Dream Home 2.0

Moving, with all it's headaches, is so fun for us designer-types, because it offers a fresh start and a whole new set of projects to tackle. A few years back, when we were still living in New York City, Instagram was just an infant and I was deep in the height of my Pinterest scrolling addiction, I designed my dream home on paper. After that, we moved into a rental house upstate, then bought our first home. Five years later, we moved across the country and are embarking on the journey to buy our (possible) forever home. Looking back on my original dream home post, I think had this home come to fruition, I would still be happy with my choices, but now my style is a little more refined, a little more modern and a little less colorful. 

Modern & Bright Dream Home

See my shopping picks for my dream home. 

Rainbow Round-up

I just love that rainbows are having a moment right now. When I was in second grade, my teacher played a song for us called, "The World is A Rainbow." Do you know it? It became kind of a classroom anthem, with a beautiful message about different kinds of people living together in harmony. That song sealed my life long love for the symbol. It makes me happy that for so many people the rainbow symbolizes love and acceptance of all people no matter who they choose to be or who they choose to love. This being my first post of pride month, it seemed like perfect time to do a round-up of my favorite rainbow decor from around the web. 

Rainbow Print
Rainbow decor
Rainbow Wallhanging

photos: 1 / 2 / 3 


Rainbow Decor round-up

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DIY Customized Modern Storage Baskets

I don't even remember the last time I shared a DIY with you, and now that we are currently homeless, aka bunking with family, it may be awhile before the next. With just two bedrooms to share between our little family, organization is on the top of my mind. I have long been on the search for the perfect storage baskets for a reasonable price. I have found options that I love, but are just too far out of my budget to purchase more than one. I've also bought baskets piecemeal at Home Goods that were affordable, but didn't give that beautiful, perfectly organized feel. But then, I found these beautiful white metal baskets at Target, for a very fair price. As a designer and a general home goods virtuoso I have learned a trick to elevate any product, add a touch of leather, and that is exactly what I did with these baskets. Scroll to see the tutorial.  

DIY Custom modern storage basket

I LOVE these metal baskets with wood handles, but at $24 - $50 a pop, they are more than I want to spend on storage baskets, so I got out my supplies.

Tosca Basket with Wooden Handles

Assuming you have the tools in your kit, the amortized cost of making these baskets is $11.30 for the small and $12.30 for the large, a very reasonable amount of money to pay for a beautiful, modern, metal storage basket. 

DIY Modern Storage basket
DIY custom modern storage baskets

STEP 1: cut two leather strips, 3/4" wide

DIY Custom modern storage basket
IMG_9306.JPG

STEP 2: punch hole on one side of the first leather strip in the center, about 1/4" from end

DIY Custom modern storage basket

STEP 3: Wrap handle around the basket and mark spot for the second hole

DIY Custom modern storage basket

STEP 4: Fold handle in half and use the first holes to mark the second set. Repeat for the second handle 

DIY Custom modern storage basket

STEP 5: Hammer in the rivets

DIY Custom modern storage basket

and you're done!

DIY Custom modern storage basket

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How To Do A Complete Closet Overhaul

As you know, I am here in Michigan, currently without a closet. As I packed up my life to make the cross country move, I took the opportunity to edit and refine my closet. In my 20's I would have described my style as mix between Zoey Deschanel and Carrie Bradshaw. I couldn't resist a quirky print and I often frequented my favorite vintage shops hunting for charming fit and flare dresses. I paired those with blazers and finished the look with a vintage belt and the most ridiculous platforms or stilettos you have ever seen. Now, not so much. These days I live in jeans, a tee with a blazer or a blouse and mules. My heels don't get much play and my vintage dresses were stuck in the back of the closet. It was time for an overhaul. 

Back in January one of my favorite bloggers/Instagrammers, Jen Pinkston of The Effortless Chic posted a closet overhaul series over on Instagram. I've read lots of closet makeover posts in my day, but Jen's philosophy stuck with me. You can read all about her method here, but I'll give you the cliff's notes version in this post. 

How to do a closet overhaul

Step 1. Separate your real life from your fantasy life. Be honest with yourself, when you're reviewing your closet, and you come across a pair of heels you hastily purchased after seeing them on your favorite blogger at a high fashion event, remember that her life isn't yours. You need clothes that work for you. 

Step 2. Journal your outfits for a week. Notice what kind of outfits you wear most and what kind you don't. If you live in lounge wear, might be time to consign the pencil skirts and invest in chic casual wear. 

Step 3. Make a mood board. I feel like most of the closet overhauls I read about start here, but I love that Jen's method started with you evaluating your actual life and how you wear clothes. This is my favorite step, but even if you're not as much of a mood board enthusiast as I am, this is a very important step, as these visuals will be your North Star as you're evaluating your clothes. 

Jen goes on to explain that this is hugely important - every time you go into a store or on a website, that store is trying to sell you on their brand vision. That's why when you go into Free People you suddenly feel like you could pull off the boho goddess look, but if it doesn't align with your vision of your style, put down the fringe vest!

Here is my style vision board, French "it" girl meets California casual for coffee in SOHO (you can come up with anything, and I mean anything that resonates with you). But what on Earth does that mean. For me, I am often attracted to all the best French girl style, the effortless chic jeans and blouse look isn't exactly what I gravitate toward in store, but it's what I like to wear and the balance of dressy and casual that fits my lifestyle. Because the denim and tee look is such an important part of my wardrobe, I had to register the California vibes that wear on the daily. I also love blazers and some more polished pieces bring in a little New York style. Here's what that looks like to me:

CLOSET-MAKE-OVER2.jpg

I would also take this a step further and create a color palette, this will ensure maximum mix and match versatility in your closet. Stay tuned for my palette in an upcoming post. 

Step 4. Purge! Ditch anything that doesn't fit, is worn out or damaged and doesn't fit your vision. 

  • pull anything out of season and store away or at least put aside for now
  • organize your closet by category - this way you can see if you have 6 blazers that you haven't worn in a year, or not one skirt that suits your stule
  • pull your three favorite outfits that fit your style vision, use them as your guide and as you go through your closet. If you're on the fence, ask yourself if each piece can mix and match with your outfits. 

Keep going until you have a closet full of clothes you love to wear. 

How to do a complete closet overhaul

Step 5. Begin to fill the holes in your wardrobe. Through your journaling or organizing you may have noticed some pieces you may be missing. In my recently closet I tossed all my tees with stretched necks or distorted hems, currently I'm shopping for more polished tees that look great layered under blazers or stand alone with jeans or a skirt. 

  • Consider a favorite piece, do you love the cut? would you benefit from having it in another color? or lighter or heavier weight fabric?
  • Does your work wardrobe need a refresh? Maybe a chic trouser that can be paired with several tops that already live in your closet. 
  • be mindful about your purchases, think about your ratio of the tops and bottoms you already own. Similarly, think about your shoe closet in the same way, do you need another pair of shoes that you might only wear to a wedding once every other year?

My favorite piece of Jen's advice: Will this piece make getting dressed much easier in the morning? Can you easily think of three different ways you would wear it and three different places you would wear it to?

The goal at the end of all this is to have a closet full of clothes that you love, that fit your style and that style together seamlessly. The goal is to be more intentional and less spontaneous. 

photos: 1 / 2 

Breuer Cesca Chairs

I took a little time off from blogging to pack up our house and move our lives across the country. We are now settled (sort-of) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, currently staying with my in-laws. I am back at the computer and naturally I am thinking about what's next, aka, stalking Zillow and designing every home I love in my mind, and sometimes even on photoshop. It's what's on the brain, so it's only natural that I would start with an interiors post.

Today, I'm talking about one of the vintage finds I added to my list, and actually already checked off (!), the Breuer Cesca chair. Marcel Breuer was a Hungarian born modernist architect and furniture designer. He invented the tubular steel bicycle handlebar-inspired furniture in the 1920's. The specific chair I'm looking at today is the Cesca chair, named after his adopted daughter, Francesca. The chair was named one of the 10 most important chairs of the 20th century. It comes both upholstered and caned and given the surge of wicker and natural furniture, I have been digging the caned version. It's no wonder, these chairs are everywhere I turn, looking fab at a dining table, completing an office desk, or casually styled in a breakfast nook. The modern metal with the natural caned seat and back are perfectly California cool.

I am happy to say I own four (currently somewhere in storage) for a mega steal on Craigslist for $80! I cannot wait to figure out exactly where they will live in our future home. 

Breuer Chair
Cane Chairs
Breuer Chairs
 photos:  1  /  2  /  3  /  4  

photos: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 


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Simple Spring Look

As we pack up to make the big move, I am forced to do a try capsule wardrobe for the next few months. If you've been following along on Instagram, you may already know I've been honing my look and editing accordingly. Since closet space will be very very limited until we get a space of our own, I can only bring the absolute essentials. However I will be meeting up with fellow creatives, for which this is the perfect outfit, I will be working from home, hello leggings, and I will be going on interviews, definitely need some heels. I've got a post coming up all about the look I'm going for and how I'm approaching narrowing it down to about 50 pieces (not including workout gear). For now, a spring look that will be on repeat all season long! 

All white for Spring
All white for Spring
All white for Spring

culottes: H&M / shirt: men's H&M (similar) / belt: Gucci / sunnies: Target / bag: Zara (similar) / shoes: M4DE


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We're Moving!!

I don't even know where to start with this post. I guess I'll start with the bomb, we are leaving our beautiful home outside New York City and moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan. New York, the city for 8 years and the Hudson Valley for the last four, have been my home. Friends, job, home, life it's all here. But our families are there. I am mourning the loss of my old life, but so excited about the future! 

New York City

I moved to New York City directly out of college. I didn't leave the door open to go anywhere else. I can still remember the morning I arrived. My parents drove me from Michigan, the car packed with only clothes, a computer and a few personal possessions. We stayed overnight in a hotel in Newark and the next morning they would leave 22 year old Lauren in the Financial District of Manhattan. A few days later I started an internship at The Sak, which later became my job. The job. The only job I had in my 12 years here.

At 22 I had visions of meeting, dating and marrying a guy in this city. Maybe he would be from Connecticut or maybe Florida and New York would make sense, this would be my home forever. I didn't think I would marry my best guy friend from college. Kyle moved from Chicago in 2010 to New York to be with me. Kyle took me on a scavenger hunt around the city that ended in a proposal.  We got married and lived together on the Upper East Side, until we decided we wanted the American dream and went north in search of a house.

Then Oliver came along. And we began to long to be closer to family. Every few months we would discuss moving "back home" to be closer, make things a little easier, people near by to help out if we were in a jam. I was always the one to shoot down the idea, citing the fashion industry and my love for New York City as my reasons we needed to stay. 

Then my dad died. Next week will be a year when I sat on his bed in the hospital room and told him we were thinking of moving back to Michigan, the first person I confessed to that this was a real possibility. His response was, "Why would you do that, Lauren? Your job is there. There's nothing here for you." The sting of not being present or helping as my dad went though his illness was definitely a deciding factor for me, to tip the scales in favor of moving back to the Midwest. Then it became a question of when. Do I have another baby first? Or do we settle there and then try? The truth is there is never a good time, so we decided to pull the trigger and put our house on the market. 

What will we do when we get there? We are moving in with Kyle's parents to transition us. I am staying on remotely with my job to finish up the season I'm working on and Kyle already works remotely so he will keep his job. I will be looking for a job in Grand Rapids, and my options are very open. There are a few fashion companies, I've been exploring interior design opportunities as well as event jobs. With extra hands to help out and a much shorter commute, I hope to devote more time to this space. I can't wait to share as I explore my new city, decorate a new home and settle into life as a Michigander once again. 

photo: Clare Mullins Photography

Family Vacation to Costa Rica

A few weeks back we took a magical family vacation to Costa Rica. Kyle and I had been there before, our first trip together, back in 2010. When deciding where to travel this year we knew we wanted to go somewhere warm and affordable. We considered other Central American Countries, Caribbean and Mexico. We had the best time our first trip to Costa Rica and found flights that were too good to pass up, so we booked! We choose Playa Hermosa mostly because the beach reviews on Trip Advisor, as well as the proximity to the airport (LIR). 

Costa Rica Family Vacation

We stayed at Club Condovac. It too was a great deal and lovely for the money and perfect for our needs. They had three pools, including a kiddie pool, a restaurant on the grounds, located right on the beach. Each room has a kitchen and they also have a little store with a small food section, souvieners, wine and beer. 

Condovac, Playa Hermosa
Costa Rica Family Vacation

If you haven't been to Costa Rica, you may not know that they are all about the excursions. They cater to the tourists that want to do all the country has to offer, beaches, rainforest, volcanos and more. Most hotels have on premise tour guides that schedule and even lead day trips to any of these areas. Obviously traveling with a 3 year old limits what we can do, so when I found a river boat tour that offered views of animals and very little walking, I signed us up. We took the 45 minute ride from our hotel to Palo Verde National Park. We hopped on a personal river boat and took a cruise with monkey, crocodile and lots of bird sightings. 

Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation

Most of our time was spent at the pool, the beach and enjoying the sunsets. 

Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation
Condovac Hotel, Playa Hermosa

One of my absolute favorite parts of the trip was watching Oliver in the ocean. On the first day he decided that he was afraid of the waves. He refused to even dip his toe in the water. It took two days of sitting on the beach watching before he decided that he wanted to partake in the fun. I watched his little brain conquer his fear. At one point he repeated my affirmations to himself, "I got this," and ran into the water. Eventually he was so brave we had to hold him back. It was such a proud mommy moment and so fun to watch. 

Costa Rica Family Vacation

The hotel had a photographer that walked around capturing amazing moments that you could purchase later. I thought this was such a brilliant idea and was happy to fork over $30 for ten darling paparazzi images. 

Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation

My review of the trip was mostly glowing. Our first trip to Costa Rica we stayed a little further south, also on the Pacific coast, in a town called Tamarindo. Club Condovac was a nicer place than we stayed last time, but Playa Hermosa was very sleepy. Obviously we weren't hitting the town traveling with Oliver and all, but we would have liked a few additional resturant options.