Archive | November, 2015

The Montgomery House Playroom

Good morning!  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I’m trying to get back into the swing of things here.  Today I’m sharing another room from the Montgomery House with you.  For those of you that may be new here, this house was one of my first ever professional projects.  I finished the downstairs back in April and then shared it on the blog in a series of posts (find those here) and just recently I went back to finish the upstairs, which includes a large playroom.

This space needed to function as not only a fun place for the family’s little guy, but also provide storage for all the fun stuff, and give a comfortable spot for the grownups to hang out as well.

Playroom // The House of Figs

You might recognize those big letters?  We bought them from the same vendor in Round Top where I found the “Home” letters in my living room last spring.

Playroom // The House of Figs

They already had the couch but we got a new slipcover for it and added in lots of new pattern and texture with pillows and throws.

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And how cute is this rocking chair?  My client found this and it was a big inspiration for the entire room- kind of a modern take on an old classic.  Those stripes and that beautiful buttery leather would look amazing with just about anything!

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Library Wall // The House of Figs

Alphabet Cards // The House of Figs

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On the opposite wall, I created a little hideout/stage area from curtains hanging from the ceiling that you can see to the left here.  Behind that are a few bigger toys that can still be accessed but then also stored out of sight.  We used the train table as sort of a “coffee” table.

Playroom Chalk wall, stage // The House of Figs

The House of Figs Playroom

Playroom // The House of Figs

These are my favorite Ikea Kallax shelves– I love using them in kids’  spaces.  They’re perfect storage-books on top and bins full of toys on the bottom.

The Montgomery House Playroom

And how adorable is this little vintage table and chairs they already had?  Perfect for a little guy and all his art supplies.

Playroom // The House of Figs

This room was so much fun- lots of color, pattern, & texture- plus working with such a sweet and fun family- it’s totally the best!  Paul and I had a blast hanging out and taking these pictures.  Next week I’ll share with you the rest of the upstairs- a guest room and bathroom.

Also, I’ve got Christmas on the brain… how about you?  I’m excited to share with you some pictures and thoughts about all of that- coming soon.

As always, thanks so much for reading!

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Let’s Style Some Shelves- a Video

Shelf Styling :: The House of Figs

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and with all the things I’m thankful for, this year one of them is YOU!  I had no idea what this would turn into for me when I started this blog back in February and I’m so thankful to all of you for reading, subscribing, commenting, and just for all the encouragement along the way.

Today I’ve got an exclusive new video all about styling shelves.  My talented cinematographer husband produced it and I am really so excited with how it turned out.  I hope it will be something useful and fun for you and even if you don’t have time to change up any shelves while you’re prepping for your big dinner tomorrow, maybe it will be some inspiration for after the big day.

You can access the video by clicking here or at any time from the Video Tutorials link in the top menu. The video is for subscribers only so you will have to put in your email address to log in if you’re a subscriber or to sign up if you’re not.  You’ll find my other two videos about hanging a gallery wall there as well. It’s totally free and just means you will receive blog posts directly to your inbox.  No spam, just free and fun content that I hope will be both purposeful and beautiful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

xoxo

Bethany

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My Trip to Magnolia Market

Magnolia Market // The House of Figs

Last week a few friends and I drove up to Waco to visit the new Magnolia Market.  If you’re a Fixer Upper fan, you know what I’m talking about but if not, let me introduce you to Joanna and Chip Gaines.

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They are the stars of HGTV’s show Fixer Upper and they also happen to be from Waco, TX.  They restore old homes for their clients each week on their show- Chip is contractor/handy-man extraordinaire; Joanna is designer/decorator magnificent; and together they are just the cutest thing you ever saw.  They own their own company and store in Waco and for me its only about a two and a half hour drive.  Since they just recently opened up their new store location a few friends and I decided we make the drive for a visit!

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It was a Saturday and so it was very crowded. We had to wait in a line just to get in the store.  The line wove through a large barn full of Joanna’s favorite antiques dealers though so that was a fun diversion!

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Once inside it was still extremely crowded, but we were there to see it all, so we took our time and didn’t mind the crowds.  Everything was styled to perfection.  We came on a cold rainy day.  There was Christmas music playing and while there were still some autumn decor items available, the Christmas decor was out as well.  Here are some of my favorite scenes from the shop.

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This Christmas banner was not for sale, but I love the simplicity of it so much and have been thinking about how to recreate it!

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How gorgeous is this Christmas mantle display??

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These looked very similar to the Paper Source wrapping papers I have framed before!

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One of my favorite displays… just gorgeous…

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And then we got to meet Joanna’s mom!  She was so sweet and let us take a picture with her.

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The grounds outside the shop are gorgeous as well.  There are food trucks and picnic tables, but it was just so cold and rainy so we decided to eat elsewhere.

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 If you have no idea who Chip and JoJo are, you may be a little disappointed with how small the store is or how huge the crowd is but if you live nearby and you’re a fan of the show, I definitely recommend a trip.  It was a super fun day trip getaway for us.  I even knocked a few items off my Christmas shopping list!

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Rethinking Home: Seeing with New Eyes

This is my 6th and final post in the Rethinking Home series.  You can find the rest of the series here.  Its been a fun series for me and I hope you have found some inspiration.  

I debated on titling this post “Pinterest: Friend or Frenemy”  Have you ever felt that way? We have access to so many beautiful and perfect images of homes out there that can in some ways inspire and move us to action in our own homes.  But so often (maybe more often?) they can lead us to comparison, discouragement, and flat out resentment of the homes we have.

Pinterest : Friend or Frenemy

Now don’t get me wrong I LOVE Pinterest.  I use it all the time to find inspiration for myself and clients and I love when readers pin my images for their own inspiration!  But I’ve found the secret to using it as a tool and a friend rather than a frenemy.  In photographing my own home for this blog and for instagram I’ve learned those images are not as perfect as they seem.  There’s always some lighting tricks involved, and have you noticed they never have blinds?  There is sunlight pouring in.  You can’t see a neighbor through those windows for miles, so there’s no need for privacy.

There are also never any baby gates in sight, usually no cords anywhere either.  Everything is clean and well placed.  Even if there are toys or kitchen utensils out, it is styled to be that way.

Nothing is an accident.

I fluff my pillows when my husband does photo shoots in our house.  I style my kitchen and dining room.  I want the pictures we take to tell a story, to draw in whoever sees them.  For me it’s an art form. I want to accentuate the strengths of the room and downplay the negatives.  Cropping and photoshopping takes place.  There’s lighting involved.

But the rest of the house is often a wreck.  We take down blinds.  All of the practical stuff, like the roll of paper towels, the K-cup carousel, the baby monitor, the dirty laundry, it all gets piled up just outside of the frame of the picture.

This is behind the scenes from one of our most recent photo shoots.

This is behind the scenes from one of our most recent photo shoots.

A few weeks ago I shared some new pictures of my living room that we took.  I love those pictures and I got some great feedback on them.  Shortly after that we took some new dining room pictures too. I love doing those and it’s fun for me to see the rooms I’ve designed really shine in that way.  But in all reality, it doesn’t look like that on a day to day basis.  It has the potential to look similar to that- I’d have to rearrange the pillows, clean up a few things, open up the shades, etc, but even if I cleaned it all up and snapped a few pictures of it with my iPhone, it wouldn’t have the same effect.  There’s some camera and skill behind the lens that goes in to getting those beautiful photos.

Those photos are fun to have and to look at, but they are like glamour shots.

Living Room // The House of Figs

And now when I see all those pictures on Pinterest or in magazines, I know a little bit more of the story.  I know that it isn’t quite reality.  It’s not that they’re trying to trick us or trying to make us feel bad.  We have the choice to determine how we are going to let pictures and images affect us.  Are we going to be discouraged?  Depressed?  Or can we see with new eyes, realizing that nothing is exactly as it seems?  Can we appreciate the creativity, the details, the lighting, and accept it basically as a work of art frozen in time for that moment?  A glamor shot that can inspire us with its beauty and craftsmanship?

I’ve been on Pinterest a lot lately looking at gorgeous bathroom inspiration and I’ve noticed something about all these beautiful images.

Bathrooms on Pinterest

They whet our appetites and sometimes even stir in us a longing, a desire to fulfill something we think we are missing.  Do we think we’ll always have a happy family if we had a home that looked like that?  Do I think my bathroom would always be spotless if it was designed that way? Or that we could cook healthy and delicious meals if only we had a kitchen like that?   But these are just snapshots, just images.  Just like candy.  Or just appetizers, not the full meal.  Glamour shots aren’t the full picture.  They’re fun and pretty, they make us feel glamorous, but we can’t go around holding up feathered boas and only showing people the tops of our shoulders and talk with our lips in a glossy pout all the time.

We have to live our lives.  We want the full meal.  We want the abundant life.

That means real living, digging deep, making messes, having relationships, getting in arguments, making up.  Yeah, sometimes its a delicious home cooked meal, but then there’s the clean up afterward.  We put some music on, we have a dance party, but we’re tip toeing around the legos on the floor and there’s dishes in the sink but when we have grateful hearts and new eyes we don’t care.Legos :: Rethinking Home

When we can see those photos with new eyes, we can see our own homes with new eyes.  With gratitude for what exists- we can appreciate the artistry in our own homes and in the homes of others.  We can know that here and now is reality- this is what it means to really live in a home and give life to that beautiful picture: legos, dishes, dust bunnies and all.

Dirty Dishes :: Rethinking Home

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HandUp Global Goods Office Design

Office Design // The House of Figs

Now that I’ve shared with you about this nonprofit that has stolen my heart (missed that post?  read about it here) I wanted to show you how HandUp Global Good’s office design came together.  Here’s the original design board I created for it.

HUGG Design Board

I was going for a modern global feeling that was also light and bright.  We did make a few changes along the way that worked well for the function of the office, but I was so pleased to see how it turned out.

HUGG Office // The House of Figs

Please take note of the amazing original old wooden floors!  How gorgeous are those??  The gallery wall above the desks includes functional pieces like a dry erase board and a cork board but also some inspiration like this map of Haiti and a few prints from Lindsay Letters.  One says “Live Creatively” and another one “Be Brave.”

HUGG Office // The House of Figs

This company is giving sustainable work to former street children in Haiti that are aging out of an orphanage.  The young men are skilled artisans being paid a fair wage to make beautiful bracelets.  Read more about it (and even see a short video if you want!) on their website here.HUGG Office // The House of Figs

Everyone I know who works stateside for HUGG is incredibly passionate and has been to Haiti several times.  They know these hard working young men personally and have come to love them dearly.

HUGG Office // The House of Figs

Its been a huge blessing to me to discover this company and I knew I wanted to be involved somehow.

Office Design // The House of Figs

They don’t currently have necklaces for sale, but I have it on good authority that there are more beautiful things coming… check out this gorgeousness they have on display!

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HUGG // The House of Figs

Office Design // The House of Figs

This is a fantastic company doing great things.  Looking for some meaningful Christmas gifts that can make a difference in someone’s life this year?  Look no further than HandUp Global Goods. I’ve already been checking a few things off my list. 🙂  Happy Monday!

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5K and a Giveaway!

Updated to add: Giveaway is now closed.  Winner is @nicholeklawer.  Thank you to all who entered!!  I encourage you to consider these small businesses for your Christmas shopping this year!!!

This week on Instagram I’m celebrating a milestone of reaching 5,000 followers.  I know its not about the numbers, but having started out with zero back in February, this feels like a reason to celebrate!  My journey of blogging and ‘gramming has been so fun for me and to have “met” so many new friends and get encouraged and inspired by them everyday has just been the icing on the cake.

So to celebrate, today I’m hosting a giveaway!  All three of these companies fit in so well with the whole “beauty and purpose” thing and I’m so excited to share them with you.The House of Figs Giveaway

Especially with Christmas just around the corner, these three shops would be some great ones to remember for your shopping!  The larger print is from Naptime Diaries, which you may have heard of.  This is an 11 by 14 print of 2:Corinthians 1:20.  I just love all the color!Naptime Diaries Giveaway

Next up is a T-shirt and hand-made bracelet from a company that has completely stolen my heart, Hand Up Global Goods.  One bracelet equals one day’s fair wages for their artisans, former street children in Haiti.  The company has partnered with orphanages actively seeking sustainable solutions for teens transitioning out of their program.  The company’s story begins with 8 young men transitioning out of Grangou, an orphanage in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.  Read more about this company and see their other products on the website here.

HUGG GiveawayI absolutely LOVE this t-shirt. It is so soft and comfortable.  If you win, you get to pick your size!  And this bracelet is one of my favorites from the Hand Up site- the Akolad triple wrap.

HUGG Giveaway

Next up, a 5 x 7 print from another small business, Tone and State on etsy. Lauren makes beautiful hand lettered and modern paper goods and this is just one of her stunning pieces.  She also has gorgeous wrapping paper sets!  You’ve got to check out her  shop here.

Tone and State Giveaway

So how can you win all these hand-made and beautiful goodies?  Since its an Instagram celebration, I’m doing it all over there.  Head on over to my feed here and look for the Giveaway post to find out how to enter.

Giveaway : The House of Figs

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Rethinking Home with the Domestic Fashionista

I get so excited when I have the chance to connect with and “meet” bloggers doing great things on their blogs and in their homes.  Ashley is no exception to that.  I was first drawn to her beautiful instagram feed and quickly realized she had some great stuff happening over at her blog too that went along so well with my Rethinking Home series.  She was kind enough to let me show you some pictures of her gorgeous home and also share with us her philosophy and heart behind it all in a little interview.  So without further delay, meet the Domestic Fashionista

Hi! Tell us a little about yourself, your home, your family, and your blog!
Hi, I am Ashley and I blog over at Domestic Fashionista where I share about “creative homemaking for the modern day woman”!  My husband, Brent, and I have been married for six years where we have been living in our current home.  I work from home taking care of my two nephews and blogging.
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At Domestic Fashionista my goal is to share creative but realistic solutions for the everyday woman who desires to bring tangible beauty into their life and home.  I desire to encourage women to take care of their home in a way that is meaningful and a blessing to others.Domestic Fashionista 6
How would you describe your approach to decorating?
Over the past six years I have experienced many different approaches to decorating my home.  When we first got married I took anything that I could get for free and re-purposed it to work for our home.  Many of those side of the road and hand me down items are still in our home today even though my decorating style is completely different! Domestic Fashionista 1 I believe in having a few core neutral bones to the house – a great couch or dining table.  From there the design of my home can change with simple accessories or DIY projects without breaking the bank!  While I love to read home design blogs, I try really hard to focus in on what I specifically like and not get pulled into every new trend.
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I am currently focused on purging my home and having more minimal but large impact decor.  I found that I was tired of always tidying my home and so I have decided to pull back and have fewer items that I really love.  I am currently turning my design style towards colonial interiors.  I really love the timeless and simplistic European feel.
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You mention “life after purging” in many of your recent posts.  Tell us about that big purge- when did you do it?  What led you to it? 
I undertook a big purge this summer after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and as a result, much of my decor changed.  I was getting rid of things and moving stuff around which forced me to reevaluate everything.
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 While I did not bring anything new into my home, things started to look different.  I wanted to show what life after purging looked like – a still personal and welcoming home, just with less stuff!
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I love how you recently rethought the layout of your home and shared it on your blog.  You swapped your dining room and your living room!  Tell us about that change, what led you to make it, and how its been working for you and your family!
It seems that one thing always leads to another!  After I had new eyes for all my stuff – Do I really need this?  Is it meaningful? – I started asking similar questions about my home.  Just because the previous dining room and living room set up seemed like an obvious choice from the beginning, I started to question how they functioned.  Domestic Fashionista 4I wondered if we could be using the individual rooms more often and more efficiently if I made the change.  I was letting outside opinions and design rules I had read bout make the decisions of how I used my home.  Instead I realized that I am actually the one who gets to decide these things and I wanted my home to work for me and my unique family situation!
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Where do you like to shop for your home?
My favorite places to shop for my home are TJ-Maxx and HomeGoods.  I love that I can find quality items at a reduced cost. I also have grown fond of collecting things for my home when we travel.  Much of the art on my walls has been collected from different places we have visited and I love that it tells the story of places we have been in a fun way.Domestic Fashionista 9
Where do you find inspiration?  Other bloggers or books, etc?
I look to inspiration everywhere!  Like most women these days I love blogs, magazines, and Pinterest!  These are great for putting together design boards and focusing in on what style I am trying to achieve.  But I also take a lot of inspiration from traveling, homes in my own neighborhood, and hotels.  There is something about experiencing a space in real life versus seeing it in a photo.  Experiencing unique architecture, boutique hotels, and real life homes makes me feel something.  I take note of how beauty can wow me or how perfectly fitted sheets can feel so luxurious.  I not only want my home to be pretty, but I desire it to have a certain feeling.
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Thank you so much, Ashley!!  
Doesn’t she have a beautiful home? I love how she rethought her home to work for her and didn’t worry about anyone else’s opinion.  I also love the philosophy of not just wanting a pretty home but looking to create an authentic feeling as well.  Her big purge has me inspired, too.  I totally relate to the feeling of being tired of tidying up my home! Has anyone else read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up?  I’ve been hearing good things about it but honestly, it scares me a little, haha!
I’d love for you to leave Ashley some comment love and then go check out her blog at Domestic Fashionista
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