Open House Inspiration

Does anyone else enjoy scouring real estate listings in their city? I love seeing what’s on the market in DC, although I didn’t think I’d find so much design inspiration in the process!

I’ll preface this post with a funny backstory…basically, I could’ve been a real estate agent in another life (or maybe I will be down the road, who knows!). Growing up, my dad and I went to open houses in our area almost every weekend. We both loved looking at what was out there–we’d find tons of listings and walk around various homes (sometimes just for fun, and sometimes to look at actual possibilities). We did end up moving houses when I was a sophomore in high school, but that hasn’t stopped us from still taking peeks at places in our current neighborhood when I’m home. We’d also do various drives throughout potential/dream neighborhoods. These would usually be over the summer, and we’d scope out tons of beautiful homes. It’s definitely sounds like a strange hobby as I describe it now, but we were (and still are) infatuated with real estate!

Anyway, fast forward about 15 years from when this obsession began…the other day, I was browsing Zillow and found the CUTEST apartment that I just had to share as design inspo (ok, mostly because of the pink SMEG fridge. But also, EXPOSED brick, which everyone knows by now is my weakness).

I mean…how perfect is this setup?

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Pinterest perfect rustic shelves and a pink fridge.

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The living room is nice and spacious and looks like it gets a lot of light, which is important.

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Wouldn’t this be the cutest bachelorette pad?

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Gorgeous built ins…

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I also love the bedroom. I’d change several things about it, but it has good bones, so to speak.

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I mean, wouldn’t you move in here? Also, should I make these posts a thing?!

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Patagonia for Less

I was reading Mackenzie’s blog post the other day about how she has scored RL sweaters in kids sizes for a much lower price, and I was inspired to do some searching of my own. In the past, I’ve bought NorthFace/Patagonia pieces in kids sizes and it’s worked out just fine! Since I’m on the taller side (I’m 5’7″) I do have to be careful about arm length (my friends who are 5 feet tall and really little have many more options–kids Burberry, Barbour, and the like all fit on them!). I’ve found that fleeces generally are ok; I just probably would steer clear of more fitted pieces.

It turns out that Patagonia is currently having a great sale on tons of kids items! I picked up this girls XL sweater for only $39 plus shipping and can’t wait to wear it this spring (is anyone else ready to put away the heavy layers for good at this point?!). I love the blue and have another better sweater in gray that’s held up wonderfully over the years (I’ve had it since I studied abroad in 2012!).

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Here are some of my other favorite sale picks from the Web Specials section (just hurry, as quantities are limited!):

Girls snap-T:

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Boys snap-T:

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Girls lightweight jacket:

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Old vs. New

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I posted on my Insta stories the other day about Target’s new Opalhouse line which launches this weekend and is full of amazing pieces (think cane, faux bamboo, and more, all at great prices). But it had me wondering…when it comes to furniture and accessories, do you like “old” or “new” better?

I personally like a mix of both, but I think overall, I’m going to have to go with old. This is definitely a preference that I’ve developed with age as I’ve started to see the value and charm in certain vintage pieces (plus, furniture was just made so much better in the past than it is now!). While I like the Target line and the looks that the brand is trying to recreate, I think I’d rather do a bit of digging and find a more one-of-a-kind piece that has a story. I’m not a huge fan of rooms that can easily be recreated with the click of a few buttons online, as I think they often are lacking in personality and just look too curated as opposed to collected. (That said, I’m eager to check out the collection in stores–I think with Target in particular, it can really help to see their pieces in person as opposed to just online).

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As for new-to-me “old” furniture, I recently lucked out on Craigslist and scored a gorgeous midcentury modern dresser for a very cheap price. In the market for something similar? I love Heather’s post on how she found the vintage furniture in her apartment. Etsy, Craigslist, and flea markets are certainly the way to go!

What are your thoughts? Do you prefer vintage, brand new, or brand new items that look vintage (i.e.: West Elm midcentury pieces and the like)? I’d love to hear!

Photos by Heather Bien

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Artist I Love: Juniper Briggs

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Have you heard of Juniper Briggs? I discovered her art last year and promptly ordered this print off of Minted, which made an appearance in my AT home tour (above). She’s also a local, working out of Bristow, VA. I’ve since wanted to expand my collection after seeing how gorgeous her work looks in so many different kinds of rooms, from offices to living rooms and more.

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Note that the work on her website is pretty expensive, so the best way to snag a piece of your own is going through Minted (unfortunately, the options are limited, but I’m loving this black and white face piece and may have to add it to my own cart…).

I love the below examples of how people have styled her art in their homes:

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Home Decor Articles I’m Loving

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Whenever I read an interesting article, I’ll email it to myself to post it on the blog, but that doesn’t always happen…whoops. However, I’m popping in with a quick post today because I wanted to share the articles below (and maybe this will become a regular thing!). I hope you enjoy them as much as I did…

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Plant Lady

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Lately I’ve been alllll about the plants. I purchased my first big plant over the weekend (at the hardware store, actually, for about $45!) and I’m loving the burst of energy it brings into my little nook upstairs. I’m also slightly nervous about accidentally killing it, and the lady at the hardware store who was answering all of my (very many) questions definitely wanted to laugh at me, but to be fair, I’ve heard that fiddle leafs are temperamental!

Earlier in the day, I had actually stopped in Little Leaf, one of my all-time favorite stores in the neighborhood (it’s adorable and happy and lively!) and fallen in lust with a lemon tree, but the salesperson warned me against buying it because of the direction my windows faced (he even located the compass app on my phone to help me be sure, haha). I was bummed to leave it behind, but I’d rather not bring an expensive plant home just to kill it, so the lemon tree will have to wait. In the summer, though, I could potentially reevaluate and get one for our roof!

I’ll admit that I’m not only drawn to plants because of the liveliness and color that the bring into a room, but also because they can make a normal space look SO good. I mean, seriously, can I turn our upstairs area into the room below?!):

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I’m really glad I thought to check the hardware store for a fiddle leaf plant, as while I’m obsessed with Little Leaf, they were selling fiddle leafs for about $110 versus $45ish at the ACE Hardware on 14th. I did look a little silly carrying the plant home with me (it’s pretty big, as you can tell in the picture, but thankfully was more bulky than heavy). I already had the woven basket at home (I was using it to store extra toilet paper in my bathroom) and realized it would make a cute planter, especially for something of this size.

If you’re a plant lover, how do you keep your green babies alive? I’m all ears!

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Apolis Market Bags

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I posted on Instagram the other day about the famous Apolis market bags which are 100 percent functional but also a favorite among design-lovers. The odds are that you’ve spotted these bags before–they’ve been popular for a few years, and Revolve in DC carries them. When browsing there the other day, the salesperson told me that one store in each city sells that city’s themed bags, which is interesting. However, they’re also available online…and that’s where I’m letting you in on a little secret.

While I was lusting over the Washington, DC, bag and knew it would make a fun decorative item (not to mention a totally practical grocery bag, especially since I try to use reusable ones whenever possible), the $68 price tag had me feeling a little iffy (it’s essential just a straw market tote, after all). I decided to think about it, and later in the afternoon I did a quick search for the bags online, hoping to score a coupon code. However, I was shocked when I saw that Nordstrom was selling them for $38, and right then I decided to place an order.

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Upon further inspection, it looked like the $38 bags were slightly different cosmetically than those being sold for $68, but they’re still completely authentic and look very similar to the pricier version. Given that I won’t be using the bag everyday (I intend to keep it on display rather than lugging it with me to Trader Joe’s, haha), the cheaper version was perfect for my needs. I’ve since learned that the $38 bags are vegan while the more expensive ones are leather, if that influences your decision at all.

I’ll definitely take some photos of my tote when it arrives, but in the meantime, I’m loving the different ways people have used/styled theirs (how cute would they be for bridesmaids/groomsmen? Bookmarking that idea for the future!). There are tons of different phrases and designs available on the Apolis site, if you’re curious.

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My Favorite Versatile Home Items

As someone who admittedly likes to move things around and try out new decor super frequently, it’s hard for me to feel super “attached” to certain items (actually, that’s not 100 percent true…I just want to keep everything and switch it out as often as I please–if only I had the space!). However, there are several pieces that I’ve purchased over the past few months and even years and haven’t regretted for a second.

forbetterdays4@gmail.com
forbetterdays4@gmail.com

First up is the Louis mirror I bought before moving into my current apartment. I’d been wanting one for awhile, and when Ballard Designs was having one of their sales, I went for it. I love the style–it’s elegant without being too over the top, so it goes with lots of different styles. It really completes my dresser area and is totally functional and big enough for me to get a good view of my outfit.

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My IKEA couch is something I mention in all of my home tours because it’s such a classic (at least in my spaces!). It’s held up wonderfully over the past four-plus years (minus several wine spills on the cushions, which I eventually replaced for good last summer by ordering a new slipcover). The only problem is that the new slipcover that IKEA makes is made of slightly different fabric than the sofa. I wouldn’t say it’s super noticeable, but it sticks out a little. I’ve also been really happy with the color–the gray goes with lots of different patterns and isn’t “loud” by any means. Trust me, you don’t need to have a $1,000 couch to tie your space together!

I bought this lamp from Target last year and while it’s currently in our living room, it could really work anywhere. I purchased a standing version off of Craigslist when we moved in, and that one is downstairs as well. I love the modern look and the gold, although I wouldn’t say it provides the best light. Still, for the price and the cute look, it’s a fave!

This jute rug from West Elm is everywhere, and for a good reason. I got ours on Craigslist right before moving in, and I snagged it for a steal (only $50!), which was amazing! It’s such a popular rug and is totally comfortable on its own (I was worried about the texture of the jute) or would look good with a colorful rug layered over it. It doesn’t shed too much (another concern of ours), although I’ve noticed little fibers on my clothes if I’ve been sitting directly on it.

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Call them unnecessary or overpriced (I won’t challenge you) but Diptyque candles are such a fun luxury item to have at home. They smell amazing, look stylish even when they’re empty, and add the right amount of glam to any space. This past summer, I had the chance to visit the Diptyque store while I was in Paris, and it was a dream–so many good smells!

What’s on your “must list” in terms of home items?

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How to Find the Perfect Accent Decor Piece

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Lately I’ve been drawn to all sorts of quirky accent pieces, so I was thrilled when I took a day trip to Frederick, Maryland, with my mom last week and visited several of the amazing antique stores in the area (I seriously could’ve spent the entire day exploring each nook of every store–there were so many great places–and for that matter, prices!). One thing that I’d been searching for forever was a cute little stone bust to place on my dresser. I search Etsy every now and then and just never had that much luck finding the right style/price/size. It didn’t occur to me to look for one during our trip, though, so I was ecstatic when my mom spotted this little lady for only $18. She didn’t even know about my failed Etsy searches, she just knew it was something I would like! I ended up just leaving with the bust and the glass vase (a recycled bottle) shown above, but I easily could’ve taken more things hope with me (#willpower).

I thought I’d share a few of my tips for when it comes to antiquing/thrifting–some of these are ones I should really keep in mind myself a little more than I usually do!

1) Buy strategically. You can interpret this in a few ways. I have some friends who are the most indecisive shoppers ever and will leave things on hold in stores almost every time they run an errand. (On the contrary, I’ve never been like this and scoop things up IMMEDIATELY when I see them–although I’m getting a little better about debating whether or not I really need something). Obviously in thrift store situations, you can’t keep items on hold, and you also may not be able to return them (again, I’m not a huge returner, but I have a lot of friends who are, and sometimes it’s nice to have that as an option). If you’re concerned about whether a piece will fit in your space, measure before you leave the house and bring your tape measure with you, because there’s (probably) no looking back once you buy that chair/nightstand/rug!

Going along with this, if you like something a LOT, you should scoop it up and purchase it that day (or minute, really!). The worst feeling ever is when you’re deliberating getting something, go back to the store the next day, and find out that the item sold. (I swear this makes me want the item even more than I probably did at first glance!). That said, don’t just buy something because it’s a good deal. If you aren’t normally into a particular style or have no use for an item, don’t get it just because it’s cheap. Unnecessary clutter is no fun and will just make your life more stressful!

2) Think about DIYs. I’ve mentioned this before, as there’s so much that paint and new fabric can do to completely transform a piece. That said, don’t get something that you’ll likely never take the time to fix. I’ve definitely been guilty of buying what I think is the perfect piece to paint and then never doing it. Again, you don’t want to accumulate clutter! If you’re not normally a DIY person or just don’t want to spend extra time and money making over a piece (even if it is a good deal), leave it behind.

3) Consider multiple purposes. Maybe a crystal or silver dish would also make the perfect jewelry holder, or a cute vase could double as a jar for makeup brushes. Get creative–I love seeing how people put different items to use in ways that are a little more untraditional. Cake stands look adorable when they’re used to hold perfume bottles, for example.

4) Ask about the item. Obviously you can’t really do this at a place like Goodwill, but if you’re at a smaller, one-of-a-kind store, the workers may know the story behind a certain piece (and I’m nosy, so I like knowing where something originally came from!). When I was at Miss Pixie’s a few weeks back, I found the cutest wall art that looked New Yorker-esque and asked one of the sales clerks about it. It turns out that he had actually framed the pieces himself and they were from an old UVA yearbook–I never would’ve guessed had I not asked, and now I have a cool story to tell about the piece I ultimately brought home with me!

5) Need more tips? Check out this post I wrote awhile back about thrifting furniture, and this one about some of my favorite thrift and vintage stores in DC.

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Minimalistic and Cozy

Happy Monday! But really, HAPPY MONDAY if you also have the day off today! This three-day weekend fell at exactly the right time, if you ask me. I’m still in the 90-day period at my new job where I’m not allowed to take days off, so federal holidays are as good as it gets!

In an effort to really make my lofted room feel all the more cozy (and to play up the architectural elements), I’ve been looking to Pinterest for inspo (as usual) and have found so many images that capture exactly what I’d love to recreate. This post is picture-heavy, but can you blame me?! Each of these spaces just looks so relaxing and comforting and the best part is that they’re free of STUFF (because truly, who can relax when there are piles of papers/magazines/clothes everywhere?

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That hanging lightbulb, though.

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More hanging lights.

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Love the pattern play and the gold sconce.

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Need a bench like this–love the rustic look!

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Ok, talk about rustic perfection. This space is goals!

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Swooning! Those lights and that bed frame.

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This spot is collected but calming.

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I also am obsessed with this Apartment Therapy tour that is basically the essence of all of the images above. The best part? This cute little space doubles as an Airbnb, so you can stay there and check it out for yourself! Also, if we aren’t Pinterest friends yet, add me right this way!

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