THE ULTIMATE WOMAN CAVE WITH CHAIRISH

To be honest, I’ve always kind of scoffed at the idea of a “man cave.” Most if my disdain would come from watching episodes of House Hunters with practically every man expressing his desire for, nay, requirement of the obligatory basement or attic space in which to do whatever it is that these men do. A space of your own to do with whatever you like? pshh. A spot in your house to express your own sense of style? Whatever. Your own little escape from reality when you just need a break? Wait a second…maybe I’m starting to understand. What I don’t understand is why the boys get to have all of the fun!

So when Chairish, my go-to source for vintage furniture and decor, asked me how I would create my ultimate “Woman Cave,” I jumped at the opportunity…because we can’t let the boys have all of the fun ;)

woman cave

Now, my version of a “Woman Cave” is, mostly likely, a bit different from the sports bar/beer mecca of my male counterparts, but the idea is the same. It’s a space where I could go to unwind with my girlfriends, get away from the stresses of life, and do the things I want to do (which may or may not include sappy romantic comedies, trashy reality shows, and the occasional one too many drinks with my girls) that the others in my house aren’t so interested in.

I started with this pair of dreamy vintage barstools from Chairish (check out their full collection of amazing vintage barstools here). I wanted a really calm and comfortable design that would promote relaxation and settle my mind. I stuck with a really neutral base full of metal finishes, natural wood tones, and soft textiles and brought in a little color and contrast with muted artwork and a gorgeous vintage rug.

ultimate woman cave with chairish

reclaimed counter table // vintage barstools // pendant light // artwork // barware

ultimate woman cave with chairish

tufted bench // vintage rug // pillow // tray // napkins // chair

Well, men of House Hunters, I get it now. I’ll take it easier on you next time.

So tell me, what would your Ultimate Woman Cave look like??

HITTING THE DESIGN SWEET SPOT

our current house

If you follow me on snapchat or instagram, you may have noticed a mention or two about in impending photoshoot over at our house. Havenly, a company I do design work for, asked if they could feature our home over on their blog and I jumped at the opportunity. So, naturally, I spent the next couple of weeks getting our house ready to be photographed by professionals. The days leading up to the big day may or may not have been calm, relaxing and stress-free ;)

our current house

It was really fun to spend the day with the photographer and get some tips and tricks from a professional and we ended up working really well together. We kind of hit the sweet spot in terms of combining a technical mind with a design oriented way of thinking. If you’re local and ever in need of interior or real estate photography, I highly recommend Gene over at Pittsburgh Real Estate Media.

current house

Speaking of sweet spots, you can go check out the rest of the images from out photoshoot along with my designer tips for hitting the design sweet spot over on the Havenly Blog!

MIXING DESIGN STYLES (BY CHOICE AND BY NECESSITY)

Recently, a good friend of mine with a similar design background brought up a point that got me thinking. She was visiting our house for the first time and during the obligatory house tour she said something along the lines of “I’m trying to figure out your style.” After a brief back and forth, we came to the conclusion that the style of my current home was a little bit contemporary, a little bit rustic and a whole lot of in between. This came as no shock to me. I’m a big fan of mixing design styles and think that’s how you can truly create a space that feels dynamic and interesting and I’m fully aware of the blending of styles in my own home, but the conversation got me thinking a little bit deeper about the why. 

mixing design styles by choice (and by necessity)

our current dining room

While some of the mixing of design styles is intentional, some of it also comes by necessity. At this point, I’m in house #2 of my adulthood (we’re not going to count the college apartment that made my mother cry…) and like many other 20-somethings, I’m slowly acquiring a household full of meaningful and long lasting pieces but am certainly not in the position to go out and furnish an entire house. Nor would I really want to for that matter. 

mixing design styles by choice (and by necessity)

our current dining room

While we have added a few new pieces here and there to this house, much of what we had came from our previous house, one with a very distinctly different style. Some of what worked perfectly there gets a fresh new perspective here, while some of it just isn’t quite suited to the shape, size, and style of this house. The challenge now is blending those different elements in a way that not only feels intentional but also feel right for the bones of this house.

mixing design styles by choice (and by necessity)

view from the dining room

 

Our big living room is one of the spaces that I’ve struggled with the most in terms of mixing styles and combining old with new. In general, the room is much larger than our old living room and the pieces that were chosen for the previous space aren’t pieces that I would have chosen starting fresh in this room. The room also has it’s own unique attributes that make furnishing it a challenge. The elements that make the space really special (like the full walls of windows, two doorways, and brick wall) also make things like furniture selection, scale, and layout pretty challenging.

mixing design styles by choice (and by necessity)

our current living room

For example, the fun mid-century coffee table that I loved so much in our 1st house just isn’t right in here. It’s too small for the space and the style just isn’t right in this room. And as much as I love our current sofa (and will find a spot for it in our home for as long as it lives), this long rectangular space screams for a big lounge-y sectional or sofa with a chaise. At this point, I have nailed down the layout that I know will work and it’s just a matter of finding the right pieces over time. The purchases that I do make moving forward, will be made with that vision in mind in terms of size, shape, color, etc. When there is a goal at the end, it makes purchasing piece by piece a little bit easier.

mixing design styles by choice (and by necessity)

our current living room

The aforementioned friend and I also talked a bit about purchasing quality over quantity at this phase of our lives and agreed that the buy what you can for as cheap as you can as fast as you can phase is where we find ourselves moving away from. This living room currently houses some quality pieces that will remain in the space but the search for permanent replacements for other items will take time and those future purchases will be made with the intention of longevity. As tempting as it is to replace the items that you know just don’t work, chances are those impulse buys and quick fixes will be the ones that need replacing before long. Patience is so annoying, I know.

mixing design styles by choice (and by necessity)

our current living room

Do I love the combination of different styles in my home? Yes! I think it makes it feel young and fresh and fun. Are there changes that I’d like to make in many different spaces? Of course! But the time and energy that you put into making your space feel just right, piece by piece, is a big part of what makes your house feel like a home, don’t you think? When you can look around the room and remember where you bought this or why you bought that, what a deal you got on that thing or the pile of treasures you dug that out from under, and relive the excitement of the hunt, that’s what makes is special.

So back to the main point (which was what exactly? Stop rambling, Maggie!) when it comes to mixing design styles, sometimes we do it by choice, sometimes we do it by necessity, and often times it’s a little of both. A few tips on making purchases and adding pieces to a mixture of design styles, you ask? Don’t mind if I do…

  1. Purchase quality pieces with intention. As tempting as it is to replace something that isn’t working immediately, impulse buys are often the ones that need replacing right away.
  2. Purchase what you love. Mixing design styles can seem daunting, but chances are if you simply buy things that you love and that speak to you, they will all end up working together to create a space that you’re obsessed with.
  3. Pick a color scheme and stick to it. In order to make a collection of different styles feel cohesive, stick to a strict color palette. This will be the thread that sews it all together and makes the space feel intentional.
  4. Have a goal in mindWhen you have an idea of what you want in the end, this makes purchasing piece by piece a bit less daunting. This doesn’t mean you have a concrete plan of exactly what you want and where you want it, but having a general idea of how you want the space to feel allows you to work towards a goal. This will help different purchases that are made over time work together in the end.

 

A CASUAL THANKSGIVING TABLE

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist. Just ask my mother. Even as a small child, I liked things a certain way and the slightest discrepancy had the power to send me into a tailspin.

As I’ve grown into adulthood, I’ve tried to take the good from my perfectionist tendencies without letting it control me. That’s not to say I don’t still have my moments. Just ask my husband.

Celebrations and holidays can sometimes bring out that side in me, but this year, I am determined to embrace the magical season that is upon us and approach the holidays in a much more relaxed and laid back manner (something I’m sure my mother and my husband will appreciate) which led to a casual Thanksgiving table.

a casual thanksgiving table

I started out with a really simple white linen tablecloth, a couple of rosemary plants, and a collection of dishes and linens that I’ve collected over the years.

a casual thanksgiving table

a casual thanksgiving table

I used what we had around the house, mixing and matching different sets of dishes, glassware, and silverware to create a table that felt really casual and comfortable.

A certain little helper of mine made simple place cards out of leftover cardstock that we slid between the plates as a a mere seating suggestion ;)

a casual thanksgiving table

The sweet fruit dishes and striped paper straws add a playful and colorful touch to the table and small gourds scattered along the burlap runner give this Thanksgiving table that bit of fall flavor. Super simple, super casual.

a casual thanksgiving table

The table feels fresh and bright and completely casual for enjoying a meal with friends and family. Just the right recipe for this recovering perfectionist’s holiday celebration ;)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!