Office Makeover: Chocolate Brown Walls?

The latest Ballard Design catalog arrived in the mail and it is full of beautiful dark brown rooms. I’ve always been a fan – but it’s so bold! What a commitment to cover your walls in such a rich color.

But the wheels began spinning and I set out for more wall-to-wall brown inspiration.

The best part of dark walls is the ability to really take advantage of contrasts in the forms of bright white molding, furniture – even ceramic decor. And how about those pops of raspberry, lime green and teal? And brass and gold? Oooh pretty.

So stunning! But so bold. Do I dare paint an entire room dark brown? Most designers insist that the old adage of dark colors making a room feel smaller simply isn’t true. It has much more to do with proportions and lighting.

What do you think? Too much? Or just right?

Images from DecorPad, Lennoxx

Master Bedroom: A ‘New’ Salvaged Chair

I found this little gem at an antique/thrift store going out of business (best combination ever) and thought it would work great in our master bedroom. While the structure of the chair is my favorite part, the icy blue upholstery is in great shape and works beautifully with the rest of the room’s color palette.

Maybe she’ll receive new fabric some day in the future?

It fits the corner of our bedroom perfectly! More recently it has become a catch-all for every piece of Kevin’s clothing (who needs a dresser when you have an over-sized chair?) but it’s also a great spot to put on shoes or lay out the next day’s outfit.

The jury is still out on the color of the wood… I actually love the light pecan stain but there are enough blemishes that this piece might need an allover sanding and a slightly darker finish.

Or maybe all of those little nicks and bruises provide character? That might be the lazy answer.

I borrowed the nursery’s glider pillow for the photos, but I’ll have to hunt out a fabric for the future.

I’ve found that salvaged furniture is a great way to add well-built pieces to your home (they just don’t make furniture like they used to. at least not in my budget…), but it’s rare to find pieces in good shape. Do you bring thrift store furniture into your home or is the cleaning/refurbishing just too much work?

Favorite Baby Products, 3 to 6 Months

Hi everyone, my apologies that I’ve been MIA these last few days. It’s been a whirlwind of work and catch-up after a busy weekend, but I think that I am almost back on track.

On Saturday Liv turned 6 months old! Just around Olivia’s 3 month birthday, I shared my favorite products for those very first few months – and now I’m back again with a round-up of favorite baby products for the 3-6 month age range.

Squeaky teething toys and soft foam books aside, these are a few items that have been helpful to have around the house. By no means are they necessary – in fact you could easily do away with all of the above – but if you’re on the search for helpful baby products (or want to share your own!), this post is for you.

1. Bumbo: The Bumbo is a deep seated rubber ‘chair’ that holds babies upright so that they can safely observe all that is going on around them. We introduced the Bumbo right about the time Liv began holding her upper torso up comfortably and boy what a great change! She could now sit on the counter as we cooked meals, worked on the computer, or even as I was getting ready in the morning. And she was happy as a clam observing all first hand. (That white plastic piece above is the attachable tray – helpful when baby gets big enough to stretch up and out).

Would you like an orange?

2. Angelcare Movement Sensor & Monitor: We sleep soundly each night with our sensoring monitor. The Angelcare system registers both sound and breathing through a small pad that’s placed just under the crib mattress, and if it doesn’t register small chest movement after 20 seconds, a loud beeping goes off.

3. Jumparoo: We don’t have traditional door frames so a compact jumper (that fits in the door) wasn’t an option. While this particular Juparoo is quite large and in charge, it’s the best Liv entertainer out there. She LOVES to jump!

4. The New Basics: This book is a modern A-Z reference guide with answers to every question you might have about babies & toddlers. It helps dispel common myths and concerns (what foods to introduce when, for example) while offering practical guidelines and suggestions to parents. I like the Cohen’s conversational writing style even if I don’t agree with every idea he shares.

5. The Ergo Baby Carrier: I love the Moby, but Liv’s big enough now to sit comfortably in the Ergo. Wow I can’t speak highly enough of this carrier – it’s comfortable on the hips, distributes weight evenly, and fits both 6’3″ Kevin and 5’3″ me well.

6. Double Bike Trailer: Now that we’re training for RAGBRAI, Kev and I love to head out for a good family ride. This double wide stroller holds a car seat comfortably and Liv hasn’t complained once, even though she’ll often be back there for hours at a time. It’s like her little chariot (not much to complain about there, I guess).

Take me on my ride now.

7. Woven Towel: With all that you have to carry around with a baby for a trip to the park or beach, a humongous towel or picnic blanket is the last thing I want to add to the mix. I love this super thin towel that opens up to seat four but rolls easily into the diaper bag.

8. Miracle Blanket: We have many a friend who relied on this swaddler to settle down a fussy newborn, and it has become our go-to daytime nap swaddler. We didn’t end up needing it until we were looking for a warm weather version of our favorite fleece nightime swaddler, but the Miracle Blanket is ideal for squirmy babies that keep themselves awake! Liv falls fast asleep when she’s all bundled up (we literally put her down awake with a binky and she’s out in two seconds).

Liv playing on the travel towel and later napping on the beach in her cozy Miracle Blanket (4th of July) .

9. Travel Bed: With Liv swaddled up for naps and overnight, she doesn’t move much while sleeping. This bed has proven to be invaluable on our many weekend trips and it folds up to fit nicely. On the rare occasion it’s not with me, I’ve used a dresser drawer (on the floor and padded with blankets) as a substitute (works great ;)).

And that’s the round-up! I’m sure I’ve left something off of the list… If you have any favorite products or secrets – do share!

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