2018 Gift Guide // Mom So Hard

This was supposed to go up on Friday, but sheesh I have been going a million miles a minute trying to do all the things for the house and for the holiday season. The blog has taken a back seat to life, but there is so much I am excited to share, starting with my final gift guide - Mom so hard. Because mom’s make the world go round, and they deserve some extra love for all they do, I put together a special, indulgent gift guide.

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  1. Ça Suffit Tee - pronounced SAH-SUE-FIE - means "That’s Enough” in French, often used as an exclamation when someone is mad or exasperated, proceeds from this tee support one of my biggest causes, Everytown for Gun Safety.

  2. Powersheet Planner - because mama’s got big goals and needs help organizing herself to accomplish them!

  3. PJ set - thinking a pretty set of PJs should be a permanent staple on my Christmas list

  4. ceramic mug - cause there is never enough coffee or enough cute mugs

  5. bike trailer - now that we live in a darling neighborhood and have places to ride a bike, I want to be prepared come spring!

  6. to-go salad container - I bring my lunch almost everyday and a high functioning container would be life changing.

  7. multi use utensils - I am obsessed with having intentional and beautiful items in my home and kitchen. I want to toss (or donate) the utensils I bought back in my collage days and trade up for well designed fresh items

  8. a facial - because I deserve it!

  9. Swedish Hasbeen clogs - I have been coveting a pair of these “mom shoes” for years, and I just love this shade of blush

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2018 Gift Guide // Home Goods

As a gal who just bought a new house, if you guessed my Christmas list was 95% home goods, you’d be correct. I’m coveting all kinds of updated pretty things to sprinkle into my assortment.

Home Goods Gift Guide
  1. Marble Chain - this accessory would take any surface to the next level

  2. Wood Candlesticks - love these minimal handmade candlesticks as fresh mantel decor

  3. Handmade napkins - moving toward zero waste will be easier with these sweet hand-printed napkins

  4. Mid-century planter - every plant needs a pretty home

  5. dish rack - starting over in a new house makes me want to have well-designed everything, even the dish rack

  6. Get It Together! - Do you follow Orlando Soria? He is hilarious! I cannot wait to dive into his undoubtedly funny book

  7. desk lamp - because my desk needs an upgrade

  8. fancy slippers - since I’m upping my game everywhere else, how about sequined fuzzy slippers too!?

  9. pottery class - I’ve been dying to take a pottery class, think it would be a great night out with a girl friend or even a solo mom’s night off

2018 Gift Guide // Clean Beauty

I just love that clean beauty is becoming so main stream. One of my biggest complaints in making the switch was that when I ran out of something it would take a while for me to refill and replace. Now so many shops, both online and brick and mortar carry my favorite products and I don’t have to resort to a quick, “dirty” drugstore replacement. A few weeks back I ordered the starter kit from Credo Beauty, it was a great way for me to try a bunch of products and find new staples. From that kit as well as my standard clean-beauty go-tos, I put together this clean beauty gift guide.

Clean Beauty Holiday Gift Guide

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Must Have Winter Wedding Photos

My latest post is live over on Something Turquoise. I am talking all about the “shot list.” What it is, why you should have one as well as my round up of must have photos for your winter wedding. Click over to see all the details.

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Click to see my archive of posts over on Something Turquoise.

Introducing Our New House!

We put the One Room Challenge project to bed just in time, because we bought a house! After six months of looking, we finally signed the papers and made it official on Tuesday, November 6th! We looked 21 houses, there were three we really considered. We put an offer in on one that didn’t get accepted, and finally, we have a new home! We worked all weekend painting and getting things ready. One third of our stuff arrived from storage and this week the rest will be delivered and we plan to move in next weekend. I am most definitely in the stay up until all hours of the night scrolling Pinterest and Instagram gathering inspiration phase! Check out my “Dream Home” series to get an idea of where my head is at.

A few quick stats about the home, she was built in 1984, 2900 square feet, 4 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths.

Our New House

This bright open living room is what sold us on the house. After spending most of our time in our old living room, which was open and inviting, we knew a big living room was pretty much at the top of our must-have list. I love the balcony and the stair case. I keep picturing Ollie waking up on Christmas morning and running down the stairs to see what Santa left him.

LIVING ROOM PROJECTS

  • Immediate: paint, we actually already got to business on this one. This weekend we put a fresh coat of white paint on the walls and trim. Next we will update built in with floating shelves.

  • In the next 6 months to a year: Change out the light fixtures, update flooring, paint the fireplace

New House Plans
New House Plans

The kitchen definitely isn’t the big open dream kitchen I was hoping for. But it’s bright and somewhat open to the living room. I love the built-in breakfast area and I think with some small changes it could be really good and eventually we can save up and make it great!

KITCHEN PROJECTS

  • Immediate: update the breakfast nook, remove built-in desk and shelving

  • Next 6 months: update backsplash, remove uppers and bulkhead above the sink, and add open shelving. Paint cabinets and update hardware.

  • Long term: Open up wall between kitchen and library (where the fridge is in the photo below) and move the dining table to the library. Replace flooring, new cabinets (or reface).

New House Plans
New House Plans

Next room is the three seasons room, right off the kitchen. Currently it’s the plant room. I plan to put the dining table in here, but the problem is that the room is not heated, so unless we get a heating source, we won’t be dining in there anytime soon. I love the lighting and to me it feels like a great place to have a dining table.

THREE SEASONS ROOM PROJECTS

  • Immediate: paint the paneling, change the lighting

  • Next 6 months: replace flooring with tile

  • Future: add a permanent heat source

New House Plans

This is the room I referred to as the library above. I haven’t quite cultivated a vision for this room. But I think we will start with removing the wallpaper.

New House Plans

Our master bedroom is just off the living room. It has tall ceilings, a sliding door to the deck and a big closet. There is a lot to love. But the bathroom. Oh lordy the bathroom. She needs a facelift!

MASTER SUITE PROJECTS

  • Immediate: paint closet and bedroom

  • Next 6 months: replace flooring

  • Next year: Gut bath renovation. A year might be a pipe dream, but it’s bad, so hopefully we can pinch our pennies enough to make it happen.

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New House Plans

There are two bedrooms upstairs. One will be Ollie’s room and the other will be a playroom until another little comes a long. I am so excited to design these rooms for my little man, who has been a trooper living with only a few toys and no space of his own, now he will have two rooms to enjoy!

UPSTAIRS BEDROOM PROJECTS

  • Immediate: Paint

  • Next year: replace floors, replace closet doors

New House Plans
New House Plans

All four bathrooms in this house need serious updating. I plan to tackle the powder room soon. Once I cut my teeth with the small bath, I will probably DIY the upstairs down the road. I definitely won’t miss that blue countertop!

New House Plans
New House Plans

Check out my Dream Home 2.0 Pinterest board for all my inspiration and products on my short list to purchase.

One Room Challenge // Kitchen Renovation Week 6 - The Reveal

It is finally here, the big reveal! I am so thrilled to show you this finished room!

To catch you up to speed. I am in between homes, my family recently moved back to our home state, Michigan, from New York. I decided to tackle my mom’s kitchen as a guest participant in the One Room Challenge, both as a pet project while I was unemployed, as well as a way to give something back to my mom. We lost my dad a year and a half ago, he was the one who instilled the fearless DIY into me and the one who would have been there by my side coaching me if he were still alive. I am certain he would be just as over the moon as my mom is with the end result.

ONE ROOM CHALLENGE RECAP

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal
One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal

BEFORE

One Room Challenge Kitchen Before
One Room Challenge Kitchen Before

What we did:

  • added trim, painted cabinets, changed hardware

  • updated trim (goodbye scallops)

  • installed butcher block counter tops

  • tiled backsplash

  • installed new sink

  • built in banquet seating that will also function as a dog cage

  • removed wallpaper

  • added trim to paneling and pained walls

  • updated lighting

  • styled to add function and maximize beauty

Completely DIY and all on a budget of around $4k!


One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal
One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal
One Room Challenge Makeover Reveal - Lauren Koster Creative
One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal

I added so many special and personal touches to this room. I had my son, niece and nephew paint pictures to use to style the shelves and walls. I added a gallery wall with photos of the family for grandma to proudly show off as guests enter. And, the landscape below was painted by my great aunt. I dug it out from the basement and gave it a frame update.

One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal

There are a couple tiny items I still might tackle, including modernizing the chairs by painting them black and finding a few more pieces of art for a couple empty wall spaces.

One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover Reveal

Of course this project was so close to my heart. My mom has given me so much, I was honored to give her a beautiful kitchen to be proud of and enjoy hosting her kids and grandkids in.

One Room Challenge - I made over my mom's kitchen!

resources:

Lighting: school house fixture / chandelier / pendant

Hardware: pulls / knobs

Counter tops: Lumber Liquidators / sink: Wayfair / rug in front of the sink: With Love From Her Heart / rug by door: vintage

Paint: walls - Cotton Grey by Behr / uppers - Swiss Coffee by Behr / lowers - True Taupewood - Behr / door - Opera Glasses

storage bench/dog crate: custom / curtains: Target / curtain rods: Target / floating shelves: Target / fruit bowl: Target / blue serving tray: Target / candle: Target / yellow vase: Target / placemats: Target / napkins: Target / pillows: The Counting House / gallery wall frames: Ikea / cutting board: Target


SHOP THE ROOM


Check out all my inspiration and products I’m using on my Pinterest board. And, click here to see the other participant's progress.

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Mood Board // Earthy Friendsgiving

I’ve been knee deep in the One Room Challenge, among other projects (more on those soon), and I got behind in my monthly mood board series. Better late than never. It’s November, so of course I had to dream up a pretty tablescape to inspire your Thanksgiving celebration. I love the soft colors of this dreamy mood board, it feels so earthy and natural with subtle hints of traditional fall elements in the dried flowers and greenery. I wish I had a dinning table set up and ready to style with this lovely scene.

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A BIG Happy Exciting Life Update!

Lauren Koster Creative

A lot has happened in the last month. A lot of really great things! In September I had been unemployed for two and a half months, we had been living with my in-laws for four months and desperation was starting to sink in. I wouldn’t say I was in a dark place, but I was on my way. The rejection gauntlet of unemployment can be very hurtful to the ego. And I was feeling bruised. And it all felt so naked going through it while living in someone else’s space. Then there was house hunting. finding a house we liked and could also get approved for on one salary was proving to be quite a challenge. So I did the logical thing, I decided to take on renovating my mom’s kitchen as a pet project. Lol. It has occupied my time and taken my mind off feeling less than in the past couple of months.

Then, in late September, a wonderful girl boss reached out to me. She got my resume from an old high school friend who saw a post on Facebook. A post that took a lot of courage for me to write, admitting finding a job in Michigan was much more challenging than I thought it would be, and leaning on my network to help. It worked! Because of that post, Rose found me. The moment I stepped into Conscious Clothing I knew it would be a great fit. I loved everything about the vibes I got. Their clothes are beautiful and their values are honorable. I am now working part time for an amazing company that makes sustainable clothes in a beautiful studio only a 10 minute commute away. I am stretching my legs and working on marketing and creative services. I am so excited because they not only have great product, but also such a good story to tell and I’m honored to help tell it.

Around the time that Rose found me, I wrote to my intuition to ask what I should do next. My intuition told me to reach out to someone I admired. I immediately decided to cold email KLH Custom Homes, an awesomely talented and forward thinking design and building company here in West Michigan. Their work is amazing and totally aligned with my design style. I cobbled together the interior work I have done into a portfolio. And the wonderful people at KLH decided they liked what they saw enough to take a chance on me! I start as an interior design assistant next week!

I am still moving forward with Lauren Koster Creative. I have a few weddings booked for 2019, I just did a bridal show and I am looking to book several more, as well as continuing to build my installation business. It all sounds like a lot and it is, but I used to blog and run my business after working 40+ hours a week and commuting an hour and a half each way. My new schedule is going to allow so much freedom and flexibility to spend time with my family and work on growing my business.

None of this is how I thought it would look. I pictured myself moving here and finding a full time job while keep Lauren Koster Creative as a side hustle for the time being. But I am so happy at the way things are unfolding. I am so thrilled to be stretching my legs in so many directions. And beyond excited to be working with two wonderful family-run local businesses.

Stay tuned for more news coming soon on the house front.

photo by: The Lipstick Lens / jumpsuit: Conscious Clothing / boots: Loeffler Randall