“Basic” New Build


In reality, not all homes are historic farmhouses or custom build. My friend and client Lauren, an architect herself with discriminating taste, found herself ready to plan a home for her large family with a basic “surburban type” builder.  Not her dream situation but Lauren is smart enough to realize the budget and the square footage were enough to “do something with” for her young family so she approached it with a grateful heart, with THE most amazing attitude, and resourceful and creative ideas. Because after all, it’s a new house y’all and she realized that…but when you have been educated and work in custom and you know what all is out there it’s a little hard not to want to incorporate all of that custom “top of the line” knowledge. But as I mentioned these type of basic builders are NOT custom, they typically do not allow changes.  The granite choice, even the paint colors are SET IN STONE….very limited! I am not even going to publish the builders name because they do not want to offer all of these choices, that is not what they do..they are not custom build.

BUT Lauren is the epitome of lovely and kind and she had a few inside connections and was able to talk them into a few small changes. Like polishing the concrete floors downstairs! Which at first I was like “ummm I’m not sure NO stain???” But Lauren had worked with a builder that had done this and done this well and boy was she right…it looks amazing! Score one for “not your average basic build!”


She also made some good basic choices like choosing to do all white walls. Add moldings and case out doors. AND Being a design guru she knows LIGHT IS EVERYTHING and choosing to do SW Alabaster walls AND trim provides a true backdrop for all of the color she knew she would be adding with rugs and textiles and her FIVE gorgeous children! And black doors…black or painted doors always elevate and this small thing (she knows the painters thought she was crazy) instantly added class.  And that’s just Lauren…she homeschools five kids and cooks constantly and yet she is walking class…in the most unsnotty, Godly way.  Her humble self deprecating humor keeps you from disliking her even know she is amazing and gorgeous and thin to boot! (sorry Lauren just had to say it you are thebomb.com)


I love this photo of the girls in the schoolroom.  The light is a knock off of the classic 3 arm french light by Serge Mouille. Sofa from Craigslist, IKEA billly bookcases line the walls with doors.

And the kitchen! No marble countertops and its still gorgeous! I can’t wait to add some color and fabric to windows!


So most of the changes and arm twisting and cookie deliveries had to do with the kitchen of course!  Lauren was planning this on a budget…a subzero and professional range are not exactly budget but she scoured craigslist and the internet and found BOTH online…hours away but she got them and stored in her old garage for MONTHS.  The day those were installed I am sure she heard angels singing.  I love it when I see someone who actually cooks ALL DAY LONG and has a heart for hospitality gets these pricey items…she will truly use them! Fitting in to their basic builder cabinets wasn’t easy but patience, kindness and maybe cookies and brownies go a long way.  You def catch more flies with sugar than vinegar as shown here!


Love the island.  Not sure how she got them to do the X but its awesome! Lights from Joss & Main, stools from amazon.  We will def being showing more of the kitchen down the road! (Once the children get off the island;) Notice the counter…again they aren’t marble but they look fine they really do the white subway and cabinets and hardware and appliances really set the tone..I can’t wait to show you more on her hardware etc. Notice how she used cup pulls on doors!


Her wall of the back covers of “Cook’s Illustrated” look so good in these ribba frames..you can also really appreciate the trim work and alabaster paint and polished floors in these photos.  Lauren has a great tutorial she found on hanging ribba frames, shown here.


And those rugs…she scours ebay sources like Mystical Rugs and Gallery99! See how she taped out even the rug…blue tape is her friend y’all…it keeps us from making costly sizing mistakes!


We also didn’t love the curve of the sofa but its a huge sofa and fits so many people which she DOES love….so the fig tree from TALL PLANTS and the gorgeous lamps (TJMaxx yall) really distract from that curve.


That fig is BIG, like 8-9 feet but the room needed it and candle the size.  They are so nice at Tall Plants and I am always amazed at the selection of topiaries, ferns and of course fiddle leaf figs..the day I was there last, they had two matching mega ones headed for the River Oaks Country Club. And they deliver around Houston.

These chairs will be slipcovered. Love that molding around fireplace.  I can’t wait to see what kind of art she creates for over mantle.  It will be abstract and have color.


I love how she has taped out her plans to add more trim for a faux paneled wall look to dress up the white walls in a subtle way. The ottoman is from craigslist as is sofa…Lauren’s sister found it on Austin Craigslist..it is a restoration hardware piece that has been recovered custom and then listed on craigslist….Lauren should do a Craigslist commercial! It’s a Kelly Wearstler fabric…ok now we don’t like you Lauren!;;

Lauren’s style is def NEW TRADITIONAL with classic rugs and colors like blues mixed with a bit of her own modern art and chic lighting. She is the master at sourcing good sconces.


I adore her master bath…the sconces are from Savoy House, Monroe Collection… and art from ebay! Absolute black granite was the only choice but wise choices on faucets and lights and backsplash saved the day.


The kids look a little over the process but I love watching Lauren enjoy each step and get in no hurry making things perfect…she knows to get the bones right and move slowly doing things right the first time….so opposite my “lipstick on a pig” move fast tendencies…i love how my clients sharpen and teach me!


Thank you Lauren and family for letting me share your home…Remember y’all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  It takes time to build a thoughtful and collected home.  And that is okay. More than okay..it’s a blessing.

Fall, puppies & peace

Oh y’all…oh oh y’all.  We have two new puppies.  And two HAPPY little boys.

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Working from home is suddenly not as peaceful.  Pray for me and my attitude about these puppies. I know boys need puppies so here we go . . . While I am dealing with the puppy chaos, and dreaming of our North Carolina mountain trip in two weeks, I am going to repost this fall West Elm post from last year.  West Elm sponosored this great “Gather Around the Table” last year and it was fun to style with some of their goodies…and yes these photos do make me miss my old backporch just a bit.

Last but not least the “Gospel is Peace” sign pics are for you my dear friend Hadley;…remember you can get these great signs from my friend Lindsey Letters…I have been getting some emails about them and all you need to do is visit her great site!

Happy Tuesday! (and I can’t help but thinks what these puppies might do to this tablescape given a chance!)


I am so excited to be a part of the Gather Around The Table campaign being sponsored by West Elm.  They have asked bloggers to talk about their traditions and favorite things about the holidays and share how they incoprorate some of their products with those traditions and ideas. I visited the West Elm Market store in Brooklyn in the Spring and was so impressed with the store and products.


In South Texas, we often have warm weather off and on throughout the fall so dining on our porch is a wonderful tradition this time of year.


We are finally getting a break from the heat down here and its a great time for my family to enjoy this space in our home.


I also love using heirloom pumpkins in my fall decorating every year as well as my favorite Spode dishes. And every fall and winter we love to gather items from our family land for decorations whether its leaves, Christmas trees or berries.  I love your using things from nature in our decorations and going out in the nice weather to hunt for the best of nature’s bounty. My hubs might have even snapped photo of me driving our “mule” to gather leaves for this project.  Honestly, not something I do too often (are you shocked); Maybe I will share it on the next post or instagram, but for now let’s keep moving with the good stuff;


So along with the leaves and pumpkins, I decided to use Shanna Murray plates from the West Elm collection with my Spode plates.  I like the idea of using something traditional, something we always use, with a fresh new accent from a more modern store like West Elm and West Elm Market.  In case you don’t know, West Elm is the hip cousin of Pottery Barn; Or at least that is how I see it…their products are bit younger and more modern…but they mix well with many things. AND I love that they support and feature a lot of etsy artists including Shanna Murray. I was so pleased to see these Shanna Murray plates (and coasters) in their collection and her cute teal towel in the West Elm Market.  I have been following her work for years!


The napkins are also from West Elm’s fall collection, I love the red stitching. My mom often used cloth napkins when I was growing up and I love doing the same.  Not every night I admit but often.  And these have a casual enough feel they work with my pine table.


 Speaking of pine tables, I have rustic farmhouse tables both outside and in our dining room.  I love the patina and finish of the wood so I rarely if ever use tablecloths or even runners, these plaid blankets from the Brown Shed worked great to add some warmth to this table but not totally cover my beloved pine.


These old tables are a part of our family traditions as well as daily life. I love that my kids are using old items daily and are engraining a sense of history into their “growing up”memories and traditions.


I am also adore how the Shanna Murry plates and West Elm napkins are working with my other fall decorations I already had like my burlap banners and also my new Lindsay Letters canvas. I love to change it all a bit each time so it’s great it all mixes well.


 My new canvas is really for Christmas, its a verse from Silent Night, but I think words are perfect for fall and Thanksgiving too..being grateful for those we love and gather with to count our blessing and remember what is truly important. It used to annoy me how the seasons mingled this time of year.  More and more I am okay with it as I understand the joys of fall and gratefulness and how that all CAN and SHOULD mingle with the coming celebrations that are the core of our faith and our family.


 I will be back to share a few more of the fall touches on the porch…and later in season I will share another festive table setting.


 Thanks again to West Elm for sponsoring today’s discussion on fall decor and traditions.  What is your  favorite tradition or thing to use in decorating this time of year?

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