House Tour: Back Patio 2.0

In my July latest obsessions, I was gushing over our outdoor living space and back patio. Well it’s been two years since we first created this space and shared the initial reveal – but I don’t believe I ever shared the before pictures *shocked face* so on this house tour, I’m going to share a few befores of the space and where it is today.  Every year it changes a little bit – last year we added more furniture for company, the plants and greenery change each year, and the bistro light pattern gets mixed up too. This year we even rotated the dining table, I know – HUGE changes. *teasing*

The Furniture: We still love the furniture we got from Target and always keep our eye on the summer sales to see if there are any new pieces we want, or if we are ready to upgrade the dining set with one that matches our furniture. I was tempted, B however was not on board after he saw the price (boo!) – B has ulterior motives and wants the Fernhill Metal sofa, so that he can fit more comfortable for afternoon naps.  We also want to get another umbrella to have for our seating area, as the afternoons around 3-4pm is prime sunshine time, so it gets pretty toasty (and a little unbearable to be honest) which will be functional and pretty.

Color Scheme:  I’ve tried to stick pretty close to black and white to compliment the patio furniture – and I am sure you’re thinking, white cushions for outside?! They’ve lasted pretty great and came with Scotch Guard on them, and I recently learned you can buy Scotch Guard and reapply annually, so these beauties are getting a fresh coat so they can last! I’ve added in pops of green this year with the fun banana leave Tommy Bahama pillows from TJMaxx online (which are 50% off from what I got them for!). And splurge on the black and white pillows and chair cushions for the dining area last summer time.
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Stamped Concrete: When we were discussing our patio, we were gun-hoe on pavers, but after research in materials and then even discussing with family friends that pavers didn’t hold up as well. So we started looking more into stamped concrete and determined that was a more sustainable investment for our space, plus we had a little more customization options – we were super happy with the way it came out!

Gas Fireplace: This was another must-have on my list, as I HATE the smell of bon fires and smelling like them at the end of the night — this is the perfect central spot for heat, roasting marshmallows or even just a drink holder when the fire isn’t on. We didn’t want anything too big and something a bit more natural looking.  I also love the lanterns scattered throughout the space to give it a homey feel – especially at night it has quite the ambiance.

House Tour - Patio (4)We were able to completely transform a somewhat awkward nook and blank space in our backyard to a functional outdoor living space with living and dining space. It gives us the right amount of privacy, while still being open to the rest of the backyard.  Eventually we want to close off the small back porch to be all kitchen and would put a sliding door in where the window is in that back nook area – yes always planning for the next project.

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Easy Home Decor: One Banner, Three Ways

It’s no secret I love being festive for the various holidays that come throughout the year – and during the summer that is no exception, except I’m a little lazier and lean on the American flag to help get me through from Memorial Day to Fourth of July to Labor Day.  Last year I scored some discounted American flag banners and have had fun using them differently throughout the year to help mix-up my indoor and outdoor decor.

I wanted to share some inspiration on how you can use one banner three different ways throughout your home to help switch up your decor each year/holiday without needing to buy more pieces!  A banner and even a wreath is a classic piece that can be mixed up and hung in conventional and nonconventional places…

Front Porch: For some added red-white-blue love, I hung these banners across the front of our front porch railing. This is a little pop to accent our American flag and front door decor especially through our front landscape. Disclaimer – I do have two of these banners, so this is the only spot where I felt like one banner just didn’t cut it based on the length of the porch rail.

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5 Keepsakes to Incorporate Into Your Home Decor

When I decorate our home, I really try to incorporate personalized touches to each room vs. stock art or random pieces.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love some good stock canvas from Marshall’s but they have their time and place! So if you’re working to figure out ways to incorporate some personal touches and sentimental pieces into your home, here are a few of my go-to pieces I like to decorate with.

1. A Love Letter.  B purposed to be with a long two-page love letter – it was so thoughtful and special, I didn’t want to shove it into a box and find it years later.  So I found these two great matted frames from Marshall’s and framed the love letter – it hangs next to our bed and is one of my favorite parts of our master.

2. Vintage Family Photos.  We have these all around our house! From our gallery wall in our living room, to our built-in’s, dining room and even bedrooms, family photos are a great way to remember loved one’s past and hold onto family legacies’.  I borrowed family albums and made my own copies so I could have my own keepsakes – it was quite the process, but so worth it! Keepsakes - the bee life (1)3. Wedding Invitation or Keepsake.  We had a special map made that we put in our hotel welcome bags for all of our guests – this was one of my favorite pieces so again, I didn’t want to put this in a box and forget about it.  We have this framed in our bedroom as a fun keepsake – this would also be a fun idea for your wedding invites, save the date or other important announcements that are  a little extra special!

4. Old House Numbers.  Our house had ceramic house numbers that probably had some years with them, being our house is over a hundred years old.  I loved the ceramic numbers, but they were small and hard to read from the road – wanting to keep this momentum around I did a DIY with some frames that were left at the house by spray painting the frame, used some scrapbook paper as a background and framed the numbers.  This hangs in our entrance and I love it!

5. Vacation Photos.  I love picking one or two of my favorite photos from a recent trip and working to incorporate those into the house in various spaces or switching out the previous trip picture.  That way the memories are current, and when you go to switch out your picture you’ll see all the previous memories stacked (that’s one of my favorite parts!)  Keepsakes - the bee life (2)
Since our house has a lot of character and charm, I like to add modern pieces while complimenting the modern touches with a little added complimentary charm by incorporating these more personalized pieces that happen to be keepsakes from our family and the history of our home.  Depending on what keepsake you’re incorporating into your home, going the custom framing route is another way to really make this a show stopper and unique piece for your home!

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Trend Spotlight – Opalhouse Spring 2019

Opalhouse joined the Target home decor collections last spring – which I was a tad obsessed with, as they introduced bold colors with fun patterns and a unique offering of styles for everyone to love.  Low and behold, I was happy to see Opalhouse stay through the holiday season with it’s own offering of stunning pieces like this gold leaf & berry (which can still be purchased for a steal of $6.49!) or simplistic red polka pillow with it’s accompanying fa la la pieces — so I had a feeling some more beautiful things were on the horizon!

Thus, the Opalhouse Spring collection (as I’m calling it) is starting to creep it’s way onto shelves and into the cyber shopping charts – with vintage floral patterns, stunning gold terrariums, natural woven baskets with a hint of fringe and woven pillows with bright colors – I’m swooning again!  The floral patterns give me a tingle of a reminder back to some of my grandma’s old dishes/home decor – especially the Apple Woven blanket below! I’ve also noticed they have a ton of new outdoor/patio decor available for shopping too… oh patio season, where are you?
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Shop the pieces:  36″ x 10″ Brass & Glass Parasol Terrarium | 10″ x 6.4″ Brass & Glass Parasol TerrariumLumbar Chunky Woven Outdoor Pillow | Floral Doormat Natural Green | Blush Table Runner by Opalhouse | Apple Woven Throw Blanket Gold |Water Hyacinth Fringe Oval Basket Natural |Multi Floral Print Reverse to Velvet Oversize Square Throw Pillow 

So with this small tease, I can’t wait to see what other pieces drop into the Opalhouse collection.  I’m wanting more outdoor dining pieces, like new patterned plates and some new peel and stick wallpaper options, too!  You’ll be seeing plenty more of the Opalhouse collection on the bee life this year.

Happy Shopping!

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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.
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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.
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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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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.
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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!
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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 – Easter Dining Room

Happy Easter, my friends… well almost! With the holiday quickly approaching, on this house tour I wanted to share our dinning room, all decorated and ready for a cozy Easter meal. It was nice to soften up the room with pastels and floral prints, our head-chairs aren’t enough some times! Not to mention the afternoon light was shining into the room so perfectly after a rainy morning – I couldn’t pass up a little photo shoot.
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I pulled this look together with a lot of existing pieces already in stock.  The only new additions were the white bunny with gold ears, her friend is on our mantle, and the Happy Easter napkins that I  snagged from Marshall’s. I wanted to keep this simple, classic and bright through the use of the pastels and then the white and gold to tie the whole look together.

Happy Easter!

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