Tag Archives | mantle decorating

A Modern Farmhouse Bathroom & Guestroom {The Montgomery House}

Last week I shared with you the Montgomery house playroom that I designed (and you can also read a little of the backstory there on the Montgomery house if you’re new around here).

Today, its on to the rest of the upstairs!

The Montgomery House - Upstairs Bathroom WM 1

Just like the rest of the home, I was going for a modern farmhouse feeling.  The cabinets are painted Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and the walls are Olympic’s Silver Dollar.  You can read more about my favorite neutral paint colors here.  We went with simple shaker style cabinets and a mirror with a reclaimed wood look.

Modern Farmhouse Bathroom

Modern Farmhouse Bathroom

You can just barely make out the shower in the mirror above but below are the tile finishes- the white is inside the shower, the black is the rest of the bathroom floor.

Modern Farmhouse Bathroom Tile

The guest room is small and simple, so we wanted to keep it open and fresh- with lots of room for guests and their luggage.  It’s painted the same Silver Dollar as the rest of the house.  My client has a collection of old hand me down quilts and we used one in here on an iron bed frame with simple white sheets and pillow shams.

The Montgomery House - Upstairs Guest Room WM 5

The bamboo shades and collection of baskets on the wall give texture and warmth to the room.

The Montgomery House - Upstairs Guest Room WM 3

We found this fun piece at Homegoods and since it’s a small room, I decided to hang it on the wall instead of using a second nightstand.  For a small guest room it works great as a place for a clock and a few display items.

The Montgomery House - Upstairs Guest Room WM 1

The Montgomery House - Upstairs Guest Room WM 4

This was an amazing house for me to work on, you can see the rest of it here.  I had so much fun with these clients (and friends) and it was even more fun going back on two different occasions for photo shoots with Paul.   He really does make my work come to life in a way that I could never share with you otherwise!

Thanks so much for reading!!  Be sure to check back in on Wednesday for my Christmas home tour!!

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Living Room Tour

I realized I hadn’t really shown you my living room since we made a few updates to it, so today I’m sharing new pictures (along with sources at the end of the post).

Living Room // The House of Figs

The major update is that we sold our round ottoman (see the old pictures here) and replaced it with an actual coffee table.

Living Room // The House of Figs

We loved the ottoman and it was great for when we had littler kids but we had been wanting more space for drinks and books, especially because there really isn’t room for end tables with the sectional.  Also, our older kids are at the age where they like to play games and color in here.  Its been nice to be able to accommodate that now!

Home // The House of Figs

I purged some of the books and rearranged just a few things on the bookshelves.  The bottom few shelves house kids toys and books in baskets and bins.  I love having toy storage in the living room.  More on that later this week.

Bookshelves // The House of Figs

Even though I don’t really do seasonal decorating, I did find a few branches I liked at Hobby Lobby and those pumpkins on the mantle are real ones from the grocery store.  A few of the pillow covers have been changed out too to add to a cozier fall-ish feeling (the weather here in TX is finally starting to match too, hooray!)

Living Room // The House of Figs

Like I shared in this post, I brought down the ottoman from our youngest son’s room and I love having it in here now.  I keep that little side table empty.  Its so nice to have empty space, its just inviting.

Living Room // The House of Figs

Have I mentioned there used to be a window over the fireplace?  That was weird, you can read about that here.

Here are a few of the sources for the room:

Wall color: Olympic Willow Springs

Mantle color: Olympic Silver Dollar

HOME letters: Found in Round Top, TX

Bookshelves: Ikea Hemnes

Coffee Table & white lacquered tray: West Elm

Pouf: Amazon

Curtains: Ikea Ritva

Black & White pillow & blanket: Ikea

Roman Shades: Select Blinds

Gray Chair: Ikea

Rug: Rugs Usa

So that’s it for the living room!  One quick little fun thing… I’ve just recently joined Periscope and yesterday afternoon as Paul was taking these pictures I did a quick little broadcast of behind the scenes of the shoot.  Find me by searching for @thehouseoffigs!  The broadcast is still available for 24 hours after its created.  My camera work was a little shaky- sorry about that.  Still figuring the whole thing out. Are any of you on Periscope?  Come find me!!



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How I Used Chalk Paint to Update my Banister

I’ve gotten some questions about my banister recently.  I mentioned it briefly in this post about my favorite paint colors and you can also see it here in the post about my art nook but I thought I’d share a little more today about how I actually painted it.

I hated our banister color.  It was this orangey oak.  Here’s the best before picture I could find, I know its small and grainy, but at least you can see the color. bannister before

The thought of sanding and priming all of that sounded awful to me though. All those curves and angles, just ugh!!  I know, I’m totally whining.  Whenever Paul or I get whiny about something that truly doesn’t matter in life we quote a line from You’ve Got Mail to one another.  Its from that scene where they’re stuck in the elevator and think they may never get out. Everyone is sharing deep moments from their hearts and Parker Posey’s character is digging through her purse and exclaims, “Ugh! I can’t find my tic-tacs!”

You've Got Mail So yeah, I had a “can’t find my tic-tacs” moment about the banisters.

And its because I know it isn’t something that matters that much in the history of my life and it also isn’t something I wanted to invest that much time or money on.

So here enters chalk paint.  It requires no sanding or priming.  Oh, and apparently you can make it yourself pretty easily and cheaply. Perfect!

Chalk Paint :: The House of Figs

I am totally not a DIYer as you may have discovered from this blog.  I don’t really do crafts and we hire out when jobs are too big for us.  But like I’ve already said, this wasn’t really something I wanted to spend lots of money or time on, so I just did a quick google search and found a great and inexpensive recipe for chalk paint.

That was all I needed to give it a go.  You can’t really ruin something you already can’t stand, right? So here’s the recipe I used:

2 parts paint plus 1 part calcium carbonate

I ordered this Calcium Carbonate on Amazon and it has lasted me for a LONG time.  I think I used around a cup of paint for the entire bannister.  The color is my favorite gray, Olympic’s Silver Dollar.  Now just a little warning, from what I understand, this recipe is not the greatest when you are planning to do distressing.  I knew I wanted a clean and modern look so I wasn’t concerned about that.  See other recipes for making your own chalk paint here.

Chalk Paint Bannister :: The House of Figs

I didn’t use a different brush or anything, just a regular old paint brush. I had to do a couple of coats, and did end up needing to put little circles of tape on all the white spindles (ugh!!) but it was worth it in the end.  No sanding, no priming.

After painting, I wanted it to be super durable, so I covered it with a couple coats of a satin polycrylic.  This is similar to a polyurethane but its waterbased so it doesn’t change the color at all and it gives it a nice sheen and protective coating.  We’ve had it this way for over a year and it has held up nicely.


After doing the bannister, I loved it so much that I decided to do it on my mantle as well! It only took one coat because it was already white.

Mantle with Chalk Paint :: The House of Figs

Wall color:  Olympic’s Willow Springs, Mantle & banister color:  Olympic’s Silver Dollar

Fall Mantle: The House of Figs

So there you have it, pretty easy and super cheap update to that old orangey-oak banister wood.  Have you ever used chalk paint on anything in your home?

Thanks so much for reading!



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Three Things I’m Loving Right Now

Each week on my favorite podcast, Jamie Ivey’s Happy Hour, she asks her guests what three things they are loving right now.  Every time I listen, I think, “How would I answer that question?”  Well, today, I thought I would share.

  1. To begin, have you ever followed Young House Love?  They were some of the earliest home & DIY bloggers, their newest book (Lovable, Livable Home) came out recently, and they also just updated their website (which is huge if you follow them because they quit blogging about a year ago!!) Well, they have a new video spoof on their website and as a fan of both Young House Love and Real Housewives, it makes the top of my list. I give you The Young Houseloves of D.I.Y….

2. The latest issue of Better Homes & Gardens.  I mean, just this beautiful cover alone is enough to make me want to paint something in my house this gorgeous deep teal color.

BHG :: The House of Figs

 And then on the inside, an entire home designed by my favorite, Lauren Liess.


There are way more pictures on her blog and in the magazine.  She does such a mix of traditional and modern and she uses so many organic elements.  I love the layered rugs and the use of blue in this home too, my favorite color.

 Also, in this same issue (I promise I’m not getting paid to sell this magazine to you, haha!) we get a peek inside the home of Jessica Honegger, CEO of Noonday Collection.  Do you know about Noonday?  Its one of my favorite places to shop for jewelry.  You can check it out here. Very cool to see her eclectic and globally inspired home in the pages of such a popular magazine!

Noonday :: The House of Figs

(And by the way, that’s a Noonday bracelet I’m wearing!)

3.  Tissue paper banners. After my confession last week about how much I dislike seasonal and temporary decorating, I have another confession to make.  I was actually in the middle of creating a tissue paper banner for a baby shower I was hosting.  It took hours and I almost quit because as I made each individual tassel, I was thinking to myself, “this is going to look awful.”  But when I finished and put them all together?  It was like magic and I think I am in love!  This one went home with the mommy, but I really think I might start making these for all parties, seasons, and occasions, I am just so in love with it, ha!   Definitely worth the time it took for me.

Tissue Paper Banner :: The House of Figs

I layered this striped paper banner from Target over it.  That part of it is not hand made though I did stamp the baby’s name on it.

Banner :: The House of Figs

You can find the tutorial I used for the banner here.


(this image from Linen, Lace, & Love)

So there you have it, three things I’m loving right now!  Want to play along?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments!  Anything you’re loving right now that you’d like to share? It can be totally random like mine, ranging from your favorite lipstick or pair of jeans to a book you’ve read recently or a favorite blog.  What are you loving right now?

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Learning To Do Your Thing

There’s something I have learned in my 30s that the high school version of myself wishes she would have learned a LONG time ago.  It still takes some reminding now and then, but I’ve learned that it covers many areas of my life- decorating, fashion, politics, marriage, raising children, etc.


photo source

Its that age old expression:  “You do your thing, I’ll do mine.”  I’m sure that was carved on a cave somewhere, right?

Since this is mostly a decorating blog, I’m focusing on how this applies to your home, but you’ll see how the application is a wide one.  In a lot of ways, the design world can make us feel trapped by rules.  You must have this certain size rug, you must have this many throw pillows.  No more than this many colors in your palette, no less than this many lemons in the bowl. You must have this much money or this brand new whatever to have a beautiful home.

So we end up feeling paralyzed, stuck, unable to make decisions for fear of breaking these rules that “those designers” will arrest us for.

While it is true that there are certain, we’ll call them “guidelines,” that lend themselves aesthetically to the home, the only way for you to discover how pleasing or unpleasing these guidelines are to your own eyes and in your own home are for you to try them out.  In your own home.  It takes some experimentation. It takes a starting point.

Choose a color and paint that wall.  Hang up those darn pictures that have been sitting there for 6 months.  A year?  Make a few extra nail holes.  Okay, twenty extra nail holes. Go buy a curtain rod and hang up those curtains.

What is it you’ve been putting off because you’re afraid of making a mistake?  You’re afraid those designer police will arrest you? I’ll let you in on a secret- they don’t exist.  Haha!  But you’re smart- you knew all along, didn’t you? So take the risk you’ve been waiting for.  What’s the worst that could happen?  You don’t like it and you spent a few hours of your life painting or hanging up pictures.  It wasn’t time wasted, it was time spent learning about your likes & dislikes- your personal style.  Learn from what you didn’t like and move on- find what you do like.

There Are No Mistakes

Found on Society 6

When you’re shopping for things for your home, come focused with pictures of your home, measurements, maybe inspiration pictures from Pinterest or blogs.  Even I get distracted in places like HomeGoods, Target, Hobby Lobby, and Round Top (where I’m headed this weekend!).  There are so many pretty things and I could end up with a cart full that I don’t actually need or have a place for.  Save receipts so you can try it out if you’re unsure.

Find that you’re buying too many small tchockes to compensate for a large space you don’t know how to fill?  Return them or sell it all and save up for that nice larger piece you really wish you had.

Really the whole point here is just do your thing!  It takes time and practice along with experimentation to learn what your style is. Don’t worry about trends or what everyone on Pinterest or Instagram is doing.  You do you.  Shouldn’t your home be the one place where you are the most comfortable to be yourself?  The place you are free to experiment in and try new things? Let it be your style lab- curating and collecting the things that make up you and your family.

This very likely will mean getting rid of those things that are not working for you and your family.  Just the other day I revealed over on Instagram that I do not enjoy seasonal decorating.  Its taken me a while to admit that to myself, but over the years I have found that any decorating I know will only be temporary I really don’t have the energy for.   We have balloons and a store bought banner that comes out for birthday parties. My fall decor includes a few real pumpkins and some branches I found at Hobby Lobby.  I used to think I needed to have boxes and bins of stuff but I realized I dreaded setting it all up and it made me feel stressed.  Last year was the first year I trimmed down our Christmas decor and only put up a tree, plus let the kids decorate small trees in their rooms.  What a relief it was to finally realize this is how I like to do it.  I found freedom in realizing I could just be me and that I could finally get rid of the seasonal decorative stuff that was stressing me out.

Fall Decor :: The House of Figs

Side note here: this doesn’t mean I judge others who enjoy seasonal or birthday party decorating.  If you enjoy it- its your thing!  I can now appreciate what others do without bitterness or thinking “Wow, they have too much time on their hands” because I know that its something they love.  I spend my time in other ways, clearly, like hanging gallery walls and making videos of them, ha!  Can’t we all just be free to do our own thing?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Anyone needing to hear this today? What have you been putting off that you could do today or this weekend? Any purging that needs to happen?

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Decorating with Books Part Two

A couple weeks ago I shared a post on decorating with books along with links to some of my favorite ones.  You can find that here. This week I wanted to show you some of my favorite ways to use them!

There is of course, the bookcase approach.  I’ve got some books lined up traditionally and some stacked horizontally.  They are not arranged by color but by subject because that’s just natural and useful for us. Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

These are floating shelves above the desk in our bedroom.

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

This stunning photo was featured in Better Homes and Gardens and is from Edie at Life In Grace.  I love her use of books and color throughout her home!

Decorating with Books / The House of Figs

Below is from the little boy’s room in The Montgomery House I worked on several months ago.

The thing about books is they don’t stick to a color scheme.  They provide un-matching and natural color to a room that makes it come alive. If you love to read, don’t feel like you have to hide your books!

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

This one is from my youngest son’s nursery.

Nursery // The House of Figs

I think my philosophy about books can be said of anything you love, really.  Decorate your home with the things you love and it will fall into place.  Don’t feel like you have to stick to what is trendy or what belongs in a certain style or color scheme.  Use things you love, things that you collect, things you are drawn to.  This is what gives a home its unique and lived in feel and what separates it from a showroom or catalog that has no character or life.

How gorgeous and unique are these children’s classics?  I think I’d like to start a collection of them.

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

Another place I like to use books?  Underneath lamps.  It seems I can never get a lamp tall enough.

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

Books on coffee tables- love!  Right now we are in a season of life where the coffee table needs to stay pretty empty, but if I could style my coffee table with pretty and interesting books, I would.

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs


In this living room, I used baskets underneath to fill with kids’ books and puzzles to add in some color.  On top we had a tray for magazines- they act similarly to books in providing color that doesn’t have to stick to a scheme.

Living Room :: The House of Figs

Mantles could use some books too! Mine is pretty shallow and right above it is our TV, so I don’t use books there, but you definitely could.  This picture is from an episode of Fixer Upper by the fantastic Joanna Gaines.  These books aren’t colorful, but look like something you could find in a used book store or antique shop.

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

This last one is a fantastic example of using books to bring color to an otherwise neutral room.  Cover up those sunflowers and books and you lose so much of what makes this room so special!  Anyone remember Brooke White from American Idol years ago? Find more of her fun home tour here.

Decorating with Books // The House of Figs

So what about you?  Do you use books in your home?  I’d love to hear how you bring what you love into your decorating!



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