Planning My Dream Living Room

My house is a constant work in progress. With my ever-so-changing ways, I’m always looking for new ideas to improve and fine tune each room using different color paints and pieces of furniture. For me, there is one room in particular that would require a larger makeover, our living room – mainly because of the layout. Don’t get me wrong, I love our current furniture, our century home built-in’s and calming color pallet. But you can always dream of better things!Living Room Inspiration - the bee lifeSources: Top Left || Top Right || Bottom Left || Bottom Right

When thinking of pulling my dream living room space together in our current house, I would first and foremost need a completely different floor plan.  Our living room is long and narrow, with two openings along the one side so it makes for limited layout options, so in order to have my dream living space, here are the 6-qualifiers that would help make my dream living room a reality;

  1. Flexible Layout: I love to rearrange furniture, so having options to move larger pieces into different spaces is key for me.  I would also love the option to be able to have multiple areas within the space, for example a more intimate/formal seating area behind the larger living space.
  2. Neutral Bases & Pops of Color: When designing a room I like to start with big, neutral pieces; like this amazing sectional I found on Arhaus (see below). These types of pieces are the perfect starting point to build from. From there I like adding in pops of color with accent pillows, rugs or lamps, because these can always be switched out!  My go-to colors are navy’s and white’s with hints pink or yellow to really highlight the neutrals.
  3. Comfy & Cozy: Since my fiance is 6’6″ finding a couch that is wide is important, this also makes for cozy family snuggles including the pup! To finish this feel, extra large and easy to grab blankets or pillows (you can never have too many pillows), in nearby baskets are a must.
  4. A Statement Piece: Like an awesome chair, a bold ottoman, or a show stopping mirror will help create a secondary focal point in the room.  This could also be accomplished by dressing up the fireplace/mantle area with those pops of color or bold accessories.
  5. Metallics & Texture:  Again, this is where the accessories come into play, whether it’s a fuzzy blanket or a fun metallic pillow, lamp, or picture frames, adding these different textures to the room creates depth and movement. And a little bit of glam.
  6. Family Photos: This is the finishing touch and a must in my book. Adding vintage and current family photos keeps loved ones close, while adding an element of history plus it’s a great conversation starter with guests. Pull this look off with a great symmetrical gallery wall or lined table or mantle filled with gold or silver frames.

Living Room Inspiration (2) - the bee lifeShop the Look: Arhaus Outerbanks Sectional, Faux Fur Throw, Arhaus Amelie Mirror, Target Deniz Side Table, Gold Frame 1, Gold Frame 2, Arhaus Velvet Pillow

My dream space would be traditional and classic, with a little bit of glam mixed in.  It would still be practical and livable, it would be inviting and cozy for friends and family to enjoy.  It would be big with lots of windows and a killer fireplace. My dream living room space would be a lot of things with killer unique and functional pieces.

Share your dream living room must-have’s in the comments below! Looking for more inspiration? Check out these other luxury living room selections from Arhaus for your dream living room!

House Tour – Backyard Patio

If you’ve been reading along, you may have gotten hints of our latest home project/renovation… our backyard patio!  This project was 100% a want on B’s end, and maybe about a 55% want on my end.  Sure I’ve wanted and dreamed about a backyard patio in our blank slate of a yard, but we’ve gone this long, so why not wait some more? But once B started getting quotes and kept moving the project forward, I jumped on board and helped from an aesthetic perspective to help pull it all together and finish it off.

The space we picked is off the back of the house, and connects seamlessly to the driveway for a universal flow for expanded living space. We’ve got plans for the house in a few of these areas so we designed with that in mind. Last summer we were looking into doing a square paver patio, but after numerous chats with family/contractors, it didn’t seem like it’d last for the price we’d have to pay. Plus it was WAY more than we were expecting at the time.  So we started exploring stamped concrete this time around figuring out textures and colors we liked.   It all came together just how we envisioned it!
House Tour - Patio(7) - the bee life

Since we only had one piece of furniture, the dining table a hand-me-down from B’s aunt & uncle (2-years ago!), we went shopping for some pieces.  We had our eye on black iron chairs that matched the table pretty well and found a similar base for the umbrella, so we were able to use the table. The dining space works out perfectly and we’ve already had a few dinners out on the patio.  The conversation set was a find that I fell in love with thanks to Emily Henderson, but luckily we were able to take advantage of some Memorial Day sales and got a great price on everything!

The last finishing touch that really pulls the space together (besides the super comfortable wide chairs – that I am OBSESSED with) are the bistro lights!  I’d bought almost half of the lights we needed when they were on sale last season for a steal of $8 each compared to $24.99 *WOW* – moral of the story, always buy more than you think you’ll need, especially if they’re $8 and you don’t have a use for them at the time!

We’ve spent so much time outside in these last few weeks now that we have this additional living space.  It was definitely worth it and I’m glad B pushed for this, because we love how it turned out and having another space to entertain in!

// Want the look?
Dining Chairs; Lowes || Outdoor Fire Pit; Lowes || Table Umbrella; Target || Umbrella Base; Target || Bistro Lights; Target || Conversation Set & Chairs; Target 

DIY – Side Entry Tile

Our latest home project was tiling our side entry and the stairs that lead up to the kitchen area.  When we first moved in, the space was drab with gross stick-on tile with wood panels and layers of wallpaper.  Well our quick fix was an easy paint job and removing the wallpaper and floor.  We painted the revealed wood floor white and added some grips on the stairs – but as you can imagine white floors for an entry is not the cleanest or the prettiest. So, like I said, it was a quick fix in need of more help.

So it was Bentley’s idea to finish this space and add tile to the landing and to the stairs. This was the first time we tiled a space, so it was a little daunting at first figuring out what we needed, what tile we wanted, and when we would be able to do this.  The biggest piece that helped save us and this project, was being able to borrow my Dad’s wet saw to cut the tiles. B and I split up tasks, he would cut the tile and I would lay the tile!

The stairs went surprisingly well, but because we used large tiles there was a lot of cuts involved, although less pieces. I’m not sure if the stone we picked was the most cost effective (actually I am fairly confident it wasn’t) but we were going mainly off of aesthetic. Once we got to the platform it was very messy and hard to maneuver in the tight space without stepping on the tile! But we finished with only three trips to the hardware store once we got started. *smiles*

We waited the appropriate amount of time and then some before B finished the space with the grout and once that was dried he added some trim work. We finished off the space with a new storage piece to hide shoes and we were wrapped up!  It was fairly easy project once we got going, and we definitely feel like we’re tiling pros now.  This space has been instantly upgraded, it’s more durable, weather resistant and easier to clean up. We love how it turned out!!

5 Rules for Decorating

As I was helping out a friend with some design ideas for her new home, her blank slate, I kept stopping to think of how I could make it as easy as possible for her.  I wanted to sum it up with general, yet specific ‘rules’ to help her as she starts looking and finding pieces for her space.  decorating-rules_the-bee-lifeRule #1: Don’t Rush This might actually be the hardest part.  As a new homeowner your eager to finish rooms and make them feel like you’ve lived in them for 10-years. But the truth is, it takes time and you just need to live in the space to see how you’ll be utilizing it, keeping it functional and practical yet high-end and beautiful.

Rule #2: Multi-Functional Pieces  I like to buy pieces that might be able to work in multiple spaces throughout the house. Personally, I like to rearrange and switch things up every now again, and sometimes that’s with accessories, rugs, or pictures.  Also, if it’s a little more pricey piece, like a rug consider if it’s neutral enough to switch it up, in case you ever decide to paint that room in the future.

Rule #3: Consistency & Flow  It’s okay to have similar pieces in different rooms, whether it be white matte frames, mirrors, or the same color pallets. This creates a consistency and flow to your house, keeping the spaces connected and inviting.  This also will most likely help with those multi-functional pieces and allowing them to work within different spaces throughout your home.

Rule #4: Save & Splurge If your working on a room, look for places where you want to splurge and areas you can save.  This will not only keep you on budget, but will also let your dreams become a reality a bit quicker.  Of course we all want a fully furnished Pottery Barn living room, but sometimes we have to be realistic – and for those with the fully furnished PB room, brava! Be realistic in both areas when you’ll need to shell out some more pennies, or when you can bargain shop and save.
Areas to splurge: curtains, rugs and chairs.
Areas to save: side tables, bedding, accessories/frames

Rule #5: Find Inspiration If you have no clue how you want to decorate, the best way I think, to gain inspiration, is Pinterest! Even if it’s just general searches and scrolling through; “living room” or “side table DIY” you can gain inspiration or maybe find an idea you hadn’t thought about before.  Also, if your fixated on a piece, but it’s a bit out of your price range – try finding a DIY version!

Have decorating questions or want more tips? Comment below or ping me on social @mmariebee!

Spare Bedroom – Makeover

I must admit, I’ve had some major writers block on top of feeling uninspired.  Then I realized I should share my latest obsession aka inspiration – our impromptu spare bedroom makeover! It started this past Friday, after a crazy week back to work, a stiff drink, and a few scrolls through Pinterest, I thought out loud to B; “Let’s paint the yellow room.” And B’s response was; “pick a color” – gosh I love him.

Of course, I had a color in mind, so we went to Lowe’s on Saturday, found the color, bought the paint, oh and another can for a different impromptu project and got right to work once we got home. This of course has spiraled into a full room makeover, remodeling some old and buying some new.  *grins*

I’m going for something chic, classic and colorful. My goal is not to rush this and look for solid pieces and see what works in the space as I add in curtains, bedding and DIY’d furniture.

Can’t wait to share our first house project of 2017!

Inspiration sources can be found here

House Tour – Our Christmas

Eleven more days until Christmas! Our house is full decked out and ready for the holidays, it’s cozy and festive… I may be a bit biased, but I’m in love.

With this being the third Christmas at our house (wow!), I’ve definitely continued to perfect the finishing touches but also try a few new things! This year I took to Pinterest for some new ideas, specifically for our front door and dining room centerpiece. I looked for ideas that I could use preexisting pieces/decor but also be able to put my finishing touches on them!

Front Door: We amped up the front door to really make a statement, now that we have a full glass storm door, we can fully utilize all the real estate.  I’ve mentioned this many times, but your exterior of your home is the first impression guests receive, so why not make a statement?

My hack was to use wire to connect the three wreaths together, and then wrap the ribbon around to cover it up.  I probably spent $10 for the berries to add into the greens and the ribbon (sale at Joann’s!). I already had the wreaths, door hanger and wire.  I just hot glued the ribbon on the door hanger to make the ribbon look continuous! I love how the red pops on our blue door.
front-door_3front-door_1Dining Room Centerpiece: I wanted to switch up the centerpiece, since as much as I loved last year’s centerpiece it wasn’t conducive for entertaining with friends and family.  I often had to move it for space or take certain parts out of it.  I needed something a little more low maintenance, less intrusive and easy to move. I saw some inspiration on pinterest with a wooden box and since we found one when we first moved in (under our front porch of course), it was the perfect idea.  I used greens from the Christmas tree farm and just had to buy the candles. I added in some color and it’s completely portable if we need to move for a game night, dinner or cookie baking!
dining-room_1
dining-room_2I definitely got my “Martha Stewart” on and love the way these two spaces turned out! Everything I got too can be reused or altered next year – which would be my second hack for all of you is to think of DIY/Pinterest solutions that work multiple years, aren’t too trendy.

Our Master Reveal

The time is finally here!! Our master bedroom reveal!

For those who didn’t follow along on my 8-months worth of updates throughout last year… It all started with our attic, even though it was a ‘finished’ space, it was poorly done.  It’s open feel, large bright windows, closet space and size made this an instant dream master retreat.  Since B is so tall, we ended up raising the ceiling 6-inches, but that basically became a complete gut job down to the studs. This wasn’t part of the original plan – but we ended up doing new electric, new insulation, new drywall, new blinds, closet doors, new everything – and B did 97.9% of it! This was definitely our biggest house project to date.

So without further ado here is our awesome master retreat including the seating area and my two closets, yes two, one for clothes, one for accessories. *grins* We’ve tried to DIY and make as much as possible, including the headboard, curtain rods, barn door, DIY night stands and reading table, painted and redid the dresser and shopped smart for other accessories but splurged on a few items like the fireplace, rugs and our chairs.

master-reveal-the-bee-life-10master-reveal-the-bee-life-6The black frames next to the bed hold the love letter B wrote and proposed to me with. It’s the perfect addition to the room and show casing that instead of hiding it in a box somewhere. We also tried to keep some of the original wood work, especially on the stair railing coming up, but opened it to give an open feel.

I had full intentions of sharing the closet space with B, but he insisted I use both of the closets upstairs (don’t worry he has two-closets on the second floor). So I kindly thanked him and told him he was creating a monster and then proceeded to work on creating my dream <organized> closets.

We would both be lying if we didn’t say we were proud of the way this turned out. It was everything we imagined and more and I love having our own little getaway from the rest of the house and world (Moz really loves it too!)

Go Us!

Front Porch Decor Tips for Fall

Since this past Thursday was the official kickoff to fall, and the fact we’re coming off a beautiful fall weekend, I’m ready to start accepting everything fall.  One place that you can really make a statement for fall is your front porch/entryway; and this can be accomplished simple or on a more grand scale.  Here is some inspiration along with key pieces and tips to consider as you put your fall front porch together!

Inspiration:

First You’ll Want to Determine:

  1. Your color pallet – if you want to go with the deep oranges, reds, and yellows or if you want to keep it simple with white pumpkins and pops of one color.
  2. If you’re going to keep it simple and understated or if you’re going all out.
  3. Halloween specific or fall; personally I learn towards for fall since this will last you up until your pulling our your Christmas decorations. Halloween only lasts a month. CONSIDER:  If you’re leaning towards Halloween, because you have kids or are hosting a killer party, think of ways to switch out key pieces after the 31st so that you can keep it up through Thanksgiving.

Key Pieces:

  • Pumpkins/Gords
  • A sign or focal point
  • Mums – remember your color pallet!
  • Lanterns
  • Wooden crate or old windows

And wah-la! You should have a fabulous, inviting front porch for the next 2-months! I still need to finish a few DIY’s and crafts, but I’ll share my finished front porch here in the next few weeks.

Share your fall front porches in the comments below or tag me on social media @mmariebee. 

Latest Obsessions: Pillows

So lately I have been completely obsessed with PILLOWS! I want soooo many pillows. All of a sudden there is about 5-places in the house that I could name that need pillows to add that extra finished and cozy look. The dining room built-in bench, the bay window in the staircase, the office, the master and the spare daybed… not to mention the living room pillows could use a freshen up… shall I go on? I have literally been scrolling through screens and screens of pillows, hitting the ‘Add to Cart’ button, until I reach the end, check out my chart (because they all seemed like such a great deal) and it’s $150+ … click “save for later”repeat x5. *smiles*Latest Obsessions - Pillows - Neutrals 01 | 02 | 03 | 04

Pillows are the perfect way to spice up a room and add some extra flair without needing to refurnish the entire place. Pillows can also help personalize a space; whether it’s with a state, zip code, or even this fun bee pillow by French Laundry (above) – I’m obsessed!  The other thing I love about pillows is that they can add a level of subtlety when you mix a few patterns or fabrics correctly.  Pillows add a level of cozy and warmth to a space and can be the key finishing pieces, without you knowing! 

The other key to pulling in pillows and buying them is getting different shapes, large square pillows, long horizontal pillows or even larger body pillows to help build the space, (for example normal bed turned daybed).  Having different sizes also creates depth and dimension to your space making the space look larger and more plush than it might be.

Latest Obsessions - Pillows - Blues04 | 05 | 06 | 07

My go-to stores for pillows as you can probably tell if you’re checking out the links throughout are; Target (duh), Marshalls/T.J. Maxx (double-duh), Pier 1, Pottery Barn and Society 6. Although I usually start in the clearance sections first – because you can’t beat a good deal, especially if you’re using the pillows as updates to the space and are more likely to switch them out more frequently.  And as excited as I get about a pillow, I like to wait to see if my initial gut reaction of LOVE, is still LOVE after I see it again in the line-up of a gillion pillows. I also can’t usually resist a good 2-pack of pillows especially if they’re essentially the price of one, it’s a win-win!

Latest Obsessions - Pillows - Color                                                                                  08 | 09 | 10 | 11

What’re your favorite spots to get pillows?  Do you have any pillow rules? I’ve slowly started ordering a few here and there for the spaces I mentioned above. Yay!! 

For the love of pillows,