Lakehouse Love

The more I stare at this before picture, the more that far wall begins to look like the face of a bewildered pig. Right? You totally see it too.

The pig was all like “Whoa guys. What is going on in this room? Someone please explain this rug. And what is UP with all the itty bitty art? Those valances look like offensive eyebrows. Oh, is that pleather??? I would close my eyes if I could, but they seem to be frozen open in endless horror.”

I’m sorry. Please excuse Bewildered Pig, he gets over-dramatic sometimes. It wasn’t that bad.  It basically looks like a budget vacation rental, and it very well could have been since this house sits on the shore of Lake Superior.

But Tanya knew this tired lakehouse had the potential to become her dream home. She moved in and brought along her mid-century inspired aesthetic and completely transformed it.


lakehouse living room redesign


lakehouse living room redesign after

Such a dramatic change! She struggled at first with furniture placement until she decided on this sectional which offers tons of seating without compromising the view from the (now blessedly unadorned) windows. Painting the entire wall black including the brass vents and fireplace doors was another smart update.  It required zero demo to achieve this much more cohesive, streamlined, and swine-free look.

Much more to see on her blog Dans Le Lakehouse!

Plus check out her kitchen makeover from a couple years back, it’s still one of my favorites!


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Asian Equation

What do you get when you take an stark apartment in Brooklyn, divide it with a good mix of mid-century furniture, plus a homeowner who wanted to increase functionality while factoring in a slight Asian influence on a fraction of a budget, with a common denominator of designer Lindsay Pennington?

Probably something exactly like this:

brooklyn apartment makeover

brooklyn apartment makeover after

Lindsay’s client already had a great collection of mid-century furniture pieces which helped the budget stretch. Mid-century styles are often so streamlined and simple that they can end up looking stark on their own. Lindsay really warmed up the room with art, accessories, and accent lighting. It’s so much more vibrant! You practically see the change in the energy of the room.

Imagine walking into the before room as if it were your own home.

Now imagine walking into the after. Are you spinning in gleeful circles, head thrown back and arms outstretched? ME TOO!

I also love the art arrangement above the sofa. That can be such a tricky space to decorate. I never would have considered using three large pieces of art, but it really adds interest (and the requisite Asian flair) without being too much or too little. Perfect.


Lindsey also rearranged the artwork in the bedroom. Before, the paintings above the nightstand were so low, they didn’t do much besides weigh the room down. Most mid-century furniture has such a low profile anyway; you can see that everything in here was just a few feet off the floor.

brooklyn apartment bedroom copy


brooklyn bedroom makeover after

The new artwork above the bed immediately raises the whole room, especially with that charcoal-colored wall grounding it. Floor to ceiling curtains are magically magic at softening everything, and I love that Lindsay also used the client’s original bedspread in the final look.

Adding drama, subtracting starkness, maximizing a budget …

It’s a formula for success!

See much more from Lindsay and this project on her site Lindsay Pennington Inc.

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I’m getting good vibes.

I love finding a new-to-me blog, and I reckon you do too. There is always, ALWAYS something new out there to discover in the blogosphere. Which begs the question: Are there too many blogs? Um, I’m sorry, but does anyone walk into a library and say “Whoa! There are too many books in here!” No they do not. Blogs are the best. High-five your favorite blog today.

Back to this new-to-me blog. It’s called Designing Vibes, written by Erica, who has impeccable style and is also too gorgeous to be an actual human person. She has dubbed her aesthetic ‘rustic coastal modern,’ which looks as dreamy as it sounds. Let’s take a peek at her entryway makeover for example:

Light and Bright Entry Way Before


Light and Bright Entry Way makeover

Such a great change without any huge dramatic effort. Just new paint, lighting and decor. The flooring and the doors remained the same, but look right at home now in the ‘rustic coastal’ mix.

Erica is in the process of transforming her entire home, a rancher built in the eighties with plenty of charm. And plenty of opportunity for upgrades, like any home built 30+ years ago. Her kitchen looks like it got a total overhaul …


Light and Bright Kitchen Before


Light and Bright Kitchen

But again, it’s mainly cosmetic changes. The flooring and counters remain the same, and the cabinets have been repainted, not replaced. Budget friendly without looking budget friendly? That’s my jam.

Her dining room is probably my favorite makeover of all. Before, so many ’80s country decor cliches were happening: wallpaper border, hunter green on beige color combo, light fixture possibly stolen from an old-timey saloon, but now?

Light and Bright Dining Before

Light and Bright Dining

Hello gorgeous! Erica is a natural at mixing styles and textures, pulling off a room that is as elegant as it is cozy and welcoming. Everywhere you look there is something enjoyable for your eyeballs to land on. Dreamy!

Much more to see of her dining room here.


Happy weekend friend!

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Go with the faux.

What is your verdict on faux fireplaces?  Are you like “faux no!” Or are you more like “faux sho!” I have a faux fireplace in my home, and I admit that it gets mixed reviews, and I’ll admit further that those mixed reviews come from myself. Some days I think it’s great. Like around Christmastime when it’s all decorated and cute.  At other points in the year I look at it and feel puzzled and slightly … unnerved. What is this thing and what is it doing here and why?

Here’s the thing. I don’t love LOVE it because it just looks kinda fake. Because it is fake. If you’re unfavorable of faux fixtures for this very reason, let me show you something that might change your mind.

Distressed Charcoal Mirror Placement Before

Distressed Charcoal Mirror Placement

Wait. What were we even talking about? Because whatever it was, I’m not seeing any evidence of it in this photo. All I see is a Really McReal fireplace of Realness with a side of Reality.

The overmantle and the stacked stone surround are really what give it weight and keep it grounded. It’s not just floating in the space; it looks like it’s always been there. Lauren at Bless’er House is the mastermind behind this makeover, but that’s not all.

Once the giant TV was out of the picture, she needed something else to fill the space above the mantle.  This mirror was the perfect size with a pretty shape, but it also came with an aging gold finish that was flaking off and not right for the room anyhow.

Distressed Charcoal Mirror Before


Distressed Charcoal Mirror

She painted it gray first, then black, using Vaseline to age it just so, and now it’s the perfect finishing touch. Gorgeousness all around. Great job Lauren!

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