House Tour: The Elm House

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welcome mat  //  buffalo check rug  //  kilim pillow (similar)  //  white tassel pillow

faux monstera plant  //  black basket  //  modern house numbers

Last week we launched the new Juniper Print Shop!! We are so excited about all of the changes, including the addition of paper prints!! This has been in the works for a long time, and we knew we wanted to get some great video content to help introduce the new site and product to everyone. We had recently taken a tour of the Elm House,  a new Airbnb (you can see the listing here) in the heart of downtown Gilbert designed by our friends over at Bigelow Built, and thought this would be the perfect location to showcase some of our new prints!

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BOTANICAL II print  //  HUDDLE print  //  KNOTS I print  //  WOMEN print

entry table (similar)  //  basket with lid  //  faux tree  //  vintage runner (similar)

We tried out multiple looks in the entry, each showing a different way you can incorporate our prints into your space! We decided to keep the neutral gallery wall up for the owners.

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BOTANICAL II print  //  HUDDLE print  //  KNOTS I print  //  WOMEN print

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BOTANICAL II print  //  HUDDLE print  //  KNOTS I print  //  WOMEN print

entry table (similar)  //  basket with lid  //  faux tree  //  vintage runner (similar)

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SPRIG I print  //  SPRIG III print

hanging wall frames  //  runner

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JUNE print  //  runner  //  bread board  //  sink faucet  //  knife set 

I absolutely love the kitchen design and color! The cabinets are from Bigelow Built and the color is Hale Navy.

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runner  //  bar stools

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dishwasher  //  runner  //  sink faucet

Do you remember the rug we used in the Gentry living room?? We found the exact same one in a runner and its so, so beautiful!!

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yellow dansk pot  //  salt cellar  //  butter keeper  //  blue wood bowl  //  round bread board

There is so much attention to detail in this kitchen. I especially love how the wood shelf line continues over the range hood! Genius!

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brass pulls

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GOSLING ISLAND print  //  MIDNIGHT STRIPE lumbar

white and concrete lamps  //  brass tray

In the guest bedroom we hung our GOSLING ISLAND print by Sarah Maderia Day in 40×55″ which we think it the perfect size for putting over a Queen (shown here) or King bed.

Ikea Tutorial:

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You can see custom wood touches all throughout the house, like these floating nightstands.

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black knobs  //  black pulls

The homeowners incorporated some super fun tile into the space, and I love the way it turned out! A rental property is a such a great space to incorporate some bold choices.

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BIG SUR print  //  AMBER STRIPE lumbar

 black metal bed frame  //  ceramic lamp base  //  lamp shade

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ceramic lamp base  //  brass nesting jewelry boxes

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BIG SUR print  //  AMBER STRIPE lumbar

 black metal bed frame  //  ceramic lamp base  //  lamp shade

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patio set

A big thanks to Bigelow Built for allowing us to shoot in their gorgeous new Airbnb!

7 Tips for Working with a Stone Fabricator

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I’ve got all things kitchen on my brain these days! I shared the plans for our big renovation here in case you missed it. We’ve been saving for a long time and I really feel the need to find the *perfect* choice for every piece of this design puzzle. It’s harder and more stressful than I expected, but still so fun and total dream come true.

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My friend, Tanya Fischbeck is one of the owners of G3 Glass Granite Group (yay for women-owned businesses!). Her gorgeous offices and fabrication facility are just around the corner from the Juniper offices in downtown Mesa. G3 does stone and glass fabrication for some of the most beautiful homes in the valley, and works with trusted builders and contractors for commercial glass as well. Tanya is a wealth of information about trends in home and commercial design and she has been a great resource for me over the years! She also shares a lot on their Instagram account. I thought it would be fun to show you the behind-the-scenes at a stone fabricator (albeit an UNUSUALLY clean and beautiful one! ha!) and give you some of Tanya’s tips on working with a stone fabricator and trends she is seeing in stone/countertop design and application.

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TIP #1 CHOOSE YOUR STONE AT LEAST ONE MONTH BEFORE KITCHEN COMPLETION

A lot of people wait too long before selecting their stone, which can cause delays and even add to the expense of their project. As soon as your kitchen cabinet design is complete, bring your plans to your fabricator along with a general (or specific) idea of what you want for your countertops and backsplash, and they’ll let you know how much material you should shop for at a stone yard if it’s natural stone. If you’re looking for quartz, many fabricators are suppliers for manmade products. G3 carries many lines and has a huge showroom where you can see and touch samples of the product! The final selections of your material should be done AT LEAST one month before you project is scheduled to be completed. I usually suggest about six weeks out at the earliest though, so if there is a situation where you need to buy an additional slab, there’s a likelihood the material will still be available.

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We used G3 to order and fabricate the Cambria Matte Britannica quartz for the Gentry project and they did a killer job with matching the veining on the waterfall and with my favorite detail in the kitchen – the hood backsplash! They nailed it with the cute little integrated spice shelf!

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TIP #2 NATURAL STONE IS STUNNING, BUT BE OPEN TO NEW PRODUCTS AND OPTIONS

Quartzite is a natural stone that is absolutely dreamy! It looks quite a bit like the marble that everyone loves and can even be honed or leathered, but it is much harder and durable than marble. There are also a lot of really great manmade surfaces with stone-like qualities. We all loved the matte finish Britannica quartz from Cambria that was installed in the Gentry project kitchen! G3 is a Cambria authorized dealer and we have a lot of experience working with this material so they were able to minimize product waste.

Neolith and Dekton are two ultracompact surfaces that are in a class of their own (some of G3’s samples are pictured below!).  They are unique in that they are somewhere between porcelain and glass, insanely durable, and engineered to resist scratches, stains, fire and UV light (so they’re a great option for outside!) They can be used for countertops, flooring, tile, and exterior cladding. Because of the nature of the material, special tooling and certification may be required. G3 Glass Granite Group is certified for these surfaces. Super slab sizes are also available (for those mega huge islands!) and a must-see in person.

 

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TIP #3 STEP AWAY FROM THE PINTEREST!

Pinterest is a GREAT tool for helping you decide on a general vibe for your kitchen or bath design. If you’re leaning toward soapstone or honed black granite, scouring Pinterest for kitchens with dark countertops is a really smart idea and will help you get a sense of how a kitchen with dark countertops actually feels. People often get tunnel vision when designing a kitchen, choosing items based off samples, and what they often don’t realize is countertops are a HUGE factor in the feel of kitchen! When you are working in your kitchen, looking down at the food you are prepping, the countertops are most of what you’ll see. Do you want dark and moody? Light and bright? Mottled, heavily veined, or no pattern? Polished, honed or leathered? The details REALLY matter.

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Once you have selected your stone and worked with your fabricator on the finishing details – stop looking at Pinterest! Trust me when I say, there are a million and one gorgeous stone options. Do your research, commit and then stop torturing yourself by continuing to look around!  :)

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TIP #4 ALL APPLIANCES AND FARMHOUSE SINKS NEED TO BE INSTALLED BEFORE TEMPLATING

A common misconception is that stone fabricators will install sinks and plumbing for a project, but that is something that needs to be coordinated with your contractor and plumber. G3 stocks many standard sinks and installs under-mounted sinks, but custom sinks such as farm-sinks or drop-in sinks will most likely need to be installed prior to or after your countertop installation.  It is imperative that all appliances, sinks, and plumbing hardware be on site for your countertop templating appointment (when the final measure happens before cutting the stone) and fabrication. You can easily avoid additional time delays and unnecessary trip charges for having to reschedule this visit by having all items on site for the appointment. All decisions and change orders must be made prior to measuring, as once it’s cut, it cannot be changed.

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TIP #5 DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO REUSE OLD SINKS AND FAUCETS

Countertop materials and fabrication are not cheap and it can be a disruptive, messy project. I think it’s wise to wait to start a big kitchen project until you have the funds to replace everything at once – including cabinets and appliances, but especially sinks and faucets! You’ll be much happier in the long run to have a fresh new sink and faucet to go with your new investment, so don’t be tempted to keep the old stuff! It’s like wearing a pair of old, broken in shoes with a gorgeous new dress – it just doesn’t quite work!

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TIP #6 YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

This is true for everything in life, but we have found it to be especially true with stone and fabrication. It’s important to do your research and find a trusted, licensed fabricator that has a nice and clean facility, with loyal and experienced employees. Too many times we have heard about situations where people hire cheap fabricators so they can spend more on their stone and then come to deeply regret that when irreparable mistakes are made to one of a kind stone. G3 Glass Granite Group is licensed, bonded and insured with over 30 years of industry experience and knowledge. They use only state-of-the-art equipment and software for templating and fabricating, but more valuable than any equipment or facility is a shops team and work ethic. Tanya says everyone on their team works hard to build solid relationships with each other and those in the field. Their pattern of clear communication, settling realistic expectations (including refusing some stone because of it’s nature), project coordination and industry knowledge are key to executing the many facets of fabrication. Tanya says their goal is to make you giddy when you see your new counters!

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TIP #7 TAKE CARE OF YOUR STONE AND IT WILL STAND THE TEST OF TIME

To seal, or not to seal? G3 GlassGranite Group seals most stones, helping to make the surfaces more stain resistant for up to five years! Whereas sealing does not make the stone stain proof, it does help male it more repellant to stains. The Natural Stone Institute is a valuable resource that Tanya often refers to and cites articles about when sharing information and educating others. For stone maintenance, it’s really important to use something non-abrasive with a neutral pH level. A high pH cleaner is really bad for stone, especially for marble, which is the most delicate of stones, but definitely for most beautiful! Simple Green for Stone or StoneTech Revitalizer are two products that work great for day to day cleaning!

Quartz is also not as care free as people make it out to be! Quartz can stain and all quartz can scratch. For this reason, use common sense rules such as using cutting boards and trivets if you want to remain it to remain in perfect condition. Streaking may also appear on a quartz surface, so always use a clean rag and follow up with a dry soft microfiber cloth for best results.  Tanya loves Norwex microfiber cloths, but any clean microfiber towel works!   (Norwex also has an amazing glass cloth that requires nothing but water to clean pantry doors, glass appliances and windows!)

Marble countertops are beautiful, but will inevitably stain, scratch and etch. The biggest cause of scratches is from dragging items such as kitchen pots, pans, or dishes across the surface.  Use cutting boards or trivets, and wipe up spills quickly as acidic foods (tomatoes, lemons, soda, perfume, toothpaste, hairspray, etc) will etch it.  Understanding how marble ages and wears is an important aspect to consider.  If you love the soft luxurious texture and look of marble and understand the aging process that will include etching and scratches, then marble may be the right choice for you! If you’re not sure, Tanya recommends visiting a friend who has a marble kitchen and see for yourself before committing!

Also if you get any etching in marble, granite or quartzite we love and recommend this etch removing paste! I am planning on honed marble for my kitchen reno and plan to have an industrial sized tub of this stuff on hand! Ha! We have honed Calacatta Gold marble counters in the studio kitchen and use this cleaner in there too. G3 supplied and fabricated this stone for us as well! The glow of natural honed marble is my favorite!

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Kitchen Before-9
Kitchen Countertops Installed-4

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I hope you guys enjoyed this post! A HUGE thanks to Tanya and our friends at G3 Glass Granite Group for helping us put together this post and for being such a great resource to us over the years! If you’re local and looking for an amazing stone or glass fabricator, definitely reach out!

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2018 Juniper Gift Guide!

We’re living smack dab in the middle of a construction zone this holiday season, so the halls we’re decking are cramped and quite a bit more dusty than they were last year, but I’m still loving it. For the last few years we’ve focused on a experiences during the holidays rather than a ton of gifts. We told the girls on Christmas morning last year about our Scandinavian trip with a big book about the area. It was magical to look at it together by the Christmas tree and talk about all the places we wanted to see! This year we’ll tell them about our next trip (any guesses where we’re off to this summer?!)

In the gift department, we have been giving the girls each five presents that they get to suggest to us. 1. Something they want, 2. something they need 3. something to wear 4. something to read and then 5. one present from Santa. It’s still a lot, but it really helps keep a lid on gifts and they somehow all feel more special! It’s worked really well for us the last few years. I’d love to hear what you all do for your gifting traditions this season

And now for the 2018 JUNIPER GIFT GUIDE! These are all items I have (or would love to own) and that I think would make really wonderful gifts this season. Happy shopping!

 

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FOR HER

1. Flowers By Color Book – This specific encyclopedia of flowers is stunning, but coffee table books in general are a GREAT gift idea. Because they’re usually slightly more expensive than an item you’d buy for yourself on the regular without a good reason ($40+), coffee table books feel more luxurious than maybe they even are! Also, it gives the receiver something to look at while they thank you for the gift, thereby avoiding the super awkward minute of explaining why you bought them the gift after its opened. It’s basically like you have given two gifts with this gorgeous book! Look at you. You are a gift-giving genius.

2. Leather and Brass Bag – I’ve been carrying this bag for the last two months and I love it! Want to know why? It has COMPARTMENTS. I love different sections for receipts, keys, wallet, phone, etc. The bag is just big enough to fit a full-sized wallet (I have this one) but not so roomy that you accidentally tote around a five pound tape measure for two weeks until your shoulder starts aching at nights.

3. Le Labo Travel Rollers – Le Labo products feel expensive and special. These rollers are a great price though! There are two in this pack, so if you are feeling sassy, open the box, keep one for yourself and give the other to your bestie! Make it a gift topper on an amazing coffee table book!

4. Statement Earrings – It’s only been the last year or two that I started tiptoeing into the world of statement earrings. Simple clothes and bold jewelry feels really chic to me right now. Also, earrings feel a little more giftable than rings or necklaces!

5. Jade Roller – Yup, they live up to the hype. I like to pop mine in the fridge or freezer before rolling the puffiness out of my face in the morning or the headache out after a long day. Which reminds me of another great gift idea that I forgot to include in this round up graphic but will mention here. These blue-light blocking glasses are game changing! If I am good about wearing them all day I notice a huge difference in my eyes and the frequency/intensity of my headaches. Worth the $20 and they look cute too! :) I think a combo gift of the jade roller and these glasses would be a super thoughtful gift for friends that work long hours behind a screen!

6. Hair Refresher Spray – I use this powder dry shampoo religiously. I’ve found aerosol dry shampoo just doesn’t cut it for me, not to mention I get like five uses out of a bottle? Not cool. I’ll stick with my $12 powder dry shampoo that lasts me two months. And lately, I’ve been using a little of this Hair Refresher spray if I haven’t washed my hair in a couple of days. It smells AMAZING (like, really) and you only need a little bit.

7. Black Boots – I needed new black boots, snagged these a few weeks ago and they make me feel cool. They are often on sale and they are surprisingly affordable for the construction, style and brand! Recommend!

8. Striped Bow Hair Tie – I LOVE these bow hair ties! They’re cute in my girls’ hair for sure, but I also like wearing them in a loose half up style or just with a low pony and a hat. Super cute especially for just a few dollars.

9. Personalized Luggage Tag – Gorgeous color and material? Check. Personalized? Check. Travel-focused? Check! The perfect gift to give to your wife along with plane tickets to Paris or Tokyo! (Hint, hint, Michael!)

10. Dyson Hair Dryer – Have you tried it yet? I stayed at a fancy hotel recently that had one of these Dyson Hair Dryers in my room and I LOVED it. My current hair dryer is on its last leg, and I’ve got this one in my cart ready for when it finally kicks the bucket! :)

11. Classic Sunglasses – I’ll probably include these classic sunnies in every gift guide from here on because they’re just that good. I’ve managed to keep these ones safe for the past year, but even if I lost them I’d buy the exact same pair the same day. That is how much I love these sunglasses. I feel no need to have multiples in rotation. It’s a committed relationship.

12. Josef Albers in Mexico Book – If a friend gave me this art book, their cool factor would instantly jump up quite a few notches. Right?! Look at that cover. The color is even better in person and the inside is just as amazing and inspiring.

13. Instax Square Polaroid – It’s about time that Instax came out with a square polaroid photo size! The camera is supposed have a lot more features on this one too! I’m asking Santa for one of these.

14. Wide Brim Hat – You’ve probably seen me link to this affordable and gorgeous hat a couple times. It’s on sale so I snagged a couple more colors! I’m working on the design of our new master closet and I’m thinking I should try to incorporate some hat storage somewhere. Have you seen any cool ideas?

15. Black Levi’s 501s – I’ve been on a Madewell jeans kick for the last three or four years (just like the rest of the world), and I still really love them, but I grabbed a couple pairs of these Levi’s 501 jeans in the cropped 28″ inseam over Black Friday weekend and I have found a new favorite. They do wonders for the booty just like Madewell jeans, but they feel a lot more classic. Warning though, unlike Madewell who is VERY generous with their sizing, you’ll want to size up in Levi’s. There’s not a lot of stretch in these, but they REALLY hold their shape because of it! I’m about to order a pair of the vintage wash lighter blue while they’re 20% off!

16. Gold Rings Stack – I have recently been leaving my engagement ring at home and just wearing my wedding band, especially if I’m wearing a fun ring on my right hand. I have a collection of vintage turquoise rings that I love to wear but I also love these gold rings that come in a stack of five! It’s a statement but it’s still a simple look.

17. Lip Mask – Yup, still using it every night, and still LOVING it. I’m only about halfway through my little tub too. High fives for affordable, good products!

18. Rosehip Oil – Here’s another affordable, good product I’m still using every day and loving. I got my husband hooked on it too and the bottles are so affordable we each have our own. I choose it over coconut oil any day of the week!

19. Rosewater Spray – I love this spray, in every season it helps with dryness and gives a natural, dewy glow all day. Plus it makes you smell like a rose garden and who doesn’t want that?

20. Dusty Rose Knit Tennies – Just like how I’m branching outside my Madewell jeans, I’m also looking outside my Nike tunnel vision with running shoes. I like the fit of these Stella McCartney for Adidas tennies and that gorgeous dusty rose color gives me life, even when I’m dying on the treadmill.

21. Milk Bar Life Book – We all love Milk Bar. And after watching her on Chef’s Table, I love Christina Tosi and her approach to life and food. Really looking forward to checking out her new book and trying her recipes!

22. Homebody Sweatshirt – I’ve taken the Meyers Briggs Test a dozen times and each time the first letter in my results switch between I and E, depending on the year and my headspace while taking the test. Either way though, I’m obsessed with being home, snuggling with my kiddos and shutting out the world for at least a few hours of the day. It fills me up for sure. Needless to say, I love this cute Homebody sweatshirt and I love the lady that makes them.

23. High-waisted leggings – Thanks to the Buy Guide, I have fallen in LOVE with these $20 Lululemon dupes. They are high-waisted and flattering, but not so thick that you get overheated at the gym. My favorite part is the double phone pockets in the leg! I am not a fan of belt pockets or arm bands, but these are the perfect size that make my phone easily accessible but keep it in place. I have them in black and navy and can’t wait to get more! Never again will I pay $100+ for leggings!!

24.  Sports Bras Value Pack – Same story with this sports bra! I used to run 30 miles a week and I miss being in that kind of shape. Running was the best therapy and stress reliever for me. I’ve been doing the Couch to 10k app for the past month or two and I’m starting to feel the switch over happen in my fitness, where it’s not as painful and where my body is starting to crave the activity! Finally! This bra has been great for running (because I should know better by now that sports bras that are great for yoga are NOT great for running!!!).

25. Rust Suede Moto Jacket – This suede jacket has been my favorite fashion purchase this year. I love it, I feel put together when I wear it and I know I’ll love it for years to come. I went up a size and was glad I did when it arrived!

26. 30oz Tumbler with Metal Straw – I read Girl, Wash Your Face earlier this year and I really liked it then, but I’ve especially enjoyed following Rachel Hollis on Insta since then. She does a program at the end of the year called the last 90 days where you try to end the year with a bang, so you’re in a good spot for the New Year before it actually starts. Every day you do just a few things to help you thrive in your day and drinking water is one of them. Half your weight in ounces. It sounds worse than it is. I’ve been using my metal tumbler with lots of ice and some fresh lemon or lime to mix it up and I’m feeling great! Right now just might be the most stressful month of my life/career and I’m not really feeling it the way I know I would have in years past. I think its the 5 To Thrive tips I’m taking from Rachel’s advice.  You should join in if you haven’t started following her!

27. Wideleg Crop Pant -The cut and color of these wideleg pants is great on everyone! Every woman on my team has a pair and we all love them! I think they are pretty true to size, but I’d maybe go a size smaller if you’re slightly between sizes.

28. Impress Nails – Okay, this might stir up some controversy, but my friends at Classy Clutter told me about these press-on nails that are only a few dollars per set and that last about 10 days (which is about as long as I can get my gel nails to stay on). I’ve been using them for the past few months and I am blown away at how much healthier my nails have gotten after giving them a break from the constant gel manicures! You just stick them on clean nails and trim to your liking! I’m HOOKED.

29. Month’s Supply of Face Masks – These sheet masks are truly awesome, affordable and have become a favorite ritual I do a few times a week before bed, scrolling insta and watching The Office. It’s the small things, friends.

30. Hand Warmer + Portable Charger – Okay, I know I live in Arizona, but our 130 yr old brick building is CHILLY in the winter! We just started keeping these hand warmers around the studio to keep our typing fingers toasty and limber. Bonus points for it also being a portable phone charger! I would have used this thing to death when we lived in NYC!

31. Marie Kondo – I Marie-Kondoed my house up and down before we started this reno. I still have to work on the studio, but it was amazing to revisit the wonderful little book that so beautifully and simply describes the importance of using what we have and keeping only what we really love and use. I just bought this book called The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning and I’m excited to dive in.

32. Braided Leather Booties – The weather is mild enough here for these booties to be considered winter footwear and I love them! They’re flattering on the foot and super comfortable, though I’d definitely go up a size!
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FOR HIM

1. Record Player – I got Michael a record player for Christmas a couple years ago and I’m surprised at how much we all love and use it! We buy new records often and Michael and I love to go to used record stores on date nights.

2. Sigur Ros Album – This is one of my favorite bands (even more so after going to Iceland!) and it feels like all of their albums were meant to be listened to on vinyl!

3. Apple Earbuds – Michael is getting a pair of these for Christmas because I bought myself a pair at the airport recently and haven’t stopped raving about them since. They are so great for my runs too! There’s nothing worse than yanking out the cord accidentally.

4. Hilarious Adult Award Ribbons – Guys, these adult ribbon awards are so funny. I want to frame them for our home office because they make me giggle. :)

5. Leather iPhone Case + Wallet – Just the necessities! The slightly pebbled finish on this leather helps the color stay true and finish can be more easily cleaned than the leather cases from the Apple store.

6. Schrute Farms Sweatshirt – Michael and I started re-watching The Office before bed and I forgot just how funny that show is. It really holds up and warms the heart. I love this inexpensive sweatshirt that I’m planning to order for Michael (and then borrow for myself) :)

7. Beard Kit – Michael grew a beard last year and he really likes this kit! It comes with a balm and oil and a brush and comb.

8. Peeps Glasses Cleaner – Glasses are hard to keep clean, but Michael keeps one of these in his work bag and one in his car and they work really well! I might get one for myself to keep my sunglasses and blue-blockers fingerprint free! :)

9. Post Secret Book – Do you remember this book? I stumbled on it again recently and I loved it. The author left blank postcards in random places and asked people to anonymously share a secret they’ve never shared before. The submissions are raw and funny and often so heartfelt. I found myself tearing up several times while quickly browsing the book in my local used bookshop. I think it would make a wonderful gift.

10. 23 and Me – Michael and I got each other 23 and me DNA kits last year. It was SO exciting (and slightly terrifying) to get the reports back. We bought the upgraded version where they test you for some common genetic diseases and disorders. Thankfully we didn’t have any big surprises there! The ancestry report though was FASCINATING! I’m mostly Scandinavian (which I knew) but there were some big surprises, like I have some ancestors from Senegal! Wow! I also am 3% Native American! I’m looking forward to doing more family history and learning more about my family history. Our trip to see my great grandmother’s home in Sweden this summer lit a fire in me and I’m excited to keep learning and I know Michael feels the same after seeing his family history report. It was a very special gift!

11. Wireless Charger – Once you go wireless, it feels like such a burden to have to actually plug in your phone! ;)

12. Compression Eye Mask – We’ve got a couple of migraine sufferers in my extended family and I’ve heard really really good things about this compression mask!

13. Shiatsu Massager – This might be me imposing my own wishlist on to Michael, but I will definitely borrow this neck massager if he got one for Christmas! It has several thousand five star reviews, so I think it’s a safe gift purchase!

14. Tile Keyfinder -Not saying that my husband occasionally misplaces his keys (he does), but if he did, the Tile would be a miracle for us (it is).

15. Leather Key Ring – (To make the said keys even easier to find.)

16. Credit Card Survival Tool – Isn’t this cool?! All the guys I know would be VERY into this survival tool. And if the end of the world is actually as close as it has been feeling lately, maybe I’ll want one for myself. (because nothing says Merry Christmas like apocalypse planning!)

 

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FOR KIDS

1. Wooden Zoo Puzzle – I’m really trying to limit the number of plastic toys we bring in the house and so I’m trying to only buy wood toys and books for Christmas. I love this wooden puzzle set of safari animals.

2. Balance Blocks Game – Another wooden toy that the whole family loves to play with. We had these sitting in a pretty bowl on a sideboard by our dining table because they’re fun to tinker with after meals while we’re all still talking.

3. Checkerboard Skateboard – All my girls are very into skating right now and they fight over the one board we have. I like the checkerboard pattern on this one (and that it’s so affordable, in case this is really just a passing phase!).

4. Scratch Off Travel Map – We’ve made it a goal to visit a new continent every year and I love the idea of hanging this Scratch Off travel map in our playroom. It starts out black and white and the countries under the scratch off material are all in color. Such a cute idea, right?

5. Wooden Doctor Kit Toy – In case you can’t bring yourself to buy plastic character toys but your three year-old daughter loves watching Doc McStuffins.

6. Bloxels – My girls are in a coding club at our local library and one of the parents suggested this game! It combines tech and arts and crafts and I’m excited to try it with my kids!

7. Mustard Kids Suitcase – I mean, I really just want one for myself. This little suitcase would make weekend trips up to my parents house all the more exciting!

8. Giant Maps Book – This book is STUNNING. It’s been a favorite of ours and has really fueled the girls’ desires to see the world. It’s also sparked a lot of important conversations about the rest of the world and how truly, truly lucky we are.

9. Today Book – Margot is almost four and she is the perfect age for this beautiful, interactive book. It’s almost like a Choose Your Own Adventure book for toddlers and younger children, but with everyday objects and tasks. It’s a really well done book!

10. One Thousand Things Book – Another perfect Margot-aged book that helps with those budding vocabularies! There are a thousand unique items hidden in the pages that your child can search for and find and share with you. It’s cute and fun to do if you’re sick of reciting the same bedtime books for the seven millionth time.

11. Wooden Tool Box Toy – Boys and girls alike would love this beautifully made wooden toy! I love that it comes with a pretty box where every toy tool has a designated spot!

12. Moon Nightlight – This is hands down the prettiest nightlight I’ve ever stumbled across. It’s like a little sculpture for your child’s nightstand or dresser. I love it and would totally put one in my room if I didn’t need like the blackest darkness to fall asleep every night. :)

13. Kid Bath Bombs with Surprise Toys – Bath bombs are trendy, yes, but they are also the answer to many of life’s problems, even for kids. A good bath or shower and early bedtime fixes 90% of life’s problems, am I right? What I love about these bath bombs is they are colorful but don’t stain my tub and they DON’T HAVE GLITTER (how and why is that a thing!?). But most importantly they have little toys inside that make the bath time ritual like opening one giant LOL surprise doll without the expense, mess and confusing messaging about sexualized babies? I don’t know how long the novelty of these bath bombs will last with my two youngest daughters, but I’ll take any help I can get these days and will be stuffing their stockings with bath bombs!

14. Jotblock Watercolor Set – I love that this watercolor set is semi-portable! Perfect for road trips and for keeping on bedside tables. My 11 year-old will LOVE getting this on Christmas morning.

15. Caboodles Organizer – Did you die like I did seeing Caboodles on the end cap of your local Target?! I literally gasped out loud and yelled at my girls OH MY GOSH THIS WAS SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF MY CHILDHOOD!!!! I worked so hard babysitting to save enough money for my own Caboodles organizer. It was peach and teal and perfect all over. I filled it with velvet scrunchies and green and pink tubes of mascara, Dr. Pepper lip smackers and a super heavy hairbrush with the world’s stiffest bristles that were all missing the little plastic bead things on the end so it felt like you were basically brushing your hair with razor blades. A treasure box I tell you and my girls should all want one!

16. Harry Potter Gift Set – Okay, so, yes, this is an expensive gift to give a kid, but this collector’s edition of the Harry Potter series is REALLY cool too. I’d even go out on a limb here and call it an heirloom collection. Your kid’s kids will cherish this set so if you can afford it and your child is old enough to respect and appreciate how nice they are, I’d totally go for it.

17. Christmas Jammies – Do you give your kids Christmas jammies every year? We used to wrap them up and let the girls open them and wear them on Christmas Eve, but this year I think I’m going to give them their Christmas jammies NOW so they can get some good use out of them before the big night! I love these old school button down separates!

18. Wooden Dollhouse – We bought an old dollhouse on Craigslist last year with the plan to fix it up. It’s not in terrible shape so the girls have been playing with it and it’s fine. Maybe someday I’ll have enough time to really fix it up! If I had it to do over again though, I would have bought something beautiful and easy and toddler proof like this wooden dollhouse! It comes with a ton of furniture and accessory options!

19. Fuzzy Socks and Eye Mask –  These would make the cutest stocking stuffers. There are a couple of different variations too – like a panda and a unicorn. I like to buy extras of cute and cheap gifts like these to have on hand that go on a high shelf in my closet where I stash small gifts for last minute birthday parties. It comes in handy so often but whatever you do, guard the secret of the shelf with your life!

20. Red Polka Dot Tea Set – You know what’s a really terrible idea? A ceramic play tea set. The pieces shatter or even just chip and you’ve got a problem on your hands! With four daughters, I’ve bought a play tea set or ten in my day, and this metal one has become a family favorite. It’s tiny (which is actually perfect for minimizing spills/mess) and adorable and indestructible.

21. The Little Prince Pop-Up Book – Okay, this book is a serious masterpiece. The illustrations and pop-ups are next level and they help tell the story so beautifully!  My kids love it and I do too. We try to read to whole book together once or twice a year over a few nights.

22. Mary Jane Velvet Bow Flats – I love these sweet little flats for Christmas card photos or a special occasion! They are so pretty and would pair well with this adorable buffalo check dress!

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FOR HOME

1. Black Bread Board with Double Handles – The double handle here makes this super affordable bread board feel much more expensive than it is. The two handles make it a great layering piece on a larger more traditional round board (or like #20 below!).

2. Round Bamboo Tray – Perfect for any coffee table or console top, wrap a book and a candle or the towels below and set it in this tray with a big bow around it and you’ve just taken simple gifts to the next level!

3. Black and White Turkish Towels – No one would guess these towels are from Amazon!

4. Match Striker – I love getting candles for gifts, but adding candle accessories takes the gift to the next level! I love this handmade match striker!

5. Wick Trimmer & Candle Snuffer – Same as above! This makes a great addition to a fancy candle! The snuffer especially is the best. Who wants to ruin all the great smell you got from the candle with a bunch of smoke?

6. Cinderose Candle – I’m really impressed with this candle! Like with a super expensive candle brand (like Byredo or Dyptique), the scent lingers for days. This woodsy, smoky rose scent is my very favorite!

7. Rust Runner – We love this rug! I used the 8×10 version in the Gentry Project living room and the runner in this kitchen project. It’s affordable and gorgeous!

8. Super Affordable Trestle Dining Table – About $600 is a CRAZY GOOD price for a table this pretty and that’s made from solid wood. Click through the listing photos to see a close up of the wood grain. It’s so much more expensive looking – like a Restoration Hardware table. And I love that you could get it in just a few days, so you have time to spruce up your dining room before hosting Christmas dinner!

9. Juniper Home Collection Lumbar Pillow – Still my favorite way to dress a bed without a million pillows! As part of the Last 90 Days program thing I was just talking about I have been trying to make my bed every morning consistently. This lumbar pillow makes it a quick and easy process and I feel like I have started my day right.

10. Favorite Planter – We use this planter a lot too and always get a million questions about where to buy it! It’s just from Amazon! Easy and so cute!

11. Leather and Brass Wall Frame – featuring “Huddle” by Jenny’s Print Shop – I love this frame and HUDDLE has become one of my favorite prints in the shop. Did you know we also offer gift cards for the holidays?!

12. Cream Chunky Knit Throw – I am OBSESSED with this throw. It is chunky and soft and well-made and absolutely gorgeous. If you’re over your sofa but want a stop gap before buying a new one, this throw would be a great neutral addition!

13. West Elm Knock-Off Leather Office Chair – I’m not sure what is happening here, but somehow this Amazon chair is an EXACT replica of the West Elm Slope chair that is twice the price! We have a few of these from West Elm at the studio and will be ordering more from the Amazon seller as our team is growing.

14. Mother of Pearl Bottle Opener – I don’t drink, but a bottle opener is handy to have in any home and makes a great gift for friends that do! I love mother of pearl together with brass!

15. Copper Pepper Mill – This copper pepper mill is the perfect gift for moms (me included)!! It feels so luxe!

16. Mustard Mudcloth Pillow – My local friend owns Sew + Cloth and her pillows are my FAVORITE. I love so many of her pillows and this gold mudcloth she recently added to her shop is at the top of my list.

17. Best Brass Box – I’m a sucker for little trinkets to layer on top of desks or on stacks of coffee table books and this little brass box is amazing. The BEST engraving is the name of brand, but I love it as a gift that makes a general sweet statement – Best Mom/Dad/Aunt/Uncle. Best Boss. Best Friend.

18. Firewood Holder – This is another item that looks way more expensive than it actually is! I love the matte black finish and modern shape.

19. Faux Ficus Branches – Faux branches are a great way to step into the world of faux plants without committing to a 8′ fiddle leaf for hundreds of dollars. These branches are only $20 and look super realistic! For an even fuller look, I’d order two bundles and put them in a HUGE vase for a console table or a center hall table.

20. Wood and Marble Bread Board – Bread boards make a great hostess gift, just be sure to bring a little (or a lot of) cheese with you! Try the honey goat cheese at Trader Joe’s! Or some camembert with fig jam. Yum!

21. Sonos – Our cute Tivoli at the studio has been acting up the past couple of months so I think we’re going to switch over to Sonos system. I’ve only heard amazing reviews about this speaker and the one I linked to here is gift-appropriate and on the affordable side!

22. Dyson Vacuum – I got my Dyson stick vacuum last year for Christmas and I can’t believe I lived in a world with corded vacuums for so much of my life before that! If you haven’t jumped ship yet, NOW IS THE TIME. Life is too short for vacuum bags and cords.

23. White Fluted Vase – Another favorite hostess gift? Fresh flowers in a pretty vase. This one looks incredible with literally any flower you can find even at the grocery store.

24. Hygge & West Home Book – I love the people from Hygge & West and their first design book did not disappoint! Beautiful images of real homes that look lived in and so cozy!

25. Rust Waffle Throw – Rust is my favorite accent color to use in rooms these days! This super inexpensive throw looks great on a sofa or chair or thrown at the end of the bed. It’s lightweight and delicate but still so soft.

26. Striped Planter – This little planter (that could also work as a vase) is SO pretty and so unique with the loose, organic blue stripes! And it’s on super sale right now. Win-win.

27. String Shopping Bags – I love having these bags around my house and in my car! They work great in a pinch for toting snacks to the soccer field or to use as grocery bags!

28. Velvet Hangers – I have these hangers in the beige color for our closet and you just can’t beat the 50 for $20 price! They make our small master closet actually usable and I love that all of my tops and dresses stay put!

29. Portable Steamer – I’ve bought a few fancy steamers in my day and none of have worked as long and as well as this little steamer that fits perfectly in a cabinet in your laundry room or closet!

30. Terrazzo Coasters – This is an affordable, non-committal way to get on the terrazzo train!

31. – Pressed Glass Frames – I love little brass frames for pressed flowers. I love the idea of collecting little flowers and leaves from a special place, pressing them and framing for a gift.

Trends in Kitchen Appliances

This post is sponsored by Lowes.

Jenny Komenda Bigalow Kitchen

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I’ve got about six kitchen projects at various stages that I’m helping design and finish right now, so I’ve got kitchens on my brain in a major way! I’ve partnered with Lowes this year to share practical tips for approaching renovation and design in your own home (see my post on painting here!) and today we’re going to tackle a big topic: Trends in kitchen appliances! Here are a couple of the points I’m going to cover today, but please let me know in the comments if there’s anything else you’d like me to touch on here!

THOUGHTS ON STAINLESS STEEL

CABINET FRONT/PANEL READY APPLIANCES – HOW THESE WORK

COLOR APPLIANCES: TRENDY OR TIMELESS? ALSO, HOW TO MIX AND MATCH FINISHES

WALL OVENS + COOKTOP VS RANGE

 

Lowes Appliances

48″ Black KitchenAid Gas Range

Cafe Series French door style wall ovens

Pebble Ice Maker

48″ Gas Cooktop

Panel Ready Refrigerator

Matte White and Brass Cafe Dishwasher

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White Matte 36″ Cafe Range

Freestanding Electrolux Fridge and Freezer

48″ ZLINE Gas Range

 

While I dive into these topics, I’ll be sharing photos from a kitchen we recently styled in downtown Gilbert by Bigelow Built. This home is now available for Airbnb bookings and you can check out the listing here! All of the appliances in this kitchen are available from Lowes as well! I love how this gorgeous space turned out!

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THOUGHTS ON STAINLESS STEEL:

Some of you might disagree with me here, but I’m very much so in the pro stainless steel camp. I think stainless is a great neutral foundation for a kitchen design. My thoughts are that any material used in most commercial applications is going to be a classic and will endure the test of time.

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Stainless steel appliances also mix really well with other metals like brass and matte black, but they usually don’t mix easily with all other stainless appliances. Every brand has a slightly different sheen and color, so it’s best to stick with a consistant suite of appliances in your kitchen, unless you can be sure that the stainless is really similar. In this kitchen here for example – the refrigerator is by Samsung and it works since the color of the stainless steel on the range is really similar and the fridge is far enough away to not be able to directly compare.

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The KitchenAid appliances also in this space are probably my favorite mid-end appliances right now. They are built to last and have the reviews to back that up, and they have the lines and details of much more expensive appliances! I always like to use a slide-in range, where the controls are on top or in front instead of a high back panel. It’s so much more of a clean look to see the backsplash instead of the back of the range!

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CABINET FRONT/PANEL READY APPLIANCES – HOW THESE WORK

If you have a little more room in your budget, panel-ready appliances are a great way to get a more custom, seamless look in a kitchen. What’s not so common knowledge though is that you don’t need to have custom cabinetry or super high end appliances to get this look. Every cabinet line available at Lowes and several of their appliances lines have panel ready options. I especially love this look for dishwasher fronts and undercounter ice makers.

 

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COLOR APPLIANCES: TRENDY OR TIMELESS? ALSO, HOW TO MIX AND MATCH FINISHES

I get asked all. the. time about color appliances and if they’re trendy or not. I think color appliances are definitely on the trendy side, but I still love them. It feels safe and smart to go with a more neutral color like black or white though. I am loving the new Cafe line of appliances at Lowes. The brass handles are to die for and I love the perfectly matte black and white finish options!

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Cafe Series French door style wall ovens

 

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Cafe Matte Black Fridge

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I think if you’re choosing white appliances, it’s a good idea to have lighter color cabinets. You can pair black appliances with any color cabinets, including white cabinets. I like the idea of the range being the only colorful appliance in the kitchen and the fridge and dishwasher both being panel-ready! Otherwise, I like all the appliances to be matching. I’d gladly take a suite of these Cafe appliances for any of the projects I’m working on right now! We are doing more of an English style kitchen in the Evergreen project and I think these would be perfect!

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Cafe Series Fridge

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Cafe Series 36″ Range

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And for the final topic –

WALL OVENS + COOKTOP VS RANGE

This one is top of mind for me right now! It is a HUGE trend in kitchen design to have wall ovens tucked into the pantry and out of the main kitchen prep area. You usually see this with cooktops instead of ranges. We currently have an induction cooktop and double wall ovens, and I’ll admit that it is handy to have two ovens and that it’s nice to not have to bend over to check on dinner. BUT ranges are so pretty! One thought I’ve had is to have a 36″ or 48″ range (I love this Z-line one or the 36″ Cafe range above) and a single or double wall oven in our pantry.

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Another great option if you’re tight on space is to include a built in microwave or warming drawer in your island or peninsula! This frees up counter space but keeps dinner prep convenient.

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I hope this post was helpful to you guys who are in the trenches of kitchen design with me! I’d love to hear your questions and opinions on kitchen appliances trends in the comments!
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