Archive | August, 2015

Transitioning to Fall with Pillows

Around here, its too early for fall. Even though school has started, we are still hitting high 90s every day with lots of humidity and there’s no end in sight.  But its taken me years to admit that.  When I was in elementary school, I lived in Pennsylvania, then Tennessee, then Germany (army brat, here).  So school starting meant leaves changing colors, buying new clothes like jeans and sweaters, and an actual crispness to the air.  Something like the cover of a Bernstein Bears Book and a bouquet of sharpened pencils.  Anyone know what I’m talking about?  But when I married a Houston boy and we made our home in this area, it took me a while and a lot of convincing from him that it is just not the case here. I’ve finally come to realize that no matter how early I want it to feel like its fall, it just ain’t happening until at least October, sometimes November.  I’ve finally come to terms with it.

So I don’t pull out any pumpkins or leaves, I don’t change out any wreaths yet.  But this year I made some simple changes to the pillows on my couch that made a small enough difference to satisfy my yearning for fall.

Fall Pillows // The House of Figs

No more bright colors, a little more black and white, and that golden yellow added in.  This to me is a subtle way of introducing fall without screaming fall.

How adorable is that new number 5 pillow?  That’s the only new one here, the rest I already had.  Kendra over at So Vintage Chic made it for me and is offering my readers a 20% discount for one week only with the code HOUSEOFFIGS.  How sweet is that?? She’s got some beautiful ones and I love the black and white look- so great for any season.  Graphic neutrals are my MOST favorite look.

Fall Pillows // The House of Figs

I tried it out across the room, too. Love it with my Ikea blanket!  Even if its not cold outside, I’ll snuggle up with a blanket, pillow, and a cup of coffee any time of year!

Fall Pillows // The House of Figs

Kendra’s got some beautiful and fun pillows in her shop and she’s got more than pillows, too!  T shirts, tea towels, and she’ll even do personalized and custom items and baby gifts.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

Swiss Cross Pillow Ampersand Pillow Anchor Pillow Hello Pillow

And how about these adorable superhero pillows?  A great way to give your kid a pillow he or she loves and one that you might like too. 😉

Superhero Pillows

Fall Pillows // The House of Figs

One more thing- I know I’ve shared this but I’m working on a video for my subscribers and I’m planning to release it very soon!!!  So excited.  If you’re not a subscriber, click here to sign up so you won’t miss out!  Don’t worry, I will never ever send you spam.  You’ll just be the first to know about blog posts and you’ll also get occasional exclusive material, like fun videos!

Thanks so much for reading!  Hope you find a pillow or something from Kendra that you love!

xoxo

Bethany

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Decorating with Books

Its no secret that I love to decorate with books. I’ve said it in a few different posts now- books add real life color to a room.  They don’t adhere to a color scheme, they just hold their own beauty and color (and purpose, of course too!).  They prevent a room from feeling too matchy matchy and help it to feel realistic and lived in- less like a show room and more like a home.

Apart from decorating with books I also really enjoy reading them!  I thought today I’d share with you some of my favorite books- decorating and a few others.  If you click on the link just below the covers, it will take you directly to the Amazon page where you can read more about the book, see more pictures, etc.

First up, I love to find a great decorating book.  Not only are they full of lots of eye-candy and inspiration on the inside, they also are beautifully designed on the outside and make a great piece for a coffee table, shelf, stacked under a lamp, vase, on a mantle, really anywhere. Here are my top 6 decorating books that I have in my home right now. Favorite Decorating Books : The House of Figs1. Young House Love // 2. Domino, The Book of Decorating // 3. The Perfectly Imperfect Home

4. Design Sponge at Home // 5. Decorate, 1,000 Ideas for Every Room // 6. The Nesting Place 

Here are three more that I don’t have but I just cannot wait to get my hands on.  Emily Henderson was the winner of HGTV’s Design Star several years ago and I can’t get enough of her style.  Lauren Liess, author of Habitat, is quite possibly my favorite designer.  Her style has influenced mine greatly over the years. I loved reading her blog as she was writing this book, planning the cover, coming up with the title, etc.  I am really geeking out over it, as you can probably tell, haha!  And Livable, Lovable Home is by the same authors as one of my favorites above.  They also started out as DIY and home bloggers.

Books I Want to Read : The House of Figs

1. Styled // 2. Lovable Livable Home // 3. Habitat: A Field Guide to Decorating

These next three still have quite beautiful covers but don’t have much to do with decorating.  However, they have recently influenced my views on creativity and finding my art and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them.  The first two are more current, but Gift from the Sea was written in the 50s by the wife of Charles Lindbergh.  Its quite interesting though and she has a lot of relevant things to say about making time for creativity and finding your art.  I find myself nodding my head and underlining things on almost every page.

Books I Love : The House of Figs

 1. Bread & Wine // 2. One Thousand Gifts  // 3. Gift From the Sea

So there’s my list! What about you?  Do you use books to decorate your home or just to read?  Have any to add to this list?  I’d love to hear!

xoxo

Bethany

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The Seasons of Home

I’ve been a wife for 11 years now and a mother for 7.  I know that’s not a lot compared to some, but even still, I feel like we have gone through several different seasons already.  While there are still many, many, more to come, I love reflecting back and seeing how the seasons have affected my home and my attitude towards it. We have three kids and our middle one just started Kindergarten.  So all of a sudden I find myself at home with just one little guy- and he takes a long nap in the afternoon!  Quite a change from the busy summer I had with three home all day!

The first season for me as a mom was with this little guy.  He was and is so easy going.  My days were quiet and simple.  Lots of playing on the floor with cars and trains.  Lots of Lightening McQueen and swinging on the back porch.

Nursery // The House of Figs

 Not long after came our second- a girl (they were two years apart) and I was thrown into a new season.  No more quiet; it definitely felt more like chaos. The house looked slightly like a daycare during the day. Breastfeeding and potty training were my life.  Oh yeah, and I didn’t sleep much.

Santa  This is us visiting Santa at our little tiny neighborhood library where we used to live. Both kids look thrilled, don’t they? As hard as that season was though, I look back at it so fondly now.

We moved to a new city and the kids got a little bigger, and a little more independent. A different season. You might recognize this kitchen?

Kitchen // The House of Figs

 Just as were adjusting to this new phase, along came baby number three and we decided I would homeschool our oldest.  I know that sounds crazy, but at that age, the baby was pretty laid back- plus he couldn’t go anywhere! He hung out with us in our schoolroom upstairs while I did lessons with my oldest.  My daughter played or colored or sometimes watched TV.  There were lots of Chickfila and park playdates with friends, lots of trips to the gym (I needed a break somehow!) and I’m not really sure how I did it, but I remember that year fondly as well.

Schoolroom // The House of Figs The next year my oldest started public school for first grade.  There’s a lot that went into our decision to stop homeschooling and I won’t go into all of that here.  Needless to say we prayed about it a lot and felt it was the right choice.  But what I will say is once again- new season.  I now had two at home.  I decided to do preschool at home with my daughter, which felt easier since I had done a year with my son already.  I hadn’t loved being isolated upstairs in the playroom and wanted us to be in the open downstairs, so we used the dining room for our lessons this time.  I found this old piece of a hutch in Round Top and we hung it on the wall for all of our supplies.  The dining room took on an art room/homeschool room feeling and a few days a week she and I would work on letters, numbers, and do some simple crafts.

Our House Dining Room Small_5 WM

Our House Dining Room Small_2 WM

Even the boys got into it.  And we still have this room set up like this, by the way!

artroom // The House of Figs

At this point, our upstairs schoolroom turned into more of a playroom and guest room (that’s a futon). We stuck their art on the wall like wallpaper and the other half of the room is full of toy storage.

Playroom // The House of Figs

Just this morning, we dropped off our oldest two in school.  The house is a lot quieter right now.  My day today has been so similar to what it was 7 years ago with that first little boy.  We had a playdate with some friends and then we came home and played with some cars on the floor.  I thought he might be sad to not have his brother and sister around but he seemed perfectly content (excited even) to get the toys all to himself.

Toys

I’ve got some extra time to myself in the afternoons now while he naps.  There are a few projects around the house that I’m planning to get to.  The first one involves some purging- getting rid of some of the excess and maybe trying to organize some things.  I want to go into that a little more but that will have to be a whole different blog post.

For now I just wanted to leave you with this.  What season are you in and does your home reflect that? Is your home working for you?  I’ve got bookshelves in my living room full of toys and kids books.  My home is not a show room.  Its never been in a magazine.  But yet beauty is important to me.  You knew that already if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time.  I’ve tried to strike a balance between beauty and purpose here.  Keeping my family in mind means that I design with our season of life in mind.  It works for us.  Its a balance of beauty and purpose for our family.

Thanks so much for reading!

Bethany

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Weekend Reading- Favorites from Around the Web

Happy Saturday!  We are quickly gearing up for the first day of school around here, but I thought I’d share some of my favorite links with you for your weekend reading.

I am LOVING this before and after post from Amber Interiors.  Here’s my favorite room in the house.  I love the white walls and bold rug.  That antique kilim is so cool and unique, but wouldn’t have been big enough for the space by itself.  The best solution is to layer it over a larger natural fiber rug.  I just love that look and really this whole house is so right up my alley!

Amber-Interiors-Before-and-After-Client-Double-Thumbs-up-Neustadt-28

Here’s another fun and colorful house for you.  My friend and I were recently comparing Pinterest boards- hers is FULL of color, and mine is quite neutral (surprise, surprise, ha!).  She described her style as boho-farmhouse and I just LOVE that description. I started doing a little searching and found this gem.  Click here to see the full tour. 

A-Farmhouse-with-a-Modern-Twist-14

Now, have I ever told you about my love for Lauren Liess?  She’s one of my favorite designers and her style is so unique and I feel like I can pick it out anywhere.  She and her husband are currently looking for a new home to move to and rennovate with their four children and they came across this amazing old fixer upper.  It ultimately is not going to work out for what they need but the way she describes it and the vision she has for it in this post is just inspiring!  You can see what this home was meant to be through her eyes.  I don’t think I would have the guts to take on a project like that, but there is something wonderful about bringing back to life something that was once thriving.  And how about that kids’ play castle with the working drawbridge?? My jaw dropped when I saw it.

Lauren Liess

 

Next on the list- I’ve got a gallery wall tutorial video in the works for my subscribers and I can’t wait to share it with you! In the meantime though, I am planning and hanging my stairway gallery wall (see before pictures here) and looking for beautiful and meaningful art to use.  Have you see the Naptime Diaries shop?  Every print and canvas is just stunning.  I think this one is my favorite.

Naptime Diaries Print

Do you read The Nesting Place?  She’s one of my favorite bloggers and recently moved into an old fixer upper out in the country.  Here’s a look at her boys’ bathroom before & in progress and I am just loving how it is coming along.  That mirror, the sconces, the planked ceiling!  So great.

The Nester's Bathroom

Lastly, do you listen to podcasts?  I recently discovered Jamie Ivey’s Happy Hour podcast and it is so much fun!  Each week she interviews different women- her friends, authors, bloggers, small business owners- and they talk about everything. It ranges from deep things like spiritual things, motherhood, being a wife, a believer, etc to what they’re currently reading, watching on TV, favorite brand of lip gloss, pair of shoes, everything!  Its like a fun conversation with your closest girlfriends and I end up inspired and encouraged every time.  I listen to it while I’m driving, folding laundry, whatever.  Actually the other day while my littlest was napping, I cleaned out my entire closet while listening to her most recent episode, ha!  You’ve really got to check it out.  My favorite episodes so far are the ones with Emily Lex from Jones Design Company, Jen Hatmaker, and Susie Davis.

The Happy Hour

That’s it for now. Hope you have a great weekend!  Its going to be a bit of an emotional one for us- our daughter is starting Kindergarten on Monday!  Our oldest is in second grade so it feels a little bit easier this second time around, but I think I’m still in a bit of denial and its not going to hit me until Monday morning!!  Anyone else know what I mean???  Say a prayer for me if you think about it. 😉

Thanks for reading, Happy Saturday.

xoxo

Bethany

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Art and the Holy Spirit- Making Space for Creativity

Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of FigsThis is a post I’ve been thinking about for a while now, needing to get out in words.  Do you know who was the first person in the bible to be filled with the Holy Spirit?  His name is recorded in the beginning of Exodus chapter 31.  Bezalel.  And quite simply, he was an artist. It says that he was filled “with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship to devise artistic designs…”  There were other artists, including Oholiab, also appointed and given this ability to make and create the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant, the mercy seat, and all the furnishings for the tent.  This also included creating the altar and the holy garments for Aaron, the priest.

Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of Figs

If you’re reading this I’m assuming its because you’re interested in home design.  Maybe you like to play around with decorating your own home and maybe you’re great at it. Maybe you come here for inspiration because you’re not sure what to do with your house but you’d like to do something.  Maybe you’ve found my “decorating with beauty and purpose” tagline interesting because you are a believer and you’ve felt the tension in the same way I have.  You love to enjoy beauty, but sometimes it feels a little selfish, it often costs money, and you wonder if it has a purpose.

Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of Figs

Bezalel and Oholiab had Holy Spirit inspired artistic gifts.  But couldn’t the Tabernacle have been a simple tent?  It seems possibly a much better use of resources.  Why did it need to be ornate?  Why did a skilled craftsman need to be the one?  And yet, God chose them.  Bezalel made the ark out of acacia wood.  He made lampstands out of pure gold, extremely ornate, which you can read about in Exodus 37.  The curtains were made of “fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns with cherubim skillfully worked.”

Now I’m in no way comparing my limited skills in design to the inspired skills of Bezalel and Oholiab here!  Nor am I comparing my home to the Tabernacle of the Old Testament.  But I do feel a kinship to the passion they may have felt.  Its a thrilling thing to worship the Lord through your gifts, to serve him with your talents.  Even if those talents don’t feel quite so practical as preaching and teaching.  The bible shows us we can worship him through the arts!  Is the Lord himself not the ultimate Creator?  The ultimate artist? Are we not reflecting Him when we create? I’m still working through how that looks for me.  How do I use my love and passion for design and offer it up to Him?

Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of Figs

I didn’t grow up knowing that I was an artistic person.  I’ve learned a lot of that from my husband.  He creates space for creativity.  I used to think that was a waste of his time.  What’s the point??  Its taken me years, but now I am seeing.  It can open our eyes, our hearts, and point us closer to God.  Creating a beautiful and meaningful space can be a form of worship.  Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of Figs

I want to leave you with this passage from Mark 14.  Do you remember when Mary Magdalene, who had been forgiven so much, took a jar of expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet?  Then she wiped his feet with her hair.  The bible says the house was filled with the aroma of the fragrance of the perfume.  It was an extravagant gift. But there were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and give to the poor?” Jesus said, “Leave her alone.  Why do you trouble her?  She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

This is what I think of when I think of giving myself fully to the Lord.  It means that it will not always be the “practical” thing from others’ perspectives.  Of course Jesus always cared for the poor and the marginalized; the least of these, and Mary Magdalene knew that she herself was one of these. Her response was one of of worship with abandon, beauty, and extravagance for her Lord.

So what is your “art?”  What does this look like for you?  I think for some of you, the connection between creativity and spirituality is so simple, you’ve been connecting them all your life, maybe because of your personality or the denomination you grew up in and I’d love to hear from you on this!  But are there others of you like me out there that have struggled with this?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as well!

Thanks so much for reading.

xoxo

Bethany

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My Gray Kitchen Cabinets (Before & After)

My Kitchen Before // The House of FigsFor those of you who have been reading since the beginning, this is a repeat post.  But for some reason when I transferred my blog over to the new site, my kitchen post didn’t come with it!  So feel free to skip this one over if you’ve seen it before.  Blah blah blah, painted the cabinets, changed the tile, blah blah blah. 😉

To my newer readers, welcome to my kitchen!  I am not the cook in our family.  So kitchen function matters much less to me than kitchen “pretty.” When we found this house, Paul said that the function could work for him (and the stove was gas- he was excited about that!), and while the obvious pretty factor wasn’t all there, I felt like there was definite hope for this place. The cabinets are nowhere near custom but I did love that they are tall and have some nice trim around the tops. The countertops are this pure white Corian. Maybe that is so out of style but the white is so stark they look modern to me. Then there are those big windows and the high ceilings, always a plus! We worked with what we had.

My Kitchen // The House of FigsWe put new floors in (same throughout the whole living area downstairs) and had the kitchen cabinets painted gray (my absolute faaaaaavorite color- Silver Dollar by Olympic brand). I have always wanted gray kitchen cabinets! We added the hardware ourselves. The wallpaper was removed and a subway tile backsplash added. That’s literally all we did. When the dishwasher and the oven broke a couple years later we replaced them. I’d still love to have a white refrigerator one day (one with stainless handles ?) but the black one from our old house works just fine- especially covered in my kids’ art! The faucet is asking politely to be replaced as well. All in good time! The plant and the bamboo shades add much needed texture and color.

My Kitchen // Gray Cabinets // The House of Figs

You can see a bit of the dining room peeking through there on the right.

My Kitchen // Gray Cabinets // The House of Figs

By the way, Paul took these pictures when it was about 6pm in the evening and super cloudy and dark.  He made it look like it was sunny and mid-morning and made our neighbors think we are totally crazy with the lights he had set up outside. Oh and the rest of our house was pretty much a wreck and I fed the kids peanut butter and jelly since the kitchen was being used for something other than dinner-making. Just so you know, things are not always as they appear on blogs, haha!

My Kitchen // Gray Cabinets // The House of Figs

As always, thank you so much for reading!  Sorry if this was a repeat for you.  To see more of my house, click here!

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The Beach Houses of Santa Rosa

Painted Ladies of the Beach // The House of Figs
If you follow me on instagram, you know that I spent all of last week lounging on one of the most beautiful beaches in Northwest Florida.  Aside from the two, yes two, sharks we saw, the water was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen it.  We saw dolphins playing almost every day and the water was clear, turquoise, and magnificent:  “God’s swimming pool,” as my seven year old put it.

But there’s another part of this beautiful place that I love to take in- the beach houses of Santa Rosa.  This year we rented bikes, and so one day after breakfast, Paul and I rode around and discovered a little neighborhood we hadn’t seen before.  The colors, the porches, the columns, the shutters, the boldness of it all!  No playing it safe here.  And I think its like that in a lot of beach towns.  Its just a refreshing change for me coming from suburbia where it seems like every house is the same and the neighborhood association makes sure it stays that way, thankyouverymuch.

I’ll start off with idyllic Seaside, which isn’t actually Santa Rosa beach.  But I just couldn’t resist sharing this photo of the adorable Post Office in this quaint little town.  Did you know this is where The Truman Show was filmed?  That should explain how perfectly adorable this town is.

Seaside Post Office // The House of Figs

Now here we are in Santa Rosa.  How stunning is this?  Right on the gulf and it even has its own little inlet.  I love the wrap around porch and the weathered wood contrasted with the blue paint and metal roof.
On the gulf // The House of FigsThis one was across the street from the beach, so I’m sure it’s height was built with ocean views in mind. So unique! How nice would it be to sit on that roof or balcony, sipping your morning coffee?  Porch with a View

This one has some stately charm, and even though its not the brightest shade, there’s just something about it- the double doors, the transoms, brick pavers, the columns, the lush landscaping.  I’d love to see the inside!Stately Southern

This one was mid-construction but looks to have some old charm.  I think its my favorite- the siding is a lovely shade of beachy blue, the circle windows- and those steps and that metal roof!  My heart is fluttering.beachhouse

All you color lovers will love these next three- a yellow house with blue shutters???
blueshuttersHow about this green porch with the three matching pendant lights?  I love the weathered wood flooring here.  Another mix of old and new that just gets my heart pounding.

greenporch

This one was aptly named “The Pink Flamingo.”  I’m loving the pink shutters and the green roof!pinkflamingo

These remind me a little of the Painted Ladies of San Francisco with their pastel ice cream colors.icecreamhouses

And what would a vacation post be without a few personal pictures, too?sunsetbeach

My husband and his brother are both videographers and photographers.  So what else would they craft in the sand?? 🙂

sandcastles

So perhaps our house for the week did not make my list of the most colorful and architecturally exciting.  It is painted a kind of khaki/olive green.  The inside had some nice touches but went a little too literal on the “beach house” theme.  I wish I had a picture for you, but there was a funny clock made from oyster shells so we kept referring to the time as “a half past an oyster.” 🙂

But with a view like this??  I’m certainly not complaining and already wishing I could be there again!!

view

Thank you so much for reading!  Have any plans involving a beach house this summer?  I’d love to hear!

Bethany

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