Guest Post: Making Room

It's a first here on Designing Domesticity - we are featuring a third post from one of my all-time favorite guest posters, my dear friend Katy from Chicago. You may remember her collections post and her eat in kitchen banquette post. Katy has amazing style and every home I visited of hers over the years has been impeccably impressive. That's why when I learned she was taking on another big project in her newest home, I immediately asked if she'd be interested in sharing it here. Fortunately, for all of us, she said yes.

I’m due with baby number 3 in December and we needed to make room for him. We have two daughters and four bedrooms, but didn’t want to give up our guest room/ office. Since our oldest daughter had the biggest bedroom in the house, we decided to move her sister in with her so the baby could have her old room. Sounds easy enough, right? 

Then you mix in the emotions of pregnancy, and I have to say, they held me up a bit!

Here we are expanding our family and already ruffling the feathers of our two great girls. I love any opportunity to decorate, but had some emotions to overcome about moving them in together. The room was big enough, but my courage lacked. Both girls were losing their own bedroom due to this change, and I was sensitive to that… So, if we were going to do this, I HAD to make it special. An improvement. Something to get excited about. 

For my 5 year old, Charlotte? No problem. She was going to bunk up with her big sis? And get a bigger bed? How soon can she move in?!

My 8 year old, Gracie, agreed but was not in any hurry. I understood, and had to make this special - for her too.

My other requirement? Not breaking the bank. I had lots of working pieces from both of their (finally decorated, of course) rooms, so I needed to consolidate and make it work. 

I had from their rooms, and needed to use: curtains, a dresser, bookshelf, nightstand, and things on the walls. And a pink rug that I had recently purchased and insisted on making work.

The girls’ only request: blue bedding.

I started with the beds. I was only slightly disappointed to find out that I couldn’t just purchase a second bed to match Gracie’s bedroom set since it was discontinued, because... Truth be told, I already had fallen in love with the Maison Canopy Bed from Pottery Barn Teen. 

I wanted beds that could go with the existing matching furniture pieces. This bed was unique, and I loved the brass! I also loved that the bed’s style could define a space for each of them. If they had to be in one room, these beds could still give them the feeling of their own defined space. Could I pull off two of them? That was the big question. I drove to visit them in the store, debated for weeks, finally convinced myself I would make them work, and placed my order.

Soon after, I began to look for bedding. Target’s Shabby Chic line has been around for a while and I’ve always liked the style. But, when I stumbled across their adorable pink ruffle quilt (that would match the curtains I already had in the room) and - what do you know, A BLUE flower duvet cover! -  I actually avoided buying them because it seemed too easy! To make my life more difficult, I continued to shop for other options. Finally however, I decided that at Target prices, I was being silly and bought them both.

As things started to arrive, the room slowly came together. There were good moments - the bedding will work with the rug!, and stressful - when the beds showed up I was a bit overwhelmed. But all in all, I had to swallow my fear. I was going to pull this off…

After grabbing some of my favorite things from Charlotte’s walls - her “C,” and flower painting - I began to fill the space. 

I had framed these paper doll dresses and they hung in Gracie’s room originally. Had to keep them.

I also moved in Charlotte’s little pink table. Gracie had one, so I figured Charlotte’s should squeeze in too.

The good thing about all of this? They were all things I had. They didn’t cost me a dime. As well as being things I loved. Special.

As always, the lighting became icing on the cake. Since I had saved some money here and there, this room deserved the finishing touch. The Dahlia Chandelier from Pottery Barn Kids was it. I’m not one to splurge, but this was worth it. When lit up it makes the room feel fancy. Something to be excited about.

The girls moved in together in early October, and all is going well. I love it, and so do they. Both of them. They play "school" at their tables, have goofy conversations before bed, and are actually letting one another sleep in the morning. I have to say, I think it's actually an improvement. 

Mission completed. I think this room does just what I wanted it to do: Makes them feel how special and important they are to me. During this time of change for everyone, I'd say we're off to a good start.


Thanks Katy! The room looks amazing and I love the beds. Those are two very lucky little ladies! 

Hope everyone has a great holiday week and we'll see you back here on Monday. Happy Thanksgiving! 

until next time, 

Worth the Wait {Guest Post}

Hi all, this week we have a series of guests staying with us so I am taking a bit of a break from the blogging. Fortunately for you, I've organized a guest post from my friend Katy in Chicago. Perhaps you remember her front entry 'G' wall ( here )? 
Today, she is back with another project from her home in Wilmette. This time she is sharing a beautiful, built-in eating area in her kitchen. Proving once again, that deliberate design is worth the wait. Take a look, you won't be disappointed. 

Pretty kitchen, right?

Well, truth be told, I never really loved it. But that's not to say, I didn't see potential.

Over two - longer than I'd like to admit - years ago when we bought our house, I was excited that we had an eat-in kitchen - even if I wasn't in love with the table I had to put there. 

We were coming from a much smaller house in the city where we had this bar top table, and when we moved here we put it in the space. It fit, served its purpose, and matched - so we lived with it. But it wasn't how I envisioned it. 

We have an old house with not-so-gigantic rooms, so I do my best to make the most of my spaces. From the beginning, I saw potential in this table space. 

It has a lovely bay window, but what it needed was a bench - and a big 'ole kitchen table to sit at.

So, back in June, I finally got the ball rolling on the process. Two years since we moved in, mind you!

Luckily, I knew who to call for the bench. The previous owners had had several built-ins and a custom piece of furniture designed for the house by Vas Design. I talked to Vas and he came to measure the space, and drew up a plan.

At Kane County Flea Market, I met Art from Any Style Cabinetry and fell in love with his custom-built barn wood tables.

Believe it or not, I bought the chairs at the flea market before anything was designed! Six antique black chairs with a unique shape, and perfect for the style I was going for. 

Even with all these pieces, I was still dragging my feet. 

I really, really, REALLY have to envision something before I commit to a change. So, I measured and taped, and taped and measured, and taped again. I think I had blue tape on my floor for a couple months this summer just to help me get my mind around what shape I wanted for the bench, and how big I wanted the table to be.

Soon enough the summer was coming to an end. Finally, I was ready to do it.

With some fine tuning on timing for both, it was unbelievably all going to come together in a matter of a week. 

My dream was coming true… but it needed that final touch.

If all good things come to those who wait, I wanted a cherry on the top of mine: the perfect light fixture. 

Designing Domesticity had the remarkably timely answer. Liz had posted some lighting ideas for her new home and I fell in love with the pendant from Wisteria. I had always wanted a farmhouse-y light fixture, and this one was it. It had the perfect amount of rustic-ness. And it was big and bold. After getting Liz's blessing of course - I did not want to be a copycat decorator! - I purchased it.

One day in early September the bench was built. 

Four days later the table was delivered. 

That afternoon the light was installed. 

THIS was my space. The space I had envisioned since I sat in it two and a half years ago during the home inspection.

We use this space for: family-style dinners, food at parties, coloring, homework, board games, deep conversations, and late-night computer work.

Fully functional, and beautiful. Perfect.
Definitely worth the wait.

Thanks, Katy, for sharing more of your beautiful design work! 
I heard a rumor, she is taking on a few select clients in her local area, if you'd like to be one of them, you can contact her here.

until next time, 

Collections {Guest Post}

I'm back...
While I continue to wrap my head around leaving the beach and arriving back to more non-Spring like weather in the midwest, I've organized a little guest post for you. 
Have you ever wondered the story or meaning behind a collection? My good friend, Katy, has a beautifully curated collection that I have always admired - today, she has agreed to share the story behind it. I hope you enjoy!


A group of objects or works to be seen, studied, or kept together.

For me, decorating has a lot to do with collection. Our home is my place to display my collections.

When we moved to our house a year and a half ago, I promised myself that I would not decorate with anything that I wasn't in love with. It was my way of preventing our new home - one that we planned on living in for a while - from becoming a house full of knickknacks that never really had meaning to me. "Just pick your favorite things," I told myself. And in time, it will fill. 

When we first moved in, decorating was difficult. Lots of empty walls and shelves…I wanted to make sure whatever I chose, was right.

One of the first walls I tackled, an important one at that, was our entryway. And luckily, I had just the right collection to fill it.

When I was newly married - 12 years ago - I was excited about the prospect of decorating our first apartment together, but didn't know where to start. I needed a collection - some sort of theme if you will, to get me going. 

I was a graphic designer, and my love of typography developed in college. The shape of a letter in different typefaces was fascinating to me, and being newly married, I was excited about my new last name. The letter it started with was a good one - G.

And so my collection of Gs began to form.

The first few I started with were simple Gs that I found in catalogs:

I continued to pick some up at shops along the way:

Some were given to me as gifts:

My most prized letter G is from London. From a favorite antique shop on Portobello Road. It's not only special because of its origin and a token our time spent there, but I also love it because it is actually from a real shop sign. Totally authentic.

Sure enough, I had found my collection.

As it has grown, my collection has found its spot in different places in different homes. But here, our forever home, the entry hall seemed best. 

To me it says:
Welcome to our home. I am: creative, clean, unique. Not unlike the first letter of our last name - the name of my family that lives here. 

A collection that can represent all of that must be right. No wonder it's a favorite.


Thanks, Katy, for opening up your home and sharing the story of your prized collection. 

I'll be back later in the week to share a bit about our getaway and how Katy's entryway has inspired my next project. Hope to see you then.

linking in with:

until next time, 

Guest Post: My Pretty Chippy Chair

We're back with another guest post - this time featuring my good friend, Sarah, from Three Boys. If you've never checked out her blog you are seriously missing out! Great tutorials on everything from upholstery to vintage furniture rehab.

Over to you Sarah!

Hi everyone, I am so excited to be visiting today. And for such a wonderful reason. Welcome to the world little girl! 

My name is Sarah and I am usually blogging over at Three Boys. But today I am here to show you all my little chair makeover.

My Pretty Chippy Chair. 

You wouldn't know it to look at her but we have had quite a history together. You can read about it, HERE.

To get started I cut out a piece of fabric. To get a nice fit put a staple right in the middle on each side.

Once you have it in place go ahead and staple all around. The fabric should be tight but shouldn't be pulling.

To get a professional look you shouldn't have any creases or folds on the corners. The best way to do this is to grab the fabric in a bunch and pull down until smooth.

Then staple in place.

To get the paint all pretty and chippy, I put a very thick and uneven coat of Valspar's antique white semi-gloss. I let it dry and then took a metal butter spreader and chipped off the paint. 

I finished it off with Johnston's Paste wax.

Now I have a fun office chair, fun!

Thanks so much for sharing this post with us today, Sarah! 
Don't forget to stop by Three Boys.

Until next time,