Latest Obsessions 08.18

Surprise, surprise – this month’s latest obsessions are mostly house obsessed, as I’ve got my eyes on the next prize and the projects just seem to keep getting bigger and bigger.  Beyond the house project bug, weekend getaways and trips or seasonal parties also have me heart-eyed with excitement.
Latest Obsessions 08.18 - the bee life
Basement Projects.  This is a two part.  Part one has been talked about off and on with B, but seriously discussions and planning have started to take place to build out a full-bathroom.  A good friend is a plumber, so with his expertise and help it doesn’t seem so daunting, yay!  Plus, it will add value to our home, making it 2-baths vs. 1-bath. Part two, is making the other space a bit more livable – we have a decent amount of space for storage, so the configuring has been playing out in my head and I think we can make it work.  The livable space might just be a bit industrial chic vs. completely finished basement. I love this article for some inspiration on finishing touches for your unfinished basement.

Seasonal Parties.  I can’t help but get excited for upcoming season parties, whether we’ll be hosting or attending – from the calm bake, to dare I say it…. Christmas?! Yup! I’m just looking forward to creating new memories and fun with family and friends.  And the only reason I have these on my mind, is because schedules get so crazy – we have to plan that far ahead especially if we want any chance of getting on our family/friends schedules!

Getaways.  Whether it’s a quick two-hour drive or a flight across the country, the travel bug continues and I’m excited to get out of town for a bit in the coming months.  With that, I can’t help but want to find the best brunch spots, shop for a few new outfits, and figure out other fun details to weave into the trip.  I’m trying not to wish these to come too soon though, because time has certainly been flying lately!

What’ve you been obsessing over? New house project or fashion trend – leave a comment, I want to know!

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Image Sources: Bathroom Inspiration Party Decor Inspiration Unfinished Basement

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Dog Inspired Home Decor

I’ll be the first to admit it, I am a dog lover – and I am mildly obsessed with our little puggle, Moz!  We’ve invested in a few custom portraits of her,  have attended Paint Your Pet classes and frame some super cute photos of her. And although I feel like our house is quickly becoming consumed with mini gallery walls, I can’t help but want to create a Moz gallery wall. And, it’s okay if you’re whispering ‘crazy dog lady’ or rolling your eyes at me, as you read this!

Needing some inspiration like me? Here are some super cute ways to incorporate DOGS into your home in a chic, playful, sophisticated and not so crazy way.  From a nursery, entrance, living space or even your bathroom, I hope you’re inspired like I was to see how these can pull off a high-end look while still satisfying that inner-love for dogs.

Illustrations are a great way to incorporate your pooch, as the simplicity brings that certain level of sophistication. Incorporating canvas’ with multiple pieces and parts also helps create more of a statement without all the gallery wall work and planning.  Whether it’s created in a DIY paint class or an option you sourced online – there are plenty of options to purchase/create your custom pup portrait.

Another fun way to pull in your love of dogs is with some bold wallpaper that could be used in a mud room.  Wanting to keep it simple? Get an entry rug that will welcome guests and instantly set the mood that furry friends await. Photography is another way to pull in those sweet pups, with a gallery wall of three large prints – I mean, how cute are those puppy photos for a nursery? or using a common thread of familiar frames or black and white photos helps tie everything together for a cohesive look in the space.

If you’re considering adding in your furry friends to your home decor, it’s also important to consider what spaces might be appropriate for this with the way your house functions.  A few starting points to consider might be your master bedroom or theming a guest room themed with dogs (there are so cute dog bedsheets you can score; like these ones from Cynthia Rowley). A guest bathroom or mudroom might be a good space to bring in your love of dogs.  Start small or in a dedicated space and make sure you bring through your love of dogs in a sophisticated and stylish way!

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Shop the Looks & Image Sources: Gallery wall with furry bench Frenchie Canvas Vintage Dogs Illustrated Wallpaper Three Puppies in a Nursery I hope you like dogs rug |Golden Gallery

Breakfast Nooks for Days

So now that we have our Front Landscape project wrapped up, I’m ready for the next and still dreaming of our someday kitchen makeover… One piece that I particularly want when we makeover our kitchen is an adorable, cozy and functional breakfast nook!
Breakfast Nook - the bee life
As I started looking for different breakfast nooks – I didn’t realize how many different options there would be! Traditionally you think of a galley style booth or a half circle of benches – but news flash! There are SO MANY other options! Let me walk you through the many considerations and options of a breakfast nook.

Permanent & Functional. This is a great idea if you’re truly committed to having a breakfast nook. With a permanent bench you can also be sure to build in extra storage so it’s functional in more than one way.

Movable Furniture Pieces. Mind blown? Yup, mine was. And I think this might be one of the ways we end up going.  Whether using a Settee or this awesome customizable piece from the Home Depot.

Square vs. Round Table.  This is another piece that can make a huge difference depending on the base you’re working with.  A square/rectangular table could work for a larger space or a foldable one could work for a smaller space.  A round table is just another perfect option that can work in an L-shape bench layout or your half-circle nook.

Accents Chairs. Depending on the route you go, the accent chairs opposite of the bench are just as much of a statement as the rest of the set-up.  These can be industrial, warm and cozy or traditional.

Bold Colors vs. Classic Neutrals.  Either way you decide to do it, you can either start with a bold footprint with your main bench, or add in pops of color with wall art and pillows. Neutrals can play on each other bringing in deep wood grains from your floor or table can really pull a neutral look together with your other pieces.

Working with a Window? Don’t be afraid to build your bench in front of your window.  No window? That’s okay – breakfast nooks work either way, whether it’s behind a half-wall or in a corner of a room don’t let one or the other hold you up from creating your space. We only have windows on one side, so we’ll be able to have a little bit of light and fun with our space.

Pillows & Cushions, Cushions & Pillows.  One of the parts I love about breakfast nooks is they’re so warm and inviting, and one of the reasons is because of all the pillows and possibilities of bench cushions!  It is no secret I have a slight pillow addiction.

All Shapes & Sizes. Whether you’re working with a tight space, or have a 12-foot wall to fill with your breakfast nook, this is once piece that can work in any kind of space, especially if you decide the non-permanent route! So don’t feel like you can’t fit in your breakfast nook if you have limited space!  On the contrary, if you have extra dead space this might be a great way to fill it or make up for a lack of a dining room.

Lighting.  Depending on your overall style of your breakfast nook, you can either play it down or create a bold statement with a chandelier.  Not ready to commit to a chandelier?  Consider wall sconces to book end your space or light the way.

I was always dreaming over our breakfast nook as super traditional with a built in bench with storage, circular table and calling it a day with some pillows.  But now that I see all these different options and all the fun color options I am wide-eyed and drooling over the possibilities.   I mean that pink sectional and shell chandelier directly above is Oh. Em. Gee. Swoon worthy.  And I think we’ll probably end up going with the less permanent, yet cozy route with a great Settee or baller sectional.

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Image Sources: Top Left | Top Right | Settee Neutral | Corner with Red Chandelier | Black & Gold | Mustard Bench | Classic U-Shape | Pink Rectangular Swoon 

House Tour – Front Landscape

We are feeling pretty accomplished after finally crossing off a house project we’ve had on the list for just about 4-years, our front landscape!  Although, like all house projects it ended up being a bit pricer than we initially expected – it was totally worth it.

When we first moved into the house, there were two over grown/random scrubs that didn’t do much from an aesthetic perspective – so we tore those out pretty quickly after we moved in, leaving us with a blank slate to dream about.  We made some improvements over the years, like updating the front lattice, adding in some perennials and a couple annuals that stuck around, we tried to dress up the empty dirty with mums and ferns as the seasons changed so it wasn’t completely bare, but alas it was still a blank slate that needed some love.
House Tour - Front Landscape - bee life blog
This project seemed daunting especially from a plant perspective, we didn’t want to pay for a landscaper and had a few ideas about what plants/bushes to incorporate, it was really just filling in all of the holes.  So one day, B and I went to three different nurseries and read tags, looked at plants and started to narrow down our options and took pictures, while we also price compared.  From there we ordered 5-yards of dirt to build up the area, it seemed like too much, but somehow we managed to spread it throughout.  And then we went and bought our plants;

(1) Little Lime Hydrangea
(2) Sorbet Peonies
(4) Boxwood Winter Gem
(3) Fern Line: Fern Leaf Buckthorn
(2) Maiden Grasses
(1) Coneflower – Cheyenne Spirit
(1) Lavender plant (already had)
(1) Butterfly bush (already had)

We spread the love with our plants purchases between some locals shops like Petitti’s Garden Center and Gale’s Garden Center. So once we bought all the plants, worked through placement, we got to planting!  Before we mulched, we built the stone wall to help divide the grass and landscape (this was a compromise of the project with B and I!) – he wanted one, I didn’t – the stones I wanted to compromise with were wayyy to much so we found some at Lowes that ended up working out. From there we ordered 3-yards of mulch (via Kurtz Bros!), which was more than enough, giving us a good base and finished look.
14House Tour - Front Landscape - bee life blog13House Tour - Front Landscape - bee life blog
The house feels a little more complete with the front landscape done, we are so happy to get it done and with the way everything turned out.  We also took our time working through this project (clearly!) but I think that helped to our benefit because we weren’t stressed about it and were able to take advantage of some cool summer days/nights to get everything done.   We can’t wait to see how it fills in and welcomes visitors to our home!

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DIY – Upcycle Skinny Dresser

You guys, I’ve been so excited to share this DIY with you all.  We first picked up this piece in the winter on a curb, it was calling my name – although banged up with multiple broken drawers, I saw the potential.  I didn’t even have a space for it at first, but I just needed to take it and make it over – and I wanted to pull out the stops to make this a show stopper.

First we had to assess the situation, three of the six drawers were busted up, one significantly cut that needed a little extra TLC (still a work in progress).  With a little bit of wood glue and updating, B helped put these back to life.  The old handles really dated this piece, so we removed those and got to work sanding down the surfaces.  Surprise, surprise we went with an off white color that we had from the house and painted this piece instead of spray painting, which is usually my go-to.  Painting was surprisingly really easy, and covered the piece well with only a couple of coats needed.
DIY -- Upcycle Skinny Dresser - the bee life
Let’s talk finishing touches. I wanted to splurge a bit on the finishes and was really hoping to indulge in some hardware from Anthropologie, as mentioned in my Latest Obsessions.  But I didn’t want to order them online, the store near me was SUPER picked over and I couldn’t talk myself into spending $8 or $10 per knob, when I needed six!  So I stopped at Pat Catans on a whim, and found some knobs I kind of liked ($2.99 each) – the first knobs I bought didn’t do much on the drawers, they were small – I need something more… bold. I went back and traded the pink blah knobs for these chunky stunning silver ones.  These still might get switched out one day…

Inside of the drawers was another place I wanted to find something a bit more fun and fancy.  Just as I was about to compromise on some typical contact paper from Target, I ended up getting distracted, swooning over some Opalhouse when too my surprise noticed the wallpaper was 50% off! Light bulb! I put down the gross contact paper and bought this elegant peel and stick wallpaper! For $15, I was leaving with my show stopping piece I wanted to help finish off this piece – not to mention the peel and stick was super easy to work with and customize per drawer.

Cost Breakdown:

  • Knobs: $18
  • Stick Wallpaper: $15 (on sale)
  • Paint: $0 (already had it)
  • Sandpaper: $5
  • TOTAL COST: $38

We have this piece in our dining room for now, and aired out a few other pieces to make this work.  Worst case I will put it in my walk in closet and use it to organize my clothes (bummer!)  But it was a fun piece to update and bring back some new life too.  The drawers still aren’t perfect – but you’d never know!

House Tour – Sunroom Makeover

Our sunroom got an impromptu mini makeover this spring, as we have finally been able to enjoy it with the weather warming up.  This space started out pretty drab with a stunning yellow and brown color palette, we quickly figured out a cost effective solution to repurpose our old apartment furniture making this space functional, bright and colorful.

This past summer we bought an oversized love seat and ottoman, that matches our main living room furniture – it was time to get rid of that over worn leather sofa for something a bit nicer.  The curtains that were once bright and sunny (and really expensive) were now faded after a few summers in the sun – plus the windows in that room aren’t the greatest (already on the future project list).  So I went with more affordable shears ($5 each) that accented the room nicely.
House Tour - Sunroom Makeover - the bee life
I reused a few other pieces that were throughout the house, the rug was extra that had been in the basement and worked perfectly with the new furniture color.  I also pulled in the white TV stand from a guest room to pull the space together, making it a cozy spot to curl up and watch a movie on a summer night or cool afternoon.  The window table was a DIY that is now a helpful side table, styled with a framed quote from our wedding and a table top lamp that was sitting sadly in the basement waiting for it’s perfect spot.

The only other piece I bought besides the new curtains, was the white tray ($20) to use on the other side of the chair for a bit more function.  I covered a few colorful pillows I had with white pillow cases from H&M that had ended up in the linen closet, the bright colors just weren’t working with the new darker gray chair.  I really loved freshening this space up without spending an arm and a leg – which goes back to my main decorating tip and rule of thumb, buy pieces that can work in multiple spaces!
14Sunroom Makeover - the bee life13Sunroom Makeover - the bee life
We love having the door open in the summer to this welcoming and warm space, and now it just has another elevated feel of this little retreat in our home.  It’s the perfect spot for an afterwork nap (that’s when it’s the warmest with sun shining in) and so bright.  Although this space was complete before, it feels even more so now with this little upgrade!

 

Shop the Look: H&M Pillow Covers | White Target Tray | Oversized Chair | Shear Curtain Panels | TV Stand Cube Bench 

House Tour – Mansion on the Lake

Today’s house tour, unfortunately is not of my own, but a girl can dream right? This past weekend we were able to get a rare look inside a 1910 treasure. There was an estate sale over the course of four days in this mansion along the lake – so before I start gushing the impeccable details, let’s run through the quick specs, built in 1910, 12,280 sq. ft., 10-bedrooms, 7 full baths, 3 half baths, listed just under $5 million.
8House Tour - Mansion - the bee life
Walking up to the property it was everything you’d expect from the pictures and more, although the pictures seemed like maybe it could be a dream.  The brick drive was still in immaculate condition with a grand entrance, stone steps lead into the house into a grand foyer with floor to ceiling wood paneled walls, grand staircase and a stunning fireplace. Walking in, you almost didn’t know where to start, straight into the Sun Room? Left into another great room? Or right another room equal size to the one on the left? We went right, from there we were led into the butler’s pantry with original cabinetry to the ceiling and then into the large kitchen with original gas stove.

Other standouts throughout the property were the ornate ceilings throughout and the windows with brass handles and original fixtures in every single room.  The wine cellar in the basement was a reasonable size for the house (kidding), and the 3rd floor – which was presumably the servants quarters at one point in time reminded be of the Titanic’s 3rd class – yet still incredible with the detail and just completely massive.  The wallpaper, although pretty prominent in the house in absence of wood panels, was mostly stunning and made a statement against the woodwork.
9House Tour - Mansion - the bee life
A little history on the house, it was designed by Stanford White for industrialist Howard M. Hanna Jr.  It’s been registered on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior.   It’s hard to imagine living in a house of such grandeur and size, not to mention all the finishings and furniture needed to make it a home… but I’m sure if I was forced I could manage *smiles*

Although a lot of the pieces being sold at the estate sale were way out of our price range (like a $15k table, $18k rug…) there were a lot of unique pieces that were reasonable especially for those with an appreciation of antiques.  Although the expensive pieces were definitely swoon worthy with a few pieces dating to the 18th century.  I did buy two hanker chiefs that had embroidered ‘E’s  – there were a few dish sets with ‘E’s as well, so my guess is that was the previous families last name?  It was really fun being able to check out a home like this, I’m glad we went and I’m going to keep on dreaming.

5 Tips for Dealing with Contractors

It’s that time of the year when contractors start to come out of the woodwork, random projects or emergencies pop-up and we’re at the mercy of depending on someone else coming into our home to help us complete vital projects.  To be honest, we hate working with contractors, they all seem to be the same in one way or the other and try to avoid whenever possible… but at the same time as handy as we are, there are a few projects where we just draw the line. So here are some pro tips for dealing with contractors!
Contractor Tips - the bee life
Ask Questions. It’s important to ask questions before you commit; How much? What is this price inclusive of? Are there any extra material costs? What are payment expectations and timing? How far out are you scheduling, how long will this take? And then it’s important to ask questions during the work; How’s it going? Have you run into any roadblocks? Why are you doing that?

Set Expectations. One of the things we’re often at the mercy of when it comes to projects is times and dates – often being inconvenienced during the work week or the weekend waiting around for untimely workers to show up. So not only it it important to set expectations for the work being done, but also set expectations around schedules. We’ve had contractors stay as late as 9:30PM on a Friday night… which was completely longer than they initially said and we were held captive, but also our faults for not asking or speaking up sooner.

Get It in Writing. This may be a no brainer, but it’s easy when you know someone or have a family friend contractor to want to make a commitment via phone or in person. But! These projects can often lead to unexpected things and it’s not uncommon for extra materials, additional time and added costs to creep in. Having the price, expectations, and deliverables in writing helps for peace of mind and something to point back to if things get shaken up.

Don’t Assume. Sometimes when you’re working with a contractor, they don’t aways do the work but bring in guys who do – it’s important to run through everything with the workers as well, even if the contractor already did. We ran into that with our patio this past year – they were going to completely miss a HUGE portion of the project and I called it out… they totally wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t mention it and then A LOT of rework and probably additional money would’ve been needed.

Create A Dialogue. Don’t be afraid to check-in with these contractors as work is being done, it may even be beneficial to set the president of checking in at the start of the day (What are you planning to accomplish today?) and then before they leave (Did you accomplish X, Y, Z? When will you be back?)  B and I often tip-toe around not wanting to hover or get in the way, but guess what! It’s your house, your money, and you can’t be afraid to offend someone, ask questions, or simply check-in on the process – because at the end of the day you’re living with the end product.

Working with contractors and home renovation projects in general is exhausting, expensive and always seems to take longer than originally planned – so that is why it’s crucial to set up the project with these tips to help with some of the headaches!

Image Sources: Bathroom | Kitchen 

Latest Obsessions 04.18

I can’t help but want summer to come, so with that, I have a lot of projects and plans in mind for the spring and summer. From added accessories to our patio decor, DIY projects and figuring out greens for additional flair my list is quickly growing and I can’t stop making plans for when the weather decides to shape up.
Latest Obsessions 04.18 - The Bee Life
A Bold Black Stripe.  Since last year was the first year with our back patio, this year will be about adding on the finishing touches, and I’ve got my eyes on adding in a bold black and white stripe.  Our umbrella is black and white, and I love the neutral colors for a more sophisticated look.  I already ordered a few black and white striped pillows for our seating area!

Fresh Flowers. Since I’ve been itching for warm weather, fresh blooms and sunshine, I’ve been buying a lot of fresh flowers lately to fill vases around the house.  I love mixing up pops of color or keeping it neutral with whites – the latest house blooms are white hydrangeas everywhere!

Opalhouse from Target Dining.  ICYMI; earlier this month I was swooning over Target’s newest home collection, Opalhouse.  Since I finally got my hands on a few of these beauties, I’ve become even more obsessed with the dining collection, specifically Canyon Sunrise collection.  The fun and elegant patterns are perfect for a casual setting or formal dining – and these pieces are selling out quick!  I’m looking forward to dressing up our indoor or outdoor dining room tables this summer with these new pieces.

DIY Planter Boxes.  Since we’re still figuring out our front landscape, to help add some greenery to our front porch, I really want to make some custom planters to sit on top of the walls of the porch.  It helps add privacy to the front porch, while also adding in some color and depth.  We’ll probably make three custom window boxes to sit on the ledge, and then a few taller outdoor planter boxes for larger ferns for the back patio area.

What’s the first thing you’re planning to do once the weather breaks? I am ready to get outdoors and start enjoying our outdoor living spaces!

Image Sources linked above in text.