Moving from the city to the suburbs

Category Archives: Design

Apparently Kansas City is a hot ticket city right now. Last week, I gushed over IKEA’s opening in September. Little did I know at the time though that West Elm just opened a store on The Plaza!

Two of my favorite home shopping destinations from Chicago = a lot of excitement to start finishing those interior design projects at our house that I never started. Oh ya, because I had babies. Two of them. A dining room table is at the top of my list at the moment along with an ottoman for our living room. Although, I’m starting to lose hope on that search…

One thing I didn’t know about West Elm is how many local designers they feature at their stores. I haven’t been to the store yet, but at their opening last week, everyone was raving about Ampersand Design (already a favorite of mine), Happy Habitat, Hammerpress and Ruff House Art on Twitter and Instagram. And I can’t blame them. Check out these goods from the store (photos via the West Elm Front + Main blog):

Right now West Elm KC is offering a 15% off offer on Facebook, so snatch it up while it lasts and report back on your #westelmlocal finds!


Our house is a work in progress. The girls arrived about two months after we moved into our new house in Kansas City and we haven’t really 1) had time or 2) had a ton of flexible funds to design our whole house exactly how we want it to. Not to mention the whole toy overrun and baby-proof elements of our design drama. Did I mention we have a formal dining room with NOTHING in it? All of that to say: I’m on the hunt for a lot of things to complete our home lately.

Awhile back, we removed the coffee table from our living room. After Emma took a direct fall into the corner, I couldn’t live with the potential for her to do it again. Especially now that both Kate and Emma are able to climb onto the couch by themselves. The vacant hole that’s left in front of our couch has been haunting me ever since.

Since it’s hard to take the girls shopping for much longer than an hour, I’ve been searching online for the perfect soft ottoman to replace it. I’ve looked at Home Goods, West Elm, Target, Wold Market, Wayfair and Joss & Main but am still on the hunt.

Here are two that have come close – but both are too big for the space. Are they drastically different? Yes – I’ll be honest – I don’t think I’ll know what I want until I see it. Which is how I feel about most of the things we still need to pick out in our house.

West Elm Upholstered Tufted Ottoman

West Elm Upholstered Tufted Ottoman

Joss & Main Dorian Cocktail Ottoman


The girls’ nursery is finally starting to come together! Here is a sneak peek at one big piece of the room I finished with the help of my mom: overhauling an old dresser to use for the girls’ changing table.

Painting an old dresser has been on my DIY list since moving into our new house. I think I read through a thousand Pinterest projects and instructions to try and figure out the best way to tackle painting a dresser. Oh they make it look so easy, don’t they? Let me tell you from one novice-DIYer to another, this kind of a project scared the living crap out of me. But I’m so glad I jumped into the deep end of the pool because I love the way it turned out!

But before we get ahead of ourselves… let me bring you back to Earth with the reality of what I started with:

dresser diy before

I bought the dresser above at a local consignment store called Revival in Overland Park. They had a lot of great quality furniture that just needs to a new owner.

Here’s a quick run-down of the DIY steps it took to give this mid-century modern dresser a facelift! (Hint: if you just want to see the finished dresser, scroll to the bottom 🙂

1. Prep

After spotting this gem in the back of the store, I inspected the dresser to make sure it was in good condition, all the drawers worked and it didn’t have any flaws in the construction. I also took a lot of measurements to make sure it would fit into the room and the changing pad would fit on top nicely. We decided it was a good fit and hauled it back to the house to get started!

First, we pulled out all the drawers and set up a painting workstation in the garage with old sheets. We cleaned off the dresser, dusted and sanded down a few rough areas to get the dresser ready to paint.

I was not a fan of the old handles on the dresser, so I picked out two different kinds of handles and knobs from Anthropologie to give it a more modern look. Since the new handles were different lengths than the old ones, we unscrewed the old handles and filled the drawer holes with Elmer’s wood filler. After drying, we sanded down the excess glue to achieve a smooth surface for painting. (If you’re re-using the same handles, this part is unnecessary.)

2. Paint

We used two coats of Annie Sloane Pure White chalk paint to completely cover the wood grain. I wanted a finish where you could no longer see the wood grain, but if you’re going for a more shabby chic look, one coat would be plenty. The Annie Sloan lineup of chalk paint is a great solution for people like me who don’t want to mess with wood stains, lots of sanding, etc.

3. Replace handles

Anthropologie has a great selection of knobs & pulls, but I would also suggest checking out local vintage stores and Craigslist, too (depending on what kind of a look you’re going for). I picked out these Ceramic Peg Knobs in Mint and glass pull handles, similar to these Bubbled Glass Handles.

Anthropologie Ceramic Peg Knob

dresser diy knobs anthropologie


Once the paint dried, we measured the length of the new handles and drilled new holes in the drawers. We screwed in the new knobs and pulls and voila! A white dresser/changing table fit for the twin girls’ modern room.

dresser diy after

More photos of the complete nursery to come soon…

What’s your favorite DIY furniture project from your nursery or home?

Jen Signature


Life has been a bit crazy lately. Right after closing on our new house on Thursday, I had to go to Los Angeles for a weekend work trip. This meant pushing back our moving date to this weekend, but Mike figured in the meantime he could do a little painting before we moved in our furniture.

We picked out paint samples from Benjamin Moore (p.s. this part was SO hard) and went over the night after our closing to decide on a few key rooms we wanted to transform. Our priority list included the kitchen/living room, the master bedroom and bathroom and the nursery. There are a few other rooms on our to-do list, but these were the ones where the original paint colors in the house just wouldn’t do. Let me tell you, choosing paint colors in two hours before leaving town? Not easy. Especially when you’re an emotional mess of a pregnant lady, just ask Mike or my mom.

Little did I know, a whole village of family and friends was coming to help out. They say it takes a village … and can I just say that I have the best village a girl could ask for? Mike’s parents came down to help, my parents came over to help, my brother, some of my girlfriends. I think we have almost every room we want to paint complete! That’s a lot of painting in three days. It’s moments like this when I realize just how lucky I am to have family close-by. THANK YOU to everyone who helped already make our new house look so amazing.

Here are a few before/after painting shots of the living room and master bedroom – more to come soon! I’m especially excited about making over the nursery 🙂 Of course, we haven’t moved any furniture in yet so for now just picture a perfectly decorated room alongside the new paint.

Kitchen/Living Room

Before

Here’s a photo of the room before we bought the house. This paint color looked yellow/greenish in person and I wanted to find something that would complement the existing grey tones in the fireplace.
living room before

Paint Sample Choices

I was about 95% sure I was going to love Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter (shown on top) after seeing it all over the place on Pinterest. Just to be safe, I tested Benjamin Moore’s Stone Harbor (a darker hue shown on bottom), but the entry way is a dark grey color already so I wanted to lighten up the main level with a lighter color.
living room paint samples revere pewter stone harbor

After

I’m in love. Revere Pewter might be the best paint color ever (at least in my book). It’s a nice warm grey that has just a little beige in it.
living room after rever pewter

Master Bedroom

Before

Again, here’s another photo of the master bedroom (before we bought the house). For some, bright blue might be a great color. For me, it doesn’t exactly say “relaxing master retreat” which is what I need. Right before we moved out of our condo in Chicago, we painted it in Benjamin Moore’s Nimbus and fell in love. I swear, our whole new house isn’t going to be all grey… (although admittedly most of the paint colors will fall into the greige category).
master before

Paint Sample Choices

On top is Benjamin Moore’s Nimbus (the color we already we knew we liked). On bottom is Benjamin Moore’s Stone Harbor. I thought I may want a darker tone, but it turns out I still love Nimbus.
master before benjamin moore nimbus stone harbor

After

Ta-da! The reveal sans furniture is a tab underwhelming, yes, but I really like how the color turned out. It’s just enough of a silvery-grey to calm the space – which is exactly what I need to feel when I’m in my bedroom.

master after benjamin moore nimbus

More room reveals to come soon! You know, maybe even with some furniture in them?


I’ve realized over the past month that I am obsessed with grey right now. Grey everything! In looking for paint colors for the new house, what do I pick? Grey. Looking at nursery inspiration? I pin grey. What is it about this color that is so alluring?

It’s become obvious that our new house will be peppered in shades of grey (no pun intended), including the babies‘ room. Now that we have a house (well almost), I can really start planning the nursery!

The good news is Pinterest exists. I can think of no better way to gain inspiration. From pinning and browsing on Houzz, Project Nursery, Babble and countless other blogs, I think I’ve finally got a solid idea of the design direction I want to go with the nursery.

A quick sidebar: A big factor for some is the sex of the baby. For me, this wasn’t a huge influence for some reason. I’ve never been one to dream of a pink or a blue nursery. The fact that we’re having twins makes it a little more complicated. What if we have a boy AND a girl? We’ll find out soon (stay tuned in the next few weeks!) and maybe that will alter my thinking, but for now, my mind is set.

Here’s a taste of what’s in my head:

A backdrop of grey neutrals, mostly modern mixed with a little rustic, a bold birch tree statement wall, with pops of color and pattern through bedding, curtains and forest/woodland accessories.

1. A backdrop of grey neutrals…

Source: apartmenttherapy.com via Jen on Pinterest

2. Mostly modern …

Source: littlelovely.typepad.com via Jen on Pinterest

3. Mixed with a little rustic…

Source: etsy.com via Jen on Pinterest

4. With a bold statement wall (I think I’ve fallen in love with birch trees)…

Source: twitpic.com via Jen on Pinterest

5. Sprinkled with texture, forest/woodland accessories and pops of color (although I’m not sure what kind of color just yet)…

Source: etsy.com via Jen on Pinterest

Oh and did I mention this needs to fit within a tight, twin-friendly budget featuring two cribs? I’m up for the challenge!

Where did you find stylish and affordable modern nursery decor? So far, my favorite finds have been uncovered on Etsy!



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