a bit overwhelming, being first time cabinet buyers, so we stopped for margaritas and Mexican food at one of our favorite spots before heading home!
I did pay to have a professional to install the cabinets and I highly recommend this! I had a close family member, who had recently been through a kitchen renovation in an older home, suggest to me that I should not try to install these myself and I am super glad that I listened! You might recognize Phillip, (now, Tara's husband) from previous Southern Merc blogs. He did an amazing job installing the cabinets and counter tops for me. Because he is so experienced, he was able to deal with things like walls that are not straight and floors that are still slightly uneven. I was glad he was there with the knowledge to improvise when things weren't working out exactly like I had planned.
I am so happy with the end result. I was able to stick to my budget and get the fabulous kitchen that I wanted. When we moved into this house I was coming from an even smaller rental house that had a very small kitchen with minimal cabinets. For me, this was quite the upgrade! I also had not had a dishwasher for the previous 12 years so, to have a nice new one has been thrilling!
There wasn't room in this little corner to squeeze in a cabinet so my dad helped me build little shelves to display some of my favorite treasures.
My farmhouse sink also came from Ikea and was quite a deal! If you have been wishing for a farmhouse sink but didn't think you could afford one, you should check these out. There are two sizes, one like mine and one that is larger and divided. Your existing cabinets can usually be manipulated to accommodate this type of sink with the apron front. I opted for mostly drawers with the lower cabinets. The large drawers on the right contain all of my dishes and serving pieces. The cabinets in the corners have two shelves that pull out completely and then swing back towards the wall when pushed in so that no space is wasted.
A very special friend painted this cow for me and named her "Roxanna". It makes me so happy to look up and see her above the fridge.
My favorite cookbooks are proudly displayed on a shelf by the fridge and my favorite ceramic tray corals things like salt, pepper and garlic cloves that I use frequently while cooking. I keep everything I need to enjoy my morning coffee right next to my coffee maker, including a crate full of my favorite mugs!
You may wonder why I am choosing to show you my ugly old microwave and toaster. I just want to stress that you can set up and organize your small (or large) kitchen in such a way that your necessesities are made to look as nice and neat as possible. You don't necessarily have to line all of your kitchen appliances up on your counter top, and if you have a small kitchen, you don't need to have them taking up that much precious counter space! These wood and metal shelves sit by my refridgerator and hold a lot of important things that I use everyday but, I try to keep it organized and tidy!
Since our house is small, we don't really have a desk or office area where it would make sense to keep things like bills, pens and tape! Instead, I have a little station set up by the side door to catch all of those types of things. We also have a designated place to hang all of our keys becuase I am the world's worst to set my keys down and not remember where they are!
I wish I could have you all over for dinner so you could see things in person, but since I can't, I hope you've enjoyed all of the pictures!
Like a few things that you have seen? Visit the Southern Mercantile store to check out these items that will help you get the look!
(This blog was origianally posted in August of 2016 so these items are no longer available. We hope you'll take a look in the store and check out our current merchandise!)
Welcome to my home! I am so excited to share with you my finished (well, mostly finished) spaces with you! Just to recap, I'll be sharing before and after pictures with you so you can get a handle on just how extensive this renovation was. Brace yourself, the before pictures are pretty scary! Apparently, the front rooms of the house were so bad, I didn't take any before pictures of the rooms before we started working! Here are a few that I snapped after we had made a little progress.
Use your imagination and visualize a wall where my dad is standing, that divided the kitchen from the living and dining area. This wall was completely eaten by termites so, it had to go. This made me very happy because I really wanted to open the space up so that the room would feel larger. I did have to have a support beam added in the attic space as this was a load bearing wall.
Here is that space now, so much brighter and happier!
All of the interior walls, ceilings and floors of this little mill house are made of pine and most of them were salvageable. While I do love the wood for texture, stability, and the ease of hanging whatever I want, wherever I want, they were just so dark! The whole house was the same dark color, top to bottom, just crying out for a coat of paint! I had several folks stop by while we were working and say, "I can't believe you are going to paint that pretty wood". To all you wood preservationists out there, sorry. But I think the end result is fabulous! Lightening up the walls and the ceilings made the house feel twice its size!
Here is the happy and bright "after" picture of my beautiful living room! I am happy as a lark to sit here in the mornings and watch the news or to gather and visit here when we have guests. This small space is both comfortable and functional. Even though the house is small, I've found plenty of room to store things away and special places to show off my treasures. I decided to have the fireplace closed up as we would never use it and it just wasn't an option to invest in gas logs right now. I do, however, love to decorate a mantel so I kept a faux version of the fireplace. The mantel is not original and it is not old. Just a treasure I brought over from my last little house.
As you look at the pictures of my home in this blog and the ones to come you may see cords, mail, electronics, etc. I did not try to hide every little thing for these photos because, well, we live here. There are some unattractive and/or useful things that are out for all the world to see! If you are reading this and are currently living in a small space and struggling to find homes for all of your "stuff", here are some creative storage ideas that can make your "stuff" a little more attractive. On my bookshelf in the living room I used patterned cardboard storage boxes, sewing machine drawers, a vintage locker basket and an old paint crate to hide some of the items that we need but don't have room for in a closet or drawer. If you have to store items in plain sight in your home, get creative in using different kinds of containers to house those things.
I was blessed to receive a lot of hand-me-downs while renovating this home and since I have been on such a tight budget, I was grateful for them! These Pottery Barn drapes were passed to me, and they turned out to be just perfect in the living area! They were a little too short to hang them as high as I wanted, so to make them the correct length, I sewed a band of patterned fabric to the bottoms. This made them the perfect length and gave them a more custom look. I did sew these but if you don't have a sewing machine, you could easily get this look by using an iron-on "no-sew" hem tape.
Our little table doesn't seat many but it has already been a happy gathering place for many of our friends and family.
This little table is extra special to me because my dad built it. The table top is made from old tongue and groove boards that came out of the 100-year-old building that houses my shop!
Here are the colors I used for the living, dining and kitchen areas. Sea Salt has become one of my most favorite colors ever! Way to go Sherwin Williams! It truly goes with everything and reads as a neutral while still giving you such a nice hint of color. The ceilings are painted Spare White, which is just the lightest shade on the Sea Salt color strip. All of the trim in the entire house is just your basic glossy white.
I hope you have enjoyed the tour of my living and dining spaces! If you saw something you like, be sure to check out the items below. We'd love to help you get the look!
(This blog was originally posted in August 2016 so some of these items are no longer available. We hope you will take a look around the store and see what's new!
It seems like I have been working on this little house forever! (It probably seems like that to you too!) It has definitely been a labor of love, and is still a bit of a work in progress, but I am finally at a place where I feel I have tended to enough of the details to let you have an in depth tour. At 980 square feet, this house packs a lot of character into a very small space! Matt and I have been thrilled to settle in to this little mill house and make it our home. Living in a small house or apartment doesn't mean you have to compromise your design aesthetic. There are plenty of ways you can bring style and organization to a small space, while keeping to a strict budget and I hope I can give you a few tips along the way!
I am pairing a "before" picture with each room / porch, just in case you have forgotten the horror! If you are new to The Southern Mercantile, be sure to take a peek at my previous renovation blogs, to see the whole process!
Alder Street Social Club
Alder Street Renovation
Alder Street Renovation-The Floors
Now, just to recap, here's a little reminder of what the house looked like on the outside when we began our work.
And, ta da! Here's my beautiful front porch now! Don't you just want to come on up and visit for a while? Matt and I have already spent many evenings here in the spring and the fall, sitting on the glider, sipping a glass of wine and, catching up on the day! I had concrete board siding and trim put on the house which helped greatly in making it more energy efficient and will hold up much better in our damp climate than the original wood siding. I did have to install all new windows in the house and the porch received new columns.
On to the side porch! You may remember, the side porch did not originally exist. There was a small stoop with steps leading up to the side door.
I decided to expand a little by adding a small side porch. As it turns out, adding this porch was, by far, the best decision I made regarding the renovation. I just love it! I love coming home, parking in the driveway, and walking up the steps to be greeted by this happy little spot! The side door enters into the kitchen so it is perfect for the usual coming and going, unloading groceries, etc. There are steps each side of this porch, one set leading down to the front yard and the driveway and one set leading down to the back yard (and the soon to be patio).
If I am home alone on a pretty evening or a Sunday morning, this is where you will find me. It is a little more private than the front porch and such a happy place to sit and drink my coffee! I know you can see my stash of yard tools, under the table. I have future plans ready for a cute little gardening / storage shed but that project is down on the priority list a ways. For right now, the side porch also serves as my storage area for gloves, yard tools and bug spray. This cute drop leaf table has been a great outdoor storage solution for me. My vintage drink crate acts as a nice cubby for small items.
I have a few more projects waiting in the wings to finish things up on the outside. I am currently saving for a metal roof and underpinning. This spring I started to attack the yard but I still have a good bit of work to do there! I am also planning a little patio area that will be right off the steps that lead to the back yard and I have a feeling that will become my new favorite spot!
Just in case you are interested, here is the color pallet for the exterior of my home.
Did this inspire you to spruce up your own porches? Here are a few items in The Southern Mercantile store that can help you get the look! Click a picture below to view it in the store! (This blog was originally posted in July 2016 so some of these items are no longer available. We hope you will check out the store and see what's new!)
I love to walk in to my bedroom and see a made up, super cozy bed just waiting for me to crawl in. I won't lie to you though, I do not make my bed everyday! I know, shame on me. Because, when I do leave the house with the bed made, it makes me so happy! I wanted to share a few tips I have picked up along the way to make your bed a place you can't wait to crawl into! Making your bed as cozy and inviting as possible will help to make you love your home even more.
1. Let's start with the foundation, the mattress.
The most important element of your comfortable and cozy bed is the mattress. If your mattress is not comfortable, you are not going to feel cozy in your bed, no matter how many pillows and blankets you put on it! If you aren't in the position to run out and buy a new mattress, (I feel ya) there are several things you can do to make your existing mattress more comfortable. A memory foam mattress topper is a great investment! This will increase the level of comfort on any bed. You are also going to want to invest in a nice mattress pad. A quilted mattress pad will create a nice comfortable layer between your sheets and your mattress/topper. You don't have to break the bank to get a nice mattress pad, as T.J. Maxx usually has a nice selection!
Comfortable sheets can make or break your sleeping experience. You don't necessarily have to look for the most expensive with the highest thread count to find the softest and most comfortable. There are so many different things you can look for when buying sheets like: thread count, type of weave used, type of cotton used... etc. I say, just open the package and feel them! You won't know if a sheet has the potential to be super comfortable until you touch them. You are looking for a nice, heavier weight, with a tighter weave that is soft to the touch. Nobody wants to sleep on sandpaper sheets! Hehe.
In order to give your bed a luxurious look you are going to need layers! I believe in sheets, a blanket, a comforter, a bed skirt (if needed) and many pillows! When making your bed you can either pull the sheet all the way to the top, as I have done, or fold it back over the blanket. You want to pull the blanket back so that you can see the sheets and then pull the comforter down to the foot of the bed. Sometimes I fold the comforter in thirds, sometimes just in half. There isn't really a right or wrong, you will know what looks good to you!
When layering up your pillows, the sky is the limit. I have six standard size pillows on our bed. Two for resting our heads, two that are extra for propping up and reading, and two that are just decorative with our monogram on the front. I am a big believer in mixing and matching so you will notice I don't have any shams that match the quilt or the duvet on this bed. If you have Euro shams you would use them in the back and then layer the other pillows in front of those.
The picture below is of my guest bed. I keep the sheet and the blanket pulled to the top of the mattress on this bed so that I can keep the sheets fresh and clean and ready for guests!
On this bed I used four standard pillows, two to rest your head and two for propping and reading. I have also incorporated two vintage embroidered shams and one extra decorative pillow.
I prefer using a duvet and cover as opposed to a printed comforter. This makes it super easy for me to take the duvet cover off and wash it more frequently than I would a traditional comforter. (It is also more cost effective than taking a bulky comforter to the dry cleaners multiple times a year!) I love a down duvet but they make me so hot! I have down on the guest bed and a "down alternative" duvet on my bed.
The last layering piece to consider is the bed skirt. You may have a bed that does not require one but if your bed is elevated off the floor at all and doesn't have decorative wood panels, then you need a bed skirt. Most ready-made bed skirts will not be the right length as bed heights vary. Ready-made bed skirts are usually not available in many color/fabric options, so you will be limited in this area as well. I recommend having a custom bed skirt made or making one yourself if you are in the D.I.Y. mood!
My sweet Aunt Janet made the bed skirt below that is on my bed. I chose a cute embroidered polka dot fabric that coordinated with my other bedding pieces. My bed is old and very tall, so I needed a bed skirt with a little extra length.
For the bed skirt in the guest room, I re-purposed a pair of curtains that I bought at T.J.Maxx. I needed to get it done in a hurry, so I covered the box spring with a fitted sheet and pinned the fabric to the sheet, box pleats and all! When the bed is made up and put together, you would never know it! I got off cheaper than buying fabric by the yard, and the curtains already had hemmed edges so that made this a "no sew" project.
4. Mixing Colors and Prints.
Just in case you haven't figured this out already, I love to mix prints and colors! This is a good way to keep your bedding looking fresh and interesting. My bedding is such an eclectic mix! I have picked up bedding items at Pottery Barn, West Elm, T.J. Maxx, Target and Anthropology. If you are not feeling confident in your mix and match capabilities, then by all means, just pick up your favorite home decor catalog or log on to your computer and order yourself some fantastic bedding! There are lots of good bedding options these days that come as a set but still give you a nice variety of textiles within the collection. You may not like the look of all my patterns and colors, and that is okay too! You can use a neutral palette for your bedding and still mix textiles and textures to create a much more interesting look!
5. Change it up with the Seasons.
Don't get stuck in a bedding rut. I know that most of us cannot afford to change all of our bedding with the seasons, but there are small changes you can make to your bed to keep things feeling fresh! Changing your throw pillows now and then can give you a whole new look! Here is an example of my bed with new pillows.
I hope this post has inspired you to change things up in the bedroom! It doesn't have to be expensive to get a new look--you can even work with what you already have!
If you are looking for a sweet new addition to your bed, check out our hand embroidered pillow cases in the store!
What we're Pinning