Powder Room Design

I’ve come to the conclusion that the rooms that I create inspiration boards for are actually going to be the rooms that get done last. Nevertheless, here’s my vision for our downstairs powder room, which – fingers crossed! – we can have done by the end of summer.


This bathroom gets a ton of use, as we spend most of our time downstairs. It is also probably one of the ugliest rooms in the house – I’m talking a vanity that looks like it was decoupaged with dried blood, wall lighting circa the mid-1980s, and tiny rhinestones on the walls. It is literally bedazzled.

Since the room has no natural light to begin with – and because I want to have one darkly painted room in the house – I decided to capitalize on that and go moody and dark with black shiplap (Benjamin Moore Soot). My husband thinks shiplap will be easier to install than tile (the other look I was leaning towards), knock on wood. I’m still debating horizontal or vertical installation.

With statement walls, we can keep it simple with a pedestal sink rather than a full-fledged vanity, which helps keep the cost down. There seem to be an infinite number of hardware options (just see my Pinterest board) – do I pair polished nickel finishes with a brass pivot mirror? Or chrome finished hardware with a round oak mirror? I ultimately decided on a rattan mirror with polished nickel and a touch of white porcelain because the scale of the mirror I found was just right.

I love the idea of showcasing art in various places throughout our home in untraditional places, like the bathroom or the laundry room. I’m eyeing a piece like this one from Laurie Anne Art for above the toilet, but I’m not opposed to a Rose Bowl flea market vintage find either.

I’m rough estimating our budget to be around $3,000, but I think we’ll get it done under that amount. I stalk sales, free shipping promos and cash back deals like my second job. Also, we’ll do the labor ourselves – you can bet that I signed Dave up for the upcoming How to Install a Toilet workshop at our local Home Depot.

Side note: I'm completing re-doing my laundry room design because turns out, it's been done! (Unbeknownst to me at the time I published). Sorry, Hartley Home, I promise I wasn't trying to pose! I have another idea in mind, and the wallpaper was going to be a hassle to put up anyway (and probably a little bit too girly).


Mid-Century Meets Tropical & Traditional.

Having a house has been the best thing ever for my creative energy. I've been having the most fun decorating so many new spaces.


I've been on Pinterest, gathering inspiration for the different spaces in our home. Pinterest keeps me from being impulsive and buying things that are cute but that don't fit into my vision, but it also keeps me from being indecisive. I've found that a carefully curated vision board really helps me nail down my color palette, which makes it easier to purchase items that fit what I want for the space.

The front bedroom in our house is where my parents stay when they visit. They are pretty easy to please, but I wanted to make sure the space reflected them, as well as me. I have two different looks that I've envisioned for this space, one for spring/summer, the other for fall/winter (which I'll share later). 

no 17 front bedroom

I bought the rattan headboard for $15 off Craigslist back when we were living in a one-bedroom. I've hoarded it for years. It has interesting lines, and my dad really likes it, so I'm glad that it is being put to good use now. The Drexel campaign dresser was a garage sale find  – we paid $200 for it. I wouldn't describe myself as a huge mid-century person, but campaign style furniture is hard for me to pass up.

The banana leaf pillows are like sunshine for this bed. I love them. It pays homage to the Philippines, and is the perfect splash of fun and eclectic for the spring/summer version of this room. As soon as I saw them at Target, I knew they would be great for this room and a way to incorporate some green. I already had a mud cloth lumbar pillow that I bought from Mae Woven – the one pictured is similar.

I love that painting so much. Lulie Wallace's artwork is a go-to for me. I love the blues. I love the tropical looking greenery. I love the lemons (my parents have this amazing Meyer lemon tree in their backyard). This is out of my budget (though worth every penny), so I'm not so secretly hoping she makes this into a print.

The slipper chairs pictured are similar to the Quatrine slipper chairs I picked up at a garage sale (2 for $75!), except that mine have removable, washable slipcovers, and no tufting. The side table pictured is actually an outdoor table. I want a table like the one pictured here, but I'm not sure where to get it.

Sources: Lulie Wallace art | rattan headboard (I found that on Chairish, but it has since sold) | oversized banana leaf pillows |  mud cloth lumbar pillow | striped duvet set | round mirror | white textured vase | green vases | campaign dresser | tufted slipper chairs | metal accent table.

So far, I've only spent about $450 on the decorative items and furniture in this room, not including the mattress. I still need to purchase the mirror, art, an accent table, window coverings, and some of the smaller decorative items, but this room already feels so much closer to "finished."


Modern & Coastal Dining Room Inspiration.

I'm starting with our dining room because it's the smallest space and the one least likely to go through any significant iterations. I want this room, and our house in general, to feel modern and coastal, but also casual (read: kid-friendly), airy, with a little vintage thrown in the mix.

ridge house dining room

Chandelier | Mirror | Bowl | Tapers | Dining Table and Bench | Paint Color | Image | Tufted Chair

It's been overwhelming thinking of all the work that we still have to do on the house, even though we're all moved in. We have parts of the downstairs taped off and spackled, but have yet to paint, which means we can't really unpack or settle furniture. The dining room seems like the easiest place to start because: 1. there are no windows, so painting is easy and 2. we already have most of the essentials, including this modern farmhouse table in a mango wood, that I love, and a beautiful capiz chandelier that we just purchased.

I'm really excited to layer texture and dimension in this space by incorporating different finishes: warmth from the mango wood, a little shimmer from the capiz and contrast from the polished chrome pendant and cement tapers.

The dining area is recessed (I'll share pictures later), so I was looking for a way to incorporate mirrors without having to "ground" them with a buffet or sideboard (which we don't have room for). I have so many beautiful dark wood Pottery Barn frames that we received from our wedding that are just asking to be put to use in a gallery wall with some additional metal touches like this rose gold metal framed mirror and a few more polished nickel frames. The pink bowl in my inspiration board is totally out of my budget, but maybe I can find a lookalike at Target? Maybe it has something to do with being outnumbered by the boys in my house, but I'm all about pink these days.


Our Slow and Steady Pre-Move Progress.

We move in at the end of this week after what seems like the longest month of my life. No blood, but lots of sweat and tears were shed just working on these cosmetic updates. 


The upstairs has undergone a significant facelift. The only spaces we didn't touch were the bathrooms, as those are going to get gutted and renovated, hopefully within the next year.

  • We had recessed lighting installed in three of the bedrooms (one already had recessed lighting) and updated all of the bulbs to "daylight" LEDs. This has made a huge difference in how much brighter and airier the space feels.  Cost: $955, including the installation for 4 recessed lights downstairs.
  • We painted pretty much every surface upstairs with two coats, including all the trim, the doors, and the interiors of the closets. Cost: $1040 for all paint and supplies covering 2200+ square feet.
  • Two of the bedrooms had these weird hanging closet doors that we removed and plan to replace. We removed all the existing blinds because they were in desperate need of a cleaning. I might clean and reinstall some of them as a temporary solutions, but I plan on eventually ordering custom roman shades for each of the rooms.
  • We had new Stainmaster Pet Protect carpet installed. The carpet feels so soft and looks so pretty and warm with the subtle pattern. I'm so happy to have a beautiful and safe floor for the boys to run around on. The only thing I'm concerned about is that in some places, the carpet isn't flush against the baseboard. I don't think that is normal, so we are going to talk with Lowe's. Cost for 1200 square feet: $3700, with our 10% moving discount.
The boys' room in BM Sea Foam.

The boys' room in BM Sea Foam.

Baby Judah just soaking in some rays.

Baby Judah just soaking in some rays.

We're down to the last few details: touching up paint, replacing and reinstalling outlet and light covers, and caulking some spots in the wall that the carpet didn't cover.

Would I do anything differently?

In retrospect, I would hire a painter.  Painting really brought out the anal-retentiveness in me and took forever. I mean, we haven't even touched the downstairs, and we've had the keys for a month! However, David is convinced that they wouldn't meet my standards and we would have to repaint anyway. I might also have the paint strength cut in certain rooms. The Nelson Blue in the master is so beautiful and really the perfect shade of blue-gray but I might have experimented with having it cut down to 75% strength.

As far as flooring goes, I am super happy with our carpet choice. The color, feel and pattern are all beautiful, and I 100% believe that this is the safest option with two tiny boys. I know that I'll probably be spending extra time vacuuming (even with our no-shoes-upstairs policy), but I'm ok with that. 

We move in on Friday. Final countdown has begun!

Choosing Paint Colors (And a Peek Inside Our House).

Ah, paint. Nothing has given me more decision paralysis than choosing paint colors. 


I thought this would be the easy part, but I quickly fell into the rabbit hole of paint swatches from Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Valspar, and Behr. There are thousands of different shades of paint. Add to it that I'm idiosyncratically particular about what the shade is called as well. I still swoon over Ralph Lauren's Tibetan Jasmine – I'm convinced that this is the perfect shade of white for our forever home and also heartbroken that they no longer have their full collection of paint.

I honestly thought this cosmetic update would cost us maybe a couple hundred bucks for the entire house. Lots of research and a few hardware store visits later, this article convinced me to go with Benjamin Moore Regal Select paint, and I realized that the actual cost would run well over $600. (I think we're currently running closer to the $800-900 range). We got a quote from a painter that was $1800 to paint the entire house (in hindsight, I'm pretty such this would have been worth every penny), but since this was one of the projects we could actually DIY, we opted to go that route.

I wanted a light neutral for most of the house but one that still provided a bit of contrast to the trim. Since there's not always the best light in most of the house, I didn't want to go with a white for fear that our space would look too flat. This was the trickiest because even in the same open space, the paint can look so different depending upon how the light hits it. 

After painting many, many walls with sample colors, we ultimately decided on Classic Gray for the majority of the house. I love the way it photographs and how it's a barely there neutral. We tried a few different whites for the trim out of like a billion shades of white. White Dove didn't give us the pop and contrast that we wanted and White Opulence was a bit pink. I've read that Chantilly Lace is the closest shade to a true white, but I wanted something just a touch warmer, so we went with 2016 Color of the Year, Simply White, which has become my new go-to white. All the trim and doors are getting repainted in Simply White, along with our fireplace mantel and our custom breakfast nook bench.

BM Balboa Mist, BM Classic Gray; BM Dove Wing, BM Gray Owl; BM November Rain; BM White Dove and BM White Opulence.

BM Balboa Mist, BM Classic Gray; BM Dove Wing, BM Gray Owl; BM November Rain; BM White Dove and BM White Opulence.

We decided to go with Nelson Blue for our master bedroom. We bought a white linen-look bed, so I wanted a bit of contrast. I want the room to feel like a calm oasis and fell in love with Farrow and Ball's Parma Gray. Nelson Blue is the Benjamin Moore equivalent (I think), and is the perfect soft shade of blue-gray.

David painting the master with BM Nelson Blue.

David painting the master with BM Nelson Blue.

For the front bedroom, we ultimately went with Simply White as the wall color. That room gets the most light, so it will look great bouncing off of the white. Our dark wood campaign dresser is going in that bedroom, and I think the contrast will be fantastic.

BM Balboa Mist, BM Classic Gray; BM Dove Wing, BM Gray Owl; BM November Rain; BM White Dove and BM White Opulence, in a different room/light.

BM Balboa Mist, BM Classic Gray; BM Dove Wing, BM Gray Owl; BM November Rain; BM White Dove and BM White Opulence, in a different room/light.

I had initially really wanted to go with a peachy pink for the guest room because I've always wanted to paint a room pink, but we just didn't find any shades that we loved or agreed on. We ended up painting this room November Rain (highly recommended by Emily Henderson), and I think it is my new favorite paint color (although Dave's least favorite). It has a touch of green and feels like a really warm gray to me and looks almost like soft cashmere for your walls.

BM Boudoir, BM Coastal Cottage, BM Balboa Mist, BM November Rain, BM Gray Owl

BM Boudoir, BM Coastal Cottage, BM Balboa Mist, BM November Rain, BM Gray Owl

For the boys' room which is getting a California theme, we went with Sea Foam, pretty much because I liked the name. It reads as more of a light blue than the light blue-green I had intended for the space (this is the only shade we didn't test out), but I still think it's the perfect fun background color to layer on white and light-colored woods.

We're almost through painting the upstairs (finally). We get the new carpet installed on Tuesday, and I'll be able to share some significant progress pics.