Bent Tree Remodel

Hey, hey! Y’all prepare yourselves for an amazing transformation! Before I go into all the deats from this remodel, feast your beady little eyes on this after pic and scroll down for the before.

One of my favorite things about being a designer is the relationship I develop with my clients. I didn’t know this sweet family before showing up for a design consultation and we quickly became friends. They were down to earth and funny. They had updated their kitchen and family room several years prior without the help of a designer. As time went on, they didn’t like the dark look of things and how chopped up the space felt. We opted to unify the flooring between the family room and adjacent living areas with a Shaw engineered hardwood from ProSource in Rogers, Arkansas. It’s worth noting that ProSource offers high end products at extremely reasonable prices and this flooring is a great example. Here’s another before picture to give you an idea of how the space felt.

A well-chosen paint color is a powerful tool. My clients have three teenagers and they liked the durability of wood for the island, so we left that as is. We painted the surrounding cabinets Alabaster by Sherwin Williams. The wall color for the room is Worldly Gray from Sherwin Williams. We kept the existing countertops and replaced the backsplash with an understated hexagonal tile from Daltile, which we also purchased at ProSource.

I love this built in desk. These clients are amazing about cataloguing memories and make photo books of each one of their kiddos. This space provides the perfect place to work on photo books as well as keeping life organized and running smoothly for an active family.

While it’s hard to tell from this picture, the mantle that my clients had before the remodel was warped and sagging on one side. They wanted to replace it and give the fireplace a bit of a facelift. I found an inspiration picture and we hired a craftsman to build a new mantle. Here’s the before shot of the fireplace:

And here’s the fireplace after the remodel. We were able to use the existing stone surround, paint the built ins, replace the mantle and put up that beautiful Samsung frame TV. If you look closely, you can see where my client displays her family photo books. I’ll give you a hint. They are stacked on the third shelf from the top on the left side of the fireplace.

We kept the existing furniture in the family room and added a throw and pillow from Pottery Barn. We took our time looking for just the rug and I found a wool rug, also from Pottery Barn, that my clients are so pleased to have. Wool is one of the most durable fibers, so it’s really great choice for a space that gets a lot of use. The lamps are from Hobby Lobby and my clients made these side tables themselves with plans from They did a great job and saved a little money.

One thing that I try to make my goal in design is to help my clients find their own personal style. I don’t want every home I design to look like my style. I’m very passionate about helping others discover the look they love and then I try my darndest to help them achieve that look. When we styled the living room, I kept my client’s wall arrangement pretty much the same and just updated a few picture frames. When we finished the job, she sent me this text:

“Seriously, you were so easy to work with. You never made my style not feel like your style…if that makes sense.”

That’s truly one of the highest compliments I can receive as a designer. My goal is to equip homeowners to feel confident in their spaces. She also told me that her teenagers were so excited to show the remodel to their friends. It made my clients happy to see that their kids were proud of their home and pleased with the remodel.

I’ll leave you with this picture of their kitchen in it’s everyday, unstyled glory. We chose this runner from Ruggable and it’s holding up quite well . We searched high and low for just the right desk chair on Facebook marketplace. While we’re all so accustomed to seeing quick before and afters on the interwebs, it’s worth letting you all in on the timeline of this job. From our first meeting to our final meeting to help style the family room, six months had passed. Slow design really is good design. After six months of working together, my clients are in love with their home.

Tuesday Tip: Pantry Organization Step by Step

My hubby and I spent some time decluttering and reorganizing our pantry over the weekend. I love a good before and after, so here are a couple of very rough before photos taken straight from my Instagram stories.

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Step 1: We unloaded each shelf, one or two shelves at a time. I didn’t empty the entire contents of the pantry all in one fell swoop. The goal of this project was to create more peace and organization. I knew that if I unloaded the entire pantry and covered every single space of my kitchen and dining room with the items from the pantry, I’d get overwhelmed. First, I took out all the cookbooks and went through them. I wiped down the cookbook shelves and put the cookbooks back. Next, I took all our paper plates, plastic cups, and basically any disposable product out of the pantry and organized them. I wiped down the shelves where they had been stored and put them back.

Step 2: We went through each group of items that we’d removed from the pantry. We dedicated one area of our kitchen as a space to put things that will be donated and placed unused items there. As we worked, Justin would bag things up from this area and take the bags to the garage to eventually donate. We were snowed in during this project. We would typically put the bags of items to donate directly in the back of my van so that I could donate them as soon as possible. That little trick actually helps me a ton. I really don’t like having random bags in the back of my van, which motivates me to take care of donations quickly.

Step 3: We wiped down the shelves and bins that were holding the items we’d gone through. I honestly didn’t think I’d do this at first. I like to think I’m a fairly clean person and felt that I was maybe a bit above needing to wipe out the shelves of my pantry. Pride comes before a fall…the shelves and bins needed to be cleaned out in a bad way!

Step 4: We put everything back in a way that functions well and looks good. This final step is key! To help your storage space make sense, it’s good to group similar items together. I try to keep canned goods, glass bottles and condiments all on one shelf, but in separate groupings. Storing all of my baking supplies in one space brings great efficiency to my pantry. I love these Sterlite bins for open storage, these Oxo containers for baking supplies and this set of chalk markers and labels to keep it all labeled. If you have some serving pieces that you’d like to see, put them on shelves that you can see when you open the door. I stored my cake plate, a vintage cake carrier, some family heirloom wine glasses and a glass trifle dish on my top shelf so that I can see them whenever the pantry door is open. What I don’t see every time I open the door, are two shelves stacked with not-so-pretty large storage containers that I use often. I like that they’re easily accessible, but they’re not in my direct line of sight. We also keep our microwave on one of the side shelves of our pantry. This is purely a personal preference, but it’s a big priority for me and I’ve had my microwave in the pantry of all our homes. I like being able to use it fairly easily, but I don’t want to lose counter space, or over the oven space to a microwave.

Finally, there are a few things that my husband and I do to help us stay on the path to productivity when taking on a big project like this. First, we really try to start early in the day so that we can finish the project by dinnertime, or even bedtime that night. I don’t know about you, but a cleaning project that takes multiple days is not my cup of tea. Secondly, we each take breaks as we go. Our kiddos were in the kitchen just a chitty-chatting with us during this entire process. We both needed to step away from time to time so that we could have patience with the kids and get back to work with renewed energy.

Another thing that really helps me to stay sane and productive when doing projects at home is to not compare my home to others. My home doesn’t need to look like the cover of a magazine. I do love the look of a perfectly appointed pantry, with every single thing decanted and in matching bougie bottles, but that’s just not my reality. I have four kids who are all learning to cook right now. I often cook three homemade, from scratch meals on the daily. I don’t have the time or energy to stop them and say, “oh honey, please empty that dried pasta into the breakable container that’s labeled in Italian, okay?” Maybe that will be my reality someday. When I’m an empty-nester, you can all come and look at my pantry and ask me how I made it so perfect. I’ll tell you that it’s because the kids moved out and quit needing all our money and emotional energy. And one final tip on how to get a big ole project like this done is to try to laugh and have a good time. I know that sounds so cheesy, but it’s true! There are plenty of stressful moments, just ask our kids, but we’ve found that if we can laugh at and with each other, we have more fun and are more productive. Here’s the final after shot of our pantry clean out. Drop me a comment below and share any tips that help you conquer the big projects in your home!

Monterey Spaghetti the Perfect Pandemic Meatless Meal

Almost 15 years ago, our oldest child was born. I was completely overwhelmed by motherhood and my adorably grumpy baby. My precious friend brought me Monterey Spaghetti and it made my new-Mommy angst disappear for at least fifteen glorious minutes. Fast forward to 2007. My baby was sleeping through the night like a champ and I was back to cooking up a storm. A few friends had been begging me to compile my fave recipes, so I compiled them and wrote my own cheesy little cookbook. I recently pulled out the cookbook to make one of the most simple, comforting meals; Monterey Spaghetti. I wrote this cookbook before I had my errrrr….”real food revolution”, so some of the meals are not exactly the most unprocessed meals ever eaten, but they’re still delish and this recipe is no exception!

The night that I made this dish, I needed to bake it in the toaster oven because I was using my everyday oven for baking bread. I have loved this toaster oven! My in-laws got it for us for Christmas and it’s a game changer. It will hold up to a 9’x13″ dish easily and bakes evenly. It’s fairly lightweight, so it’s easy to move around if you’re like me and don’t want to store it on the countertop. I keep mine on the bottom shelf of my pantry.

Here’s the recipe. Let me know if you try it!

Monterey Spaghetti

  • 4 ounces uncooked spaghetti, cooked and drained
  • 1 can french fried onions, divided (optional, or try these for a less-processed version of the normal french fried onions)
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1-1/2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded (you can totes sub mozzarella)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the cooked spaghetti, half of the french friend onions, sour cream, spinach, cheeses and garlic powder and place in a buttered two quart casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, add the remaining french fried onions as a topping and bake for five more minutes. This is tried and true comfort food, y’all. My kiddos enjoyed it and I hope your fam likes it, too! Serves 4. I doubled the recipe for my family of 6 and we had leftovers.

Our Kitchen Renovation, Part Three and We’re Done!

Our Kitchen Renovation, Part Three and We’re Done!

We finished our kitchen renovation a few weeks ago and I’m finally ready to share an update and pictures. If you’d like to see the process, here’s a link to part one of our kitchen renovation and part two of our kitchen renovation. To finish up this stage of our renovation, we needed to:

  • Build and install open shelves to replace the bank of upper cabinets that were removed
  • Build and install shelves to replace an unused desk area directly behind the sink
  • Paint the ceiling…this little job was made necessary by an overzealous bottle of kombucha that exploded all over my kitchen. 
  • Paint the wall behind the open shelves

I’m happy to report that we got every bit of this done and we are loving the result! Here’s the before:

And some after shots:

Overall, we’ve been so pleased with how our renovation turned out. I’m enjoying our quartz counters from Traders Market. They were very reasonably priced and are holding up well. The open shelves make me smile on the daily because I love seeing all my china on display. I also love the lower open shelving. That little space is a power house of storage. One basket holds bread, one basket holds crackers and chips, one basket holds onions and potatoes and one basket holds lunch box snacks. I love the convenience of having each one of those things close by when I’m cooking.

It’s worth noting that my man is a beast who gets it done. He spent hours upon hours working in the kitchen to make my plans come to fruition and I’m so thankful. He even wore a mask before the coronavirus hit! Isn’t he the trend-setter??? It’s been so nice to hear feedback from you all about our kitchen renovation. I can’t thank you enough for following along on our journey.

Tween Room Makeover

Tween Room Makeover

My husband and I recently set aside a day to give our girls’ room a makeover. Our twins have shared a room their whole lives and I’ve learned a lot over the years about how to keep their room organized. Before I jump into how I spruced up their room, I’ll share a few tips on how to tackle your kid’s room.

First things first: toy cycling….if I want my girls’ room to stay neat, I can’t let them keep all their toys out all the time. What this means for our girls is that they have a few big bins of toys that take turns being stored in the top of their closet, or some lesser used toys are stored in the garage or attic. Each bin holds a different category of toys. For example, they have a bin full of dolls and doll accessories, another bin for stuffed animals and another bin for crafts. At some point, the girls will ask to switch out their toys or I’ll notice that they’ve not played with the toys that are in their room. We’ll get the bins down and swap out their toys. This has saved me so much time over the years and it definitely helps my girls keep their room neater.

Another way I’ve kept their room from getting overwhelming is by periodically going through their rooms and getting rid of things that they aren’t using. Sometimes I involve them in this process, and sometimes I don’t. Of course, I don’t get rid of anything that is particularly special to them if I can help it. If you are familiar with the Marie Kondo method, this is what I used when we organized the girls room recently. We brought everything in their room other than clothing and furniture and organized it in our dining room (see below). This process took hours and I really felt like I deserved some type of medal by the time it was done. My hubs and I started out with the girls helping us, but we eventually sent them to go play in another room so that we could really organize all this random stuff.

The girls also have a shelves in their closet where the bulk of their toys are stored. These bins came from Target over 10 years ago and, while they’ve seen better days, they’re still going strong. Quick tip on how I keep my sanity where a kid’s room is concerned: I don’t spend a ton of money on my kid’s rooms. If I want to really invest in a space in my home, it’s usually a main living area or the master bedroom. My kids play in their rooms a lot, so I find it’s best to keep the spaces fairly utilitarian. In the bins below my girls have stored makeup, crafts, hair bows, shopkins and who even knows what else? Note the bookshelf in the right of this picture. I intentionally left a good part of the shelf empty. I know this space will eventually be filled with something, be it library books or art projects. Keeping space open in our kiddo’s rooms gives them space to breathe and gives us the freedom to not feel like the room is packed to the gills.

Lastly, I highly recommend being very choosy about kid’s clothes. A child’s room can be overrun by clothes in a hurry. My kiddos each have a smallish chest of drawers and I try to keep their clothing limited to what will fit in their chests and what will hang loosely in their closets.

As for decorating their room, I bought them new curtains and rearranged their furniture just a bit. Before we spruced up their room, I had a chest of drawers on each side of the room, but their long, narrow room felt crowded. I moved the two chests together and hung a photo ledge that my husband made years ago above the chests. I styled the ledge with artwork that was already in their room. Hanging the ledge above the chests unifies the two pieces to make them look like one unit. This also helps the room to feel more open and airy.

For their bedding, we’ve had good luck with these soft sheets from Amazon. I made their quilts for them a couple years ago and my sister knitted beautiful afghans at the foot of their beds. Again, I keep their bedding very simple. We have duvets and duvet covers that they use in the winter, but for now they are folded and in the closet.

We bought the majority of their bedroom furniture at a local furniture store that is now out of business. The girls’ desk was made by a cabinet-maker several years ago and we got their desk chairs at TJ Maxx.

Revamping my girls’ room has been such a fun process. I mostly used what I already had on hand, with the exception of buying new curtains. They are enjoying having a freshened-up space and they’ve each thanked my husband and I multiple times for helping them get better organized.

Below is the design board that I created for this space. I had such a good time pulling all of these elements together in a simple, kid-friendly, inexpensive way. If you need me to help design your kiddo’s room, shoot me a message and we’ll work together to create a space that you and your kiddo will love.