A Weekend at the Cottage on Second

A couple of my girlfriends came into town this weekend for a very belated birthday weekend. We stayed at our dear friends, Mike and Belinda’s, Airbnb in downtown Bentonville. This place was just perfect for our girl weekend! 

The front porch is the perfect place to sit and relax. It was really cold, so we stayed inside a good bit. We did venture out for a walk to downtown Bentonville from the cottage. The location is perfect…when we walked downtown we saw lots of beautiful homes, shops and the best restaurants. 

I love the curated and collected look of this space. Belinda took her time putting the house together and it’s just absolutely lovely.

The house itself is really great for a group. The house has window after window after window, so we just felt like we were all in the most peaceful and beautiful space. Belinda had fresh flowers and plants throughout the house. 

All the bedrooms and living spaces are so well set up. We really loved cozying up in the upstairs living room and talking. I highly recommend staying here if you’re looking for a getaway in a beautiful home. You can go to this link to book the cottage. Let me know if you end up staying there and please tell Belinda that I sent ya!

Instant Guest Bedroom

When we bought this house, I knew the bonus room would be the perfect multi-purpose space. There is a bathroom off the bonus room, as well as beautiful windows, plenty of space to lounge around and a door for privacy. With four kids at home and my hubby working from home, I knew that having a designated guest room probably wasn’t an option. This space really lacks nothing and I can’t wait to show it to you!

We have company coming in from out of town this weekend to help me with some organizational projects post move. Ironically, the room needing the most help is the bonus room which doubles as our guest space. I put all the random lamps and pictures to the side and made up the guest bed. I wanted a guest bed that felt sturdy and like a real bed, but had the convenience of an air mattress as far as storage goes.

Enter, my space saving solution! I bought two of these bed frames. They collapse and open as easily as a card table, and they’re very solid! We have two extra twin mattresses that we use on the bed. One of these is stored in the attic (located just off the guest room)  and my husband uses the other in his office. The bedframe in his office is an antique and requires a box spring and a regular mattress. We got rid of the box spring years ago, so we use several slats and two regular mattresses and it works great!

I bought this thick, gel foam mattress topper and this mattress pad to add cushion and to unite the two mattresses. I read reviews and found these sheets on Amazon and they are very soft! I also bought two feather pillows and two regular pillows. The comforter was a TJ Maxx find, but this blanket is very similar. The euro-shams are a very old Bed Bath and Beyond find and the blanket at the foot of the bed was crocheted by my sister. The smallest side table is from TJ Maxx and the larger is from Lighting Emporium. Both lamps are old Target finds.

A few must haves for me in a guest room are plenty of pillows, a couple comfortable blankets, soft sheets, and a nightstand with a lamp. I’m excited to provide this cozy space for our guests! If you’re curious about what the rest of this room looks like, here ya go. I told you it needed work!

Creating a Welcoming Guest Room

A few weeks ago, I spent a few days with some dear friends while traveling with three of my kids. The entire time I was staying in their home, I felt so relaxed. Traveling with kiddos can certainly be stressful, but this trip was remarkably smooth. As I was driving back home, I started thinking about why my stay was so delightful. I truly enjoyed the time with our precious friends. They made the kids and I feel so welcome and comfortable. I think much of what made the trip so lovely was the guest room where I stayed.

A few things really made the room stand out in my mind. The bed was comfortable and had plenty of pillows and blankets. The sheets were soft and there was a basket near the bed with extra blankets. Nightstands and lamps within easy reach of the bed were a huge plus.

The room was uncluttered. As you can see in the pictures, the room was not at all sparse, but plenty of spaces are left open. I stayed in the cutest bed and breakfast with a bestie a while ago. It had so many knick knacks that we couldn’t find our own things amongst the decor. Having uncluttered spaces to put my jewelry, toiletries and clothes was a game changer for me!

This one is really personal preference, but having window coverings that kept the room dark at night and let light in during the day was surprisingly pleasant. I shared the room with my 8 year old son, so darkening the room at night was essential. When we woke up in the morning, it was so nice to open the blinds and look outside. 

The ensuite bathroom was amazing and fully stocked with fluffy towels and toiletries. Having a bathroom so close was really convenient, especially since I was sharing the room with my little guy. A couple of years ago, my Mom and my Nana came to stay with us for a weekend. I mentioned to them that we were looking for a house. My Nana immediately piped up and said, “Try to find a house with a guest bathroom!” I laughed and laughed. Who doesn’t want to share a bathroom with four kids? 😉

In the stage of life with a houseful of kiddos, I don’t have a designated guest room. But, staying here really helped me see how I can make the room where our guests stay more accommodating and comfortable. When you’re traveling, what makes you feel comfortable? Drop me a comment and let me know!

We Bought A House!!

Big news, y’all! We bought a house! Before I dive into the details of how we managed to find a house during a nationwide house shortage, here’s a brief overview:

A friend of ours mentioned to us that a mutual friend was planning to build a house and sell his current  house, which happens to be in one of our fave neighborhoods. We saw the house, made an offer, and closed on it today. The sellers will rent the house from us till late November, which is the projected completion date for their new home. Didja catch all that? 

Here’s how it went down, for those of you, like me, who love the details and a good story. We moved to northwest Arkansas about five years ago. When we moved here, our kids were pretty  young and we’d been homeschooling them for several years. We transitioned to a university model school once we moved here, which meant that our kids would be in school two to three days a week and homeschooled the remaining days. Our house is twenty-ish minutes from our school, which I didn’t think would be a big deal to me. I was used to homeschooling full time and spending the majority of my days at home. But, the drive ended up being a really, really big deal to me. Within a year of making this drive several times a week, and often three to five times a day, I knew that we needed to move closer to school. When we bought our current house, we’d planned on renovating it to make the floorplan to work better for our family. Justin and I  eventually decided to only modify the kitchen, since we knew our days in this house were numbered. After months of praying and talking and trying to make this house and location work, my husband and I decided that we would list our house and start actively looking for a house in Spring of 2020. Right about the time we were ready to get the ball rolling, the lockdowns began. We weren’t comfortable making plans to buy and sell a home during such an uncertain time, so we put our plans on hold indefinitely. 

While we were waiting, I was looking at homes on zillow like an obsessed house stalker. I drove through neighborhoods and approached the owners of homes I liked and gave them my contact information. I prayer-walked circles around our current house asking for God’s direction and provision. I made a list of what we wanted in our next home and prayed through it often. I even had a couple dear friends praying specifically through the same list. We thought we’d found a lot to build on, but the increasing building prices put a halt to that in a hurry. We thought we’d found a house that would work, and we even made an offer on it, but it fell through during negotiations. It seemed like we were in a holding pattern for months and months. I would see a house I loved and it would immediately go off the market. I even joked with our realtor that I was a magnet for unavailable houses.  I waffled between resting in God’s timing and provision and, in my lowest (and most dramatic) moments, feeling like He’d forgotten about us. 

This past April, we were sharing our discouragement about the house situation with our community group when one of our friends mentioned that a mutual friend would eventually have a house to sell. As soon as we got home from community group, I asked Justin to reach out to our mutual friend and ask him about his house. He immediately responded and even sent us a floorplan from when the house was originally built.  Once I saw the floorplan, I knew this house was a good option for us. We looked up an old zillow listing and could see from the old pictures that the house had all the spaces we wanted and a really good layout. I was already very familiar with this neighborhood because it’s located close to school and church and it has so many things I was looking for in a neighborhood…a pool, park, walking trails, and close access to the Razorback greenway, just to name a few. Justin and I had a few days to think about the house before we went to see it. Justin came up with the idea of proposing to the sellers that we would buy the house from them now and they could rent it back from us while their new house was being built. We talked this over with our realtor and she agreed that it was a great idea due to the current low interest rates and the fact that our offer would likely be appealing to the sellers. We set up a time to see the house and we loved it. After walking through the house, we sat on the back porch with the owners (the sweetest people ever, btw) and chatted for about an hour. We pitched our idea to them and made a verbal offer. I was a nervous wreck as I was the one doing most of the talking, and Justin and I hadn’t exactly agreed to make an offer that day, which is just a little tiny detail. Oops? I felt like the time was right, so I went for it! Later on that day, Justin and I talked and he assured me that I was not in trouble for making an offer. I was relieved! I’m still laughing over this. After a few negotiations with the sellers, we set a closing date and the rest is history. 

Our current plan is to list our house later this Summer or early Fall and move into our new house by the end of November. If you know someone who is wanting to move to northwest Arkansas, send them my way and I’ll connect them with our realtor. In the meantime, we’ll spend the summer swimming at our neighborhood pool in our new ‘hood and making design boards for our new space like the true house stalker that I am. I can’t wait to share our new place with all of you once we move in. Out of respect for the sellers, who have been the kindest, most accommodating people, we won’t be showing any interior pictures for now. 

If you’re looking for a house in this crazy market and feeling discouraged, I hope our story gives you a glimmer of hope. We prayed and prayed and prayed for this house over the course of about 3 years. If you’re praying for a house too, reach out to me and I’ll be happy to pray for you, too. God worked out every single detail of this process and we are deeply grateful for His provision and timing. 

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 anawhite.com. 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.