A Case for NOT Investing in Furniture


I have always heard to invest in furniture, buy the best quality sofa/bed/whatever you can afford. Today I am going to tell you not to do it. Not because it isn’t worth it, but because sometimes it isn’t an option. When you only have a $2000 (or less) budget. You could buy a nice couch but overall it wouldn’t do much to change your space. I suggest with $2000 you could buy a slipcover, art, throw pillows, all the pretty stuff that make a huge difference in how your home looks and feels.

I have found that living in rentals I would hold off on decorating until we were somewhere nicer or somewhere more permanent, so I would hate where we lived but not do anything about it, making me hate it even more. Somewhere along the way I realized this was dumb and decided to just make what we had pretty and man I am so glad I did.

We bought our couch on Craigslist for super cheap but it had stains when we got it, then 2 kids later it looked even worse. It’s still super comfy so we bought a slipcover for it. It’s clean and white and can be thrown in the washing machine when there is Cheeto cheese smeared along the back! Now I haven’t done this yet but if you simplify your sofa then you can get all sorts of fancy with throw pillows. Add a throw for bonus points and it’s still cheaper than a new sofa.

My next favorite way to make an impact is with vignettes or as I like call them a little spot of happiness. You know those spots that have all the little stuff you love. We added floating shelves to a blank wall and loaded them up books, art, and some plants, insta happiness. The nice thing about all of these updates is that you don’t have to pay for everything at once, you can collect one or two things as you find/can afford them.
20141215_135124 20141215_135315  20141215_135057
My third suggestion would be to buy small furniture that is useful. Get an ottman to make the odd chair more comfortable. Get trays to corral your remotes, side tables to put your drinks on. And plants lots of plants.

20141215_134126The living room obviously isn’t done, we still need a TV console, some throw pillows for the couch, a bigger lamp for the console by the entry, a frame for the big foot print, a frame for a trio of moon prints that go on the bottom of the floating shelves, a new rug, those cords, the list goes on and on. But the thing is it still looks and feels like us. It makes us happy! We have now moved to a new house and are figuring out how to make all of our pretties work in the new house which is a completely difference style but we still love all of the details from our old house.


Wardrobe Details: Oversized Turtlenecks

Oversized Turtleneck Sweater sources – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Lately I’ve been really drawn to oversized turtleneck sweaters. In neutral colors, the chunkier the better. They have that understated but polished look to them that I am drawn to so much. I think it requires a bit of je ne se quois to pull this look off. It’s nonchalant femininity at it’s best.

How to wearSweaters: 1, 2, 3, 4 | Pants: 1, 2, 3, 4

It’s very important to offset the size of the turtleneck by keeping everything else in the outfit very slim. If you go with a turtleneck that has less details and a smaller knit the pant need to bring that detail back to the table. Where as if you go with a sweater that has a very chunky or cable knit then you can wear simple jeans and it still looks amazing.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Shoes are another important point to consider. Once again you want to keep things slim and streamlined.


Dining Room: Before and After

The dining room is, for all intents purposes, completed. Is it ever really actually finished? If you missed our inspiration post check it out here. Here’s what’s happening!

Dining Roomdining room 3dining room 2

The bamboo shades make a world of difference. Before, lunch was impossible at the table. The sun was shining right in your face, so huge improvement. We never did find a bench so instead we re-purposed our outdoor sofa until we find what we really want. We couldn’t find a rug with the exact colors we were looking for, it’s missing the mint, but I this one still works because of the light colors in it. The rug is what really makes the room, check out the room without it below. The mirror isn’t my favorite but it plays a very important role, it’s the one thing that gives the room height, a tall cabinet or tall tree would be awesome there for the same reason.

Please excuse the random coffee mug on the table. No rug = sad room. Also note the table is darker in these pictures. We sanded the whole thing down and are getting ready to seal it, more about that hopefully coming soon.

Some things we would like to change/finish:

  • Upgrade the mirror: There is nothing particularly wrong with this mirror but I would love to have this one.
  • Add a vignette under the mirror: This is screaming for a little spot of happiness. A small table with a lamp and some graphic flowers would be amazing. As would a decked out industrial bar cart.
  • The empty corner needs some love: This is where my dream fiddle leaf fig tree would live next to an awesome piece of art work. These are some things we are looking at 1, 2, 3. This is also an ideal spot to balance out the height from the mirror vignette/cabinet situation on the other side of the room.
    jennifer causeyDSC0772920
  • Longer rug: The rug could be longer but since it’s such an odd sized half room I’m glad we found one that works as well as this does. We could fix this by layering a longer natural rug underneath it. Amber Interiors has a great article for all of you rug layering doubters out there.

  • Lighting: We didn’t even attempt to change the lighting in this space, but a new lighting would make a huge impact. We love the look of an over-sized industrial chandelier like 1, 2, 3.
  • Finishing touches: Sheepskin throws/chair covers on the chairs (these guys get cold) and some sort of center piece to help counteract the massiveness of this table. An actual bench or built-in if we weren’t living in a rental.

All in all we are loving our new dining space. It makes family dinners much easier than sitting around the coffee table. Entertaining is an actual option now. It’s open to the whole house and makes everything feel happier.

Dining Room Redux

Hello, it’s been awhile since I’ve checked in. We have been working on the 2014 Apartment Therapy Style Cure here at the Cook house and our dining room has been getting an overhaul! We have obviously missed the deadline that Apartment Therapy set but we are hoping to have it finished in time for Lilla’s 5th birthday in a couple of weeks. So I’m going to share our inspiration with you today.

We are thinking warm woods, ethnic textiles, plants, industrial metal, light, bright and family friendly.  Mabye Hippie meets Farmhouse or Hipster Country?

We need kid friendly seating since we have a 2.5 year old and almost 5 year old so we decided to go with white metal Tolix style dining chairs. Are they my favorite? No, but I don’t have to worry about the kids ruining them so I’m cool with it (rug compensation?). We plan on pairing these with a matching table with a rustic wood top. We also love all of the benches going on in our inspiration but I have yet to find one that I love that is in the budget.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these Kilim Rugs. The graphic shapes help offset some of the farmhouse direction that the metal chairs and rustic wood table can go, which isn’t our thing. I mean these guys are cool enough to make up for a lot. We wanted one without red but with orange, some pastel pink for the girls and mint to tie into our rental’s existing paint color. Not too much black and finally some white/cream to tie back into the white metal chairs and table base. We also have an odd sized dining room so we will be getting a vintage rug to accommodate the narrowness of the room.
*The link on these beauties only goes to Loom Rugs because they’re sold out, so sad.

I would love to get a fiddle fig tree for our dining room but I haven’t found one yet. They make such a statement, but I’g guessing that if I can find one it won’t be that large. We might move our snake plants in their Case Study Planters from our room into the dining room for now.

So that is what we are currently up to. Check back soon for an update!



Modern Indoor Planters for Snake Plants

Indoor Planters I recently picked up some Sanseviera plants, more commonly known as the Snake Plant or Mother in Law’s Tongue. Now I need some awesome planters to put them in. I am debating between the Case Study Planter with Stand or the PODs Planter Version 1.0 Half Skirt and Stand. As you can see I really like that leggy look a stand gives you. Both of these are similar in price, but if budget isn’t an issue I would suggest the Vessel Architectural Pottery Planters and Stands.  I’m planning on getting them in white. I really like the matte finish of the Case Study Planters but I also like that the legs are black on the POD Planters, plus how cool is that shape. You could mix one on a stand with one of the floor like Hither & Thither or use multiple different planters like Emily Henderson did for the Moby pop up.  I think I’m leaning towards a pair in different sizes since I have two of the same plant but in different colors (one is dark and one is variegated).  If the plants had different shapes I would want to mix the shapes of the planters as well. I might pick up a third plant, a different variety that has wider/rounder leaves, and get one of the planters that sit on the floor (Case Study with Plinth or POD Planter Full Skirt). I don’t really think any of these planters are a bad choice. so whichever one we choose I’m sure it will be amazing!

Finding Beauty

Cheek, Nose and Cupids bow

Have you ever looked at your face. I mean really looked at your face. Not getting ready for the day or finding flaws, but have you ever really looked at yourself. If you did I’m guessing that you, like me, would be pleasantly surprised to find that you are in fact actually quite lovely. Too often I get hung up on how horrible my skin is or how much I currently hate my hair that I forget about my face. The face that is my husband’s favorite and my daughters’ greatest comfort. But beyond that, when you remove the whole that makes it you, I think you can start to appreciate the beauty of yourself. I believe in finding beauty in all things. I search for it in the things for my home, the clothing I wear, the names for my children (current and future). If it is tangible, I want to make it beautiful. This of course extends to myself as well. I think so many people assume that you are either beautiful or you aren’t. I think they are wrong. I think that it is all in how you present yourself.  The whole is greater than the sum it’s parts if you will. (Gestalt for any other artist/designers out there) There are patterns that exist within all of us; proportions, shapes, colors. Patterns that when repeated, create comfort, and in that comfort is where we find beauty. How will you be able to identify these things and furthermore re-create them if you don’t even truly know what you look like? Beauty is important. Knowing your own beauty is a powerful thing. But you have to work to see it, and you have think about it to enhance it. I have recently found Into-Mind by Anuschka Rees of Berlin (thank you pinterest) who shares my beauty philosophy of thoughtfulness, planning and much more. I would highly recommend checking her out! I find it so exciting to cultivate myself into a thing a beauty and want to lead the way for my daughters to find their beauty as well.

“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful – that will be my life.”
– Elise De Wolfe

Let Me Paint You A Picture

Bill MurrayThe NeighboursThe Separation
Without A Doubt Part 2Rachel in Furs
Ophelia’s Dream Custom Couple PortraitWilliam Henry Harrison

The very nature of a portrait is slightly creepy.  Maybe it’s because when I think of someone painting a portrait I think of Napoleon Dynamite’s portrait of Trisha or some Renaissance stalker.  There is no escaping the subjects in these portraits.  They are front and center and little bit too close for comfort.  They can also be humorous.  Of course Bill Murray’s head on a uniformed body is funny, but somehow I also find portraits of lesser known presidents to be humorous as well ala William Henry Harrison.  Famous presidents portraits are not so funny, but I still have a soft spot for Honest Abe and would love to have some sort portrait of him, maybe in a guest bedroom, just in case.  I think these would be great antique store/flea market finds because it’s not really about them being great art.  The dipped affect is also a great idea if you find something that is a bit too creepy on the bottom half (cat lady with all her “babies”).  I will be trying to find some of these not quite right portraits for my bedroom.  I’m only interested in a couple but I would love to see a gallery wall of these in someone else’s house, maybe in the bathroom, now that could get uncomfortable.

Emily HendersonMarcus HayPilar GuzmanEmily Henderson
Two of these are from Emily Henderson, but what can I say, that girl has major style and totally gets quirky art.

Blond Ambition – Part II

The Good
I love that blonde hair makes me feel more put together.
There is something about blonde hair on me that makes me feel like I look put together. I think it’s the unnaturalness of it. Blond hair equals I obviously care about how I look; I go to the salon. Where brown hair is more I’m a mom and don’t have time to think about how I look.

I can wear less make up with blonde hair.
Specifically in the eyebrow region. I was not gifted with thick eyebrows (Scornful look to my lovely younger sister with dark thick beautiful brows). Mine are sparse and lighter in color which looks more natural with blonde hair. I’m a blush, brows and lashes girl so this is huge. (One day I hope to graduate into a statement lip girl)

The Bad
Very short very blonde hair is a very specific look and that look can over take you.
When all anyone sees is your hair that’s a bad thing. (Also being compared to Miley Cyrus not so much fun. How about Kate Lanphear or Michelle Williams people!)

Your hair becomes the ultimate accessory that is your signature piece.
Very blonde and very short are two very distinct things and together it starts to add up. See above. Even if my hair were long the blondness would still be distinct.  This distinctness acts like an accessory that you are always wearing.

It looks like I am trying too hard.
This is the flip side of looking put together. Take it two steps further and you fall into a sterotype. My style is minimal with bold and edgy accents, but I want to steer clear of punk, and nothing says punk like a bleached asymmetrical hair style, think Agyness Deyn or Miley Cyrus.

I am no longer blonde. In the end I wanted to grow out my hair more than I wanted to be a blonde and maintaining that color resulted in a lot of damage.

** Notice that Miley Cyrus and Kate Lanphear’s hairstyles aren’t that different but their styles are and I personally much prefer Kate.