How to Start the Design Process

 

A lot of times, the hardest part of the design process is staring at a blank slate.  There are too many options and decisions to be made all at once that it can be overwhelming.  Finding ‘your style’ isn’t always as easy as it sounds, but here are some tips and tricks to help get the process started.

  1. Utilize Pinterest

Pinterest is the best tool to find things that know you already like.  If you’re able to filter by space or function, it’s even better! If needed, start a new board and go through things you’ve already pinned, repining them to your new board, narrowing in on your needs.  This is the best way to get a clearer vision of what you’d like without having to make decisions quite yet, plus it’s a good way to validate all those hours you’ve spent aimlessly scrolling through the site.

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  1. Step Back

Now that everything you’re inspired by is all centrally located in a Pinterest board, take a step back from it.  Zoom out the internet browser and get a visual of as many ideas as possible at once.  Look for similarities or overlapping ideas you may have liked in multiple spaces.  Is there a lot of one color, style, or repeating accents? Identifying the repetitive styles will give you a great place to start narrowing in on your plans.

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  1. What already exists

Take a minute to wrap your head around what you already own.  This is (clearly) the best way to save money and a lot of times what you already own can be transformed into what you’re looking for now. Compare what you own to your Pinterest boards and see what matches or what could match.  Some paint or new fabric can transform a lot of whats already an option for you – theres always an opportunity to make an old piece fit your new style with some DIY muscle.

  1. Just go

Now you have an idea of what you like, what you have, and where you want your space to go. Now, just do it. Trust your style and try new things – starting is the best place to start.

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DIY KNIT THROW PILLOW

One of the easiest ways to transform a space is adding extra texture.  This can be through blankets, curtains, wood, metallic accents and so much more.  It always adds visual excitement and gives the feeling of warmth thats especially perfect this time of year.

A throw pillow can add the perfect amount texture but some of these options can be pricey.  Here are some really great warm and wintery options that add the perfect pop of texture and warmth, they are just outside of my accent pillow price range..

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While wandering the aisles of my local Forever 21 however, i found this winter scarf on sale for $6.45 and fell in love with its visual texture.

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I am always trying to find new ways to use everyday items but this one was clearly made to be transformed into a throw pillow.  Its the perfect size and it has the most wonderful silky touch.  A minimal about of creativity and DIY effort transformed this scarf into the knit throw pillow I was looking for but under $10! Winner.

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Find any neck winter scarf in your local sales bins to make something similar and follow along below to get the same look.

Supplies:
Knit ring scarf
Scrap fabric in coordinating color
Pillow Stuffing
Cashmere like Yarn (I found mine for under $2.00 on ebay in the perfect color)

First cut the spare fabric into 2 squares the same size as the scarf for an inner lining, since the knit pattern of the scarf I used was so wide, this was necessary to hold in the stuffing over time.  I sewed the lining first to the inside of the scarf, added the stuffing and sewed the scarf to itself to close both openings.  After a bit of fluffing, your throw pillow is complete!

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Incorporating textural pieces like this to your daily decor adds a feeling of expense, and doing it yourself keeps that expense way down.

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OUR NEW HOME

I’ve been talking a lot about moving here lately, and as I am sure you’ve caught on, we’re moving!  It’s been a major topic of conversation in our lives since deciding to take the plunge and so I thought I’d share a bit more about our end result.

We live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and are blessed to able to live in one of our favorite cities. Since it’s such a special place to us, and since both our families are in the suburbs nearby, moving was never going to take us far.

One of our favorite parts of this city is a neighbor called South Philadelphia; it’s where we spend all our spare time and where we look forward to getting to again and again. When we started thinking about moving, this was the first part of the city that came to mind and we started searching immediately. It’s a big step to move, especially when its not too far away, but its something I knew we’d regret 10 years from now.

After months of searching for a place, and really narrowing in on our must haves and ideal streets, we found the perfect little place for us. I wanted to share some blank slate pictures of our new home before we make it ours. It’s a gem and it’s ours, even if it’s “just” a rental.

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I hope you’ll come back, check in, and see what’s to come for this little apartment of ours. I have big plans and I think they’ll inspire you and your loved ones to take on some similar projects too. If nothing else, I hope you check back in to see more of these windows – they are just swoon worthy.

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HAND PAINTED HANDBAG

I love finding deals and steals on things that are almost great.  These kinds of buys make the perfect DIY projects and a little effort can go along way.

Please see exhibit one: this navy handbag was a $6.00 Primark find after I broke the zipper on a previous crossover bag.  It was fine, but not really noteworthy.

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Using some multi-surface craft paint and a steady hand, I  added this funky line detail with a small brush and upped its wow factor.

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If you’re looking for inspiration for patterns to use, use google images or Pinterest and search for fabric patterns.  Its a great way to find a simple and visually exciting pattern ideas for an use.

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It’s the perfect addition to a color neutral outfit that the plain navy bag just didn’t offer.

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Any discount product store will have similar bags too! Find a style that suits you and then jazz it up – it turns into a whole new piece that’s one of a kind.

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VALENTINE’S DAY CRUSHES

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In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’ve been rounding up some of my blogger crushes.  Since deciding to start this blog, I am more inspired than ever by these rockstars, and they deserve some love this time of year too.

These La Croix valentine’s are the perfect quick and thoughtful treat for friends.

A dessert this easy is great when Valentine’s Day falls during the week.

DIY chocolate boxes couldn’t be cuter for your special someone.

Balloon magic like this is such a fun way to celebrate someone you love!

And finally, the dream outfit for a Valentine’s date.

I hope you enjoy your Valentine’s weekend with the ones you love the most!

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The Declutter Project

Now that we have a finalized moving date and plan for the future, our next step is decluttering our lives before we move into the new space. I am an avid follower of The DIY Playbook, and they recently shared THIS POST about how they keep their closet clean and organized.  So I’m taking notes from the dream team and I am implementing this house wide for 10 days.  

Since the process of a big clean can be daunting and overwhelming, especially right before  packing to move, my goal is to make organization more streamlined.  Since a move is a great way to refresh and restart, I want to prioritize the decluttering of our life before getting to the new place.   

So, here’s the plan:  In every area of our home that acts as storage I am leaving a brown bag with the intention of purging as I live.  Every time I remove something from the closet or pantry and I don’t end up having use for, I will place this item into the brown bag then as these bags fill up, I remove them and give it away as donations or trash slowly.

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Even though the girls of DIY Playbook use this method in the closet, it’s a plan I can’t wait to try house wide.  With a large pack coming soon, I think it’s a more manageable approach to getting rid of clutter and moving with less.  

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How to Find the Perfect Rental for You

The month of January I have been admittedly MIA.  At the risk of sounding like I am making excuses, we have been in the process of looking for a new rental and the process is a far bigger deal than I was prepared for.

I have moved many times. Moving doesn’t scare or stress me. In fact, I am looking forward to packing and unpacking somewhere new.  The difference with this move, is it’s purely out of choice.  We currently live in a great building, in a great part of town, where we both get to walk to work.  We want for nothing and have no actual complaints, which made seeing new places and options far more daunting.

Every Philly style town home we saw, I knew we could make it work.  I know any place would be fine for us, but I realized we wanted a place worth moving for.  We saw gorgeous brick walls and amazing roof top patios, both Philly style assets that I love.  These places also came with ‘buts;’ busy corners, further from public transportation, no dishwasher, or the high end of our price point.  There was always something that didn’t push us enough to take the plunge.

We were getting frustrated and struggling; not because good places weren’t available but we were viewing everything as ‘we could live here’ instead of ‘we can’t wait to live here.’

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While in hindsight it’s easy to reflect on these places and other options, here’s how we took a step back and finally found the perfect place for us.

  1. Stick to your ‘must haves’:  If you want a parking spot, a roof top, a basement, stick to it.  Narrow down the things that will improve your living space and always aim to improve from where you are. Reminding ourselves of this really helped us eliminate places that would work but that weren’t worth moving for.
  1. Don’t judge rent at sticker value: A lot of places are willing to work with tenants to improve the rent or add on other amenities.  We had 2 places prior to finalizing on our new apartment that offered reduced rent, more accommodating moving dates and more parking options included in the initial sticker price when we showed true interest.  Don’t be afraid to ask – and don’t be startled by sticker price.
  1. Have an open mind: Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you cant make the space work for you.  Try and think outside of the box when it comes to storage, usage and space layout.  A lot of hidden gems are left unrented for longer because people don’t take time to think of other ways of using the space than the prior owners set up.

Thanks to Zillow we were finally able to find the perfect place for us.  They allow you to filter by your ‘must haves’ which makes the search far more manageable.  Once we found something we were interested in, communicating with the realtor was always fast and easy.  We saw multiple places and all with ease.  Zillow is a great source for anyone thinking about renting or already on the hunt.

Stay tuned for more details on our new place and all the plans we have for it.  Things tend to fall into place right when and how they should, and we couldn’t be more excited about it.