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 

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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.

DIY Dresser Makeover Inspiration

It seems like my DIY project list keeps growing, but I haven’t gotten started on any of it yet! To help get inspired – I wanted to pull some looks for a project that should be easy to check off the list, refinishing two dressers in one of our spare bedrooms.  These guys already had a face lift, which was a huge improvement, but the room has a lot of different shades of gray and I want to event that out – and these guys will be a good starting point.
DIY - Dresser Inspo - the bee life
We originally kept the handles to save on costs, but this time we will be switching out those dated handles for something a bit more sleek and modern.  I’ve got my eyes on something like these gold handles after some shopping around since hardware adds up quick, and we need 20 of these!

So now that the hardware is somewhat figured out, what color? My first inclination is to paint these white. All white everything ❤ but upon searching for some inspiration I love the subtle pops of color with the white or the mix of natural wood and white.  The room has a fun statement wall of horizontal stripes, and the headboard inspiration is also on the DIY docket to-do list, so working to keep everything consistent and complimentary is key when updating these.

Next steps are to order those knobs, then finalize the color and get to work! They’re going to need a good sanding across the board but once that is all set these will be a nice and easy makeover for this guest room – I just need it to warm up a little so I can work in our garage!

 

 

Image Sources: Top Image | Left Bottom Image | Right Bottom Image

Trend Spotlight – Opalhouse at Target

In case you’ve missed it, Target has been teasing it’s newest home decor tarcollection hitting shelves this Sunday.  Opalhouse is a full collection to help you furnish any part of your house from a stunning dinner party, to a bathroom upgrade, new bedding, bold furniture, your outdoor patio, oh… and did I mention? Wallpaper. Let me say it again… WALLPAPER! *heart-eye-emoji*
Trend Spotlight - Opalhouse - the bee life (1)
There are three styles that make up Opalhouse: Indochic, Canyon Sunrise and Mallorca.  Indochic is described as “French-Vietnamese fushion, full of elegant shapes and sophisticated jewel tones.”  Canyon Sunrise is “an organic look with eyes on southern horizon.” And finally Mallorca is “all about the black and neutrals, with contrasting colors… and intricate details.”  But I think the colors, design and patterns of the products speak for themselves, with pieces that can fit into your home without completely restyling.

These three styles are stunning and while they can certainly hold their own, also work together with the intermixing of the colors throughout. Honestly, I don’t even know where to start, I love the kitchen and dining pieces, perfect for summer dinners on the patio or a casual brunch, the bold deep velvet green pillows and fun patterned bedding give an instant retreat feel to any bedroom, oh and did I mention… the wallpaper?!?
Trend Spotlight - Opalhouse - the bee life (2)
I can’t wait to see this collection in person, I’m not one for day-of hype, but I will be taking a trip to Target on Sunday to preview everything in person and building my wish list, while trying not to fill up my cart too much.

So… get ready for some bright new colors, bold patterns and a whole lot of gorgeous coming to Target, very very soon. The collection drops THIS Sunday, April 8th. Start your wish list how and preview the full collection!

 

 

Image Source: Target.com/Opalhouse 

House Tour – Easy Easter Dining Room

Since it’s officially spring, and Easter is just around the corner – I wanted to share my spring-ready dining room, with a touch of Easter flair! I kept it a bit low-key compared to last year. House Tour - Easy Easter Dining Room
With the cold weather lingering, I’ve consistently buying fresh flowers to help warm up our home.  The flowers seem to instantly brighten up the room and I love the added touch.  The foiled gold eggs add another pop of bright colors, along with the green boxwood wreath near the windows. All the colors and warmth bring spring inside, when outside is a bit cold and grey.

What I love most about Easter decor is it is fun, playful and full of life – after all that is what the holiday is truly about!  What elements do you like to incorporate into your Easter decor?

Easter Table Decor Inspiration

With Easter being only a few weeks away, I am in need of some inspiration for an Easter ready dining room.  With last year’s table decor being full of pastels and pink, I was hoping to switch it up a bit this year!
Easter Table Decor Inspo - the bee life
What I love about these options is that they’re simple, yet colorful and classic.  They’re also low cost while still make a statement for guests without completely overpowering the entire table.

Florals. I love the idea of incorporating a single flower directly at the place setting – I think adding a small vase with water for each guest to put their flower in once they’re seated would be a fun finishing touch for this look!

Bunny Cutout. What I love most about this idea, in addition to the layering, mix of prints and colors is the simplicity of the bunny name tag. This could be easily accomplished with tracing or free hand – I even saw felt shapes at Target in Easter shapes like a bunny and egg! Perfect for this year and stocking away for next. The finishing touch of the ribbon is fun too!

Name Tag & Greenery. Another simple, low cost idea that makes a great statement is the inspiration from the stripes ‘Emma’ tag. A bundle of these tags or something similar are easily found at a number of stores, low cost and in bulk. Adding the greenery is a nice touch to make it standout and make it more that just a tag!

As I’ve said before, our dining room is one of my favorite spaces to update as the seasons change and as the holidays come and go. Although we aren’t hosting Easter this year, I like having our table set and looking great all the time – and always love new ideas and inspiration to adapt and turn into my own!

Happy Tablescaping!

 

 

 

Image Sources: Tulip | Bunny Tag | Stripes + Greens

 

Mood Board – Sally’s Living Room Makeover

So it’s taken YEARS, but I’ve finally convinced my mom (Sally) to let me help her redecorate my childhood home living room! I was the kid rearranging photo frames, cleaning up, or suggesting we spray paint the mirrors for an upgrade – also the kid who redesigned her bedroom; from picking out new floors, to determining a statement wall, a painted closet with new shelving for more organization and a custom desk designed all with the manually labor help from of course, my parents.

Needless to say, I’ve been pestering my mom about this for a loonnnggg time. I know the hurdles I’m up against – the space/layout limitations, what my mom likes, doesn’t like, how she reasons things,  pricing and when some persuading is needed.  But I’m up for the challenge, plus it’ll be fun and I’m SO excited!  So I’ve started gathering ideas and inspiration with a shared Pinterest board with my mom to get us started!
Sally's Living Room Makeover - Mood Board - the bee life
First things first, everything I’ll be pulling together will fall into the look/feel my mom wants for this space, I asked her for three words to describe the ideal feel of the space and she said: Cozy, Warm and Inviting. I’m adding a fourth one to the mix: Functional, because it’s a smaller space, the pieces need to be purposeful with more than one use! Secondly, I’m looking at this space in five sections; (1) window coverings, (2) gallery wall, (3) storage (side tables, ottoman, TV stand, etc.), (4) furniture and (5) lighting. Looking at these sections will help check the list of the look and feel AND function during the planning stages.  I’ll also be considering what current pieces can be used or revamped for use in the space.

This project won’t be done overnight, especially coordinating and making sure mom is comfortable with everything. Sally also likes to take time with her decisions especially if it comes with a heftier price tag (i.e. furniture)! So stay tuned for more updates, progress, and planning along the way, it is going to be a fun project!

 

Image Sources: Gallery Wall Inspiration| Curtains & Seating Inspiration | Chair Inspiration | Function Inspiration