Friday, February 23, 2018

Weekend Inspiration: Cottage Kitchen

I have adored this charming kitchen ever since I first saw it years ago in The Cottage Journal. Over the past year, Andrea from Willow Wisp Cottage (the owner of this kitchen) has become a great friend and also a fantastic leader in our Pure & Lovely Tribe. Her lovely kitchen was designed by another talented […]

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How to Build a Custom Vintage Ruler Picture Frame

How to Custom Build a Vintage Ruler Picture Frame

How to Build a Custom Vintage Ruler Picture Frame Every year when I go to meet my sons’ new teachers, I tell them if there is anything that needs fixing to let me know. It’s my small show of appreciation for all they do for my kids. Before Christmas, one of the teachers took me […]

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Traditional Style With A Twist

Change isn’t always easy. For example, if you’re a traditionalist by heart but want to incorporate more contemporary elements into your home, the idea of going full-on modern can be terrifying. On the other hand, if you’re a contemporary kind of person who craves some traditional style, trading your cherry-toned furniture for glass and brass could make anyone break out in hives.

The alternative? Find a happy medium. We’re showcasing some of our favorite pieces that give off a traditional vibe with a modern edge, or a modern vibe with a classic twist. We think you’ll discover that these seeming opposites can attract and work beautifully together.


Subtle nuances incorporated into furniture with traditional designs give each piece a modern element. Look for natural wood grain finishes, planking effects, upholstery, colors and ornamentation, to name a few.


While the traditional butcher-block planking of this bed has familiar warm hues, it’s the open cap rail design that elevates the overall look with a modern twist.

Traditional High Back Accent Chair with cream color and dark brown designs on it.

With a take on the traditional wingback design, this chair exudes modern flair through its light-and airy neutral upholstery and chair backOpens in a new window


This traditional candlelight-style chandelier gets dressed up for today’s modern vibes with its open caged design and a dazzling bevy of clear crystals. You can hang this anywhere in the home and admire its glamorous blend of stylish elements. For your end table, a whitewash finished lamp styled with a traditional candlestick base introduces casual chic.


Explore new paint colors for the walls. Experiment with various shades of neutral colors like beige, gray, brown and white. With a fresh coat of paint, you’ll quickly see how a neutral color provides a perfect backdrop for everything in the room.

Cover the Floors

Similar to the room’s walls, a floor’s covering plays an important role. Look for hardwood, laminate, tile or carpeting that complements your furniture’s colors. Generally, dark floors offer a great backdrop for light colored furniture, while light floors offer more flexibility when you choose the room’s furniture and accents. If you don’t want to change the floor covering, consider rolling out a traditional area rug with modern elements.

Calming neutral colors found in a rug like this evoke old world sensibilities in a modern tone. Look for rug patterns that draw upon traditional motifs.


Empty wallsOpens in a new window offer you unlimited possibilities, especially when it comes to adding accents for an appealing mix of traditional and modern elements. Accent mirrors, especially those with beveled edging, antiqued finishes and straight lines, offer you a blend of the two styles.

Traditional wall art that has modern elements is not too hard to spot. Art depicting landscapes or florals is a safe bet because it’s rooted in tradition.


Fill open space using odds and ends that blend the best of traditional and modern aesthetics. Classic designs presented in modern materials or colors add just the right amount of interest. Candleholders and vasesOpens in a new window crafted of natural elements add warmth.

Use picture frames, clocks and sculptures to fill the shelves. Feel free to mix and match traditional designs with modern pieces to create a look that’s anything but boring.



Add final touches that can fit in traditional or modern scenes. Look for a blend of neutral colors and simple designs. Place baskets and poufs about the room for extra touches of style in areas that otherwise would be empty.

Use throw pillows to easily dress up the sofa. Clean designs and simple textures are inviting and enrich the look. Traditional sofas can benefit from the star power of a fun, modern pillow, while modern sofas will be more approachable with the addition of pillows that sport classic textures and designs.

Make the bed with a new comforter, duvet or quilt set. If you’re bedroom furniture runs modern, stick to neutral colors and classic patterns like paisley. Traditional furniture will pop with the addition of faux-fur throws.

With this showcase of ideas, let inspiration take hold and relax as you find a balance of traditional and modern decor.

If you have recently transformed the look of a room with stylish mixes of furniture and accessories, we’d love to hear about your experience.

Hashtag #MyAshleyHome on Instagram


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5 Home Staging Tips From an Expert Flipper

You updated the plumbing, refinished the flooring, painted the walls. In short, your home renovation is finally finished, and you’re ready to put your flipped house on the market.

But before you do, follow these five home staging tricks that top house flippers use – if you do, you’ll likely see a quick full-offer sale coming your way!

Offer great curb appeal

Pulling up to their potential new home should be a joyful experience for buyers. Give them the great first impression they’re hoping for with curb appeal that conveys a genuinely warm welcome.

Stylish house numbers, updated porch lighting, a classy door color, charming outdoor seating, flowers in bloom, and a welcome mat seem like unimportant details, but they make all the difference.

When a house looks cared for on the outside, it lets buyers know the inside has been maintained, too.

Create ambiance

Once potential buyers step inside, give them a personal, emotional connection to the house. Remember to address all five senses:

  • Sight. Use flattering lighting throughout the house to brighten dark corners and create playful shadows. This includes canned lighting, floor and table lamps, hanging pendants, and under-counter spot lights.
  • Smell. Create a very subtle, pleasant scent throughout the house by lighting scented candles or plugging in an aromatherapy diffuser. Citrus, vanilla, and lavender are perfect choices. Make sure the smell is subtle, not overbearing.
  • Touch. Incorporate texture through textiles that entice touching, which promotes a personal connection to a space.
  • Sound. Turn on quiet music, hang wind chimes, or install a water feature to relax anyone touring the house.
  • Taste. It never hurts to have some cookies or a candy bowl ready! Also be sure to offer chilled bottled water.

By appeasing the five senses, you’re sure to help potential buyers connect to the house.

Embrace floor space

If there’s one thing every buyer is looking for, it’s square footage. Play up every inch of it for them!

To make the house feel spacious, put breathing room around monochromatic furniture, and hang mirrors to reflect windows and room openings. Hang drapes high (or don’t use them at all), place large artwork on the walls, and lay down oversized area rugs.

Choose furniture raised up on legs to create a sense of lightness, and use decorative knickknacks sparingly to increase surface space. Create a distant focal point, such as a plant at the top of the stairs or a beautiful pendant light at the end of a hallway.

Emphasize architectural details

Even if your house flip includes some quirky architectural details, it’s best to show them off rather than try to hide them. After all, a house’s personality is part of its charm.

For example, if there’s seemingly wasted space underneath a staircase, turn it into a reading nook. If there’s a giant fireplace, dress up the mantle and arrange furniture around it. Built-ins have a special place in everyone’s heart, so if your house has them, definitely show them off!

Play up a lifestyle

Remember, you’re not just selling a house, you’re selling a lifestyle. This means you shouldn’t forget to dress up the outside areas, such as the patio and backyard. If you want your buyers to feel at home, set up an outdoor dining scene, arrange lounge chairs around the pool, or hang a rope swing.

By showing buyers the kind of life they could be enjoying, you’re showing them it’s worth paying to get it.

Check out Success Path for more tips on real estate and renovation.

Top photo from Zillow listing.


Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Home Security and Monitoring from VTech

Home security and monitoring is easier than ever. But finding a wireless camera with easy setup, great performance, and value, is tougher than it sounds. We recently checked out the new VTech VC931 HD wireless pan & tilt camera—and recommend it for the high-definition video quality, night vision, and pan and tilt camera control.

We installed the VC931 in our downstairs den. It monitors the sliding glass door and den area, which would be a common place for a thief to break into our home. Beyond the peace of mind the VC931 provides, we have found it useful for monitoring the activities of our 5-year old son. We no longer have to yell throughout the house to locate him, as we simply open the app and will usually find him playing with his magnatiles or building Legos. We’re expecting a baby in April, and considering getting another VC931 to use as a baby monitor.

We had a stationary camera setup in the den when we moved in, but the limited view was a real bummer. The pan and tilt feature of the VC931 allows us to easily scan and zoom the room using the app, with a swipe or pinch of your fingers. Grainy videos are not an issue as the VC931 provides high-definition resolution in daylight as well as during night vision.

There are a ton of other features available with the VTech VC931 that you’d only expect from a camera costing much more. These include:

  • Motion alerts and motion-activated recording
  • Two-way talk
  • On-demand recording
  • Extended-range Wi-Fi
  • 10x digital zoom
  • Gesture controls

An unexpected bonus with the VC931 is that it looks good on our shelf. It’s small and discrete, which is what we want. It’s also silent when moving, so it won’t call attention to itself. We’re thoughtful about every item we display on our shelves and this camera takes up such little room there is no need to design around it.

The VTech VC931 is currently available on their website for $120. That’s a heck of a deal considering all that you get in this tiny camera.

This post is sponsored by VTech, but all opinions are 100% our own.

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How to Hang a Barn Light

Hanging A Barnlight Tutorial

How to Hang A Barn Light Hi everyone, it’s Dean from Diane and Dean today. I can’t wait to show you how to hang a barn light. Some may call it an obsession, but I  like to think of it as a significant interest! What is it? Exterior lighting! Most homeowners may not think much […]

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My New Book: Join the Simple Organizing Launch Team

Fill out this form to apply to our Simple Organizing Challenge Group Launch Team! Spring is on its way (right?)! I’m thrilled that my brand new book, Simple Organizing, will be available on April 3rd, just in time to give you the inspiration and motivation to tidy up every corner of your house. YOU, my […]

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