Blue Lagoon Bathroom Reveal

It’s my favorite day in blogland—room reveal day!

Back in August I shared the design plan and layout for this room, but this project actually started way back in May, right before we moved into the Heights House. This room didn’t exist before—we created it by stealing a few feet from the existing bathroom and adjacent bedroom.

Building a bathroom from scratch is a major undertaking, from running all new plumbing, electrical and AC to constructing new walls and floors and cutting an opening for a new window. We hired most of it out, but squeezed in a few small DIY tasks where we could (check out the last progress post here).

Measuring a whopping 30 square feet, it was an interesting challenge to find the most efficient layout without feeling too crowded. Because this house will be a vacation rental, our goal is to give each its own unique theme and leave a lasting impression. What this room lacks in size, I think it makes up for in personality. Certainly a departure from my own neutral and more classic decorating style, but taking risks and exploring your creativity is what makes design so much fun!

Welcome to the Blue Lagoon Bathroom…

The star of the show is undoubtedly the Cloe baby blue tile. I knew I wanted to use this line when I saw the samples in person last year, and the glossy watery blue tones are what set the stage for this ‘swan lake’ inspired design. Speaking of swans…

This faucet is what started it all. When I spotted it on Amazon, I just had to have it (especially for under $100!) and everything else in the room came together afterwards. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I just think it’s so funky and unique. Who doesn’t love a good swan (or 3?)

I spent hours looking for the perfect petite pedestal sink that was stylish, affordable, and the smallest depth possible. This Barclay model from Lowe’s checked all the boxes!

The mirror was another Lowe’s budget find (only $66 and almost sold out!) The scalloped edges mimic the curvature of the sink and is very swan-esque, don’t you think?

I use these refillable amber pump bottles in all of our bathrooms. They’re so classic and much prettier to look at than regular soap bottles, and you can’t beat the $3.50/ea price tag.

I’m also a big fan of the layered look achieved by mixing warm gold and silvery metals. I finally caved and got the towel ring and matching tp holder I’d been eyeing for months at Anthro. A splurge, but worth every penny.

The seagrass wastebasket and hand towel were both Target finds. They’re neutral in color but the woven texture is a nice contrast to the tile. And about that pebble tile

This was a last minute change of plans when I spotted it at Floor & Decor, originally looking for marble floor tile. The stones were just too perfect for the theme of the room, so I splurged and paid the $13/sf, justifying the cost because the footprint of the room is so small. For the grout I chose Alabaster, which is a warm gray and should be relatively easy to clean (we used the same grout for the Cloe wall tile).

A simple, elegant brass & white glass pendant (also very swan-esque) hangs above the vanity (and the price is a steal!) The 9′ ceilings certainly help the room feel larger, along with the new 4′ Jeld-Wen window we added. One of my favorite features of this room is the wood ledge that spans across the back wall. Storage space is at a premium, and this was a natural way to incorporate it without hanging bulky shelves that would make the room feel crowded.

We used a 1×10″ piece of pine wood, cut it down to size, and I applied a weathered wood stain (I still need to varnish it to protect it from moisture!) Another great storage solution is this $20 seagrass organizer bin I found on Amazon. It’s the perfect size for a small toilet tank, and neatly contains toiletries for guests.

Above the toilet, I hung these two abstract swan prints I made just for this room in 12×16″ Ikea Hovsta frames. (PS, I take custom orders in my print shop and am happy to make these for you too, just shoot me a message!)

The potted fern was another Amazon find and it looks very realistic! Definitely worth the $12.

This 96″ waffle weave shower curtain is one of my best design secrets. There’s a serious shortage of quality 8′ long shower curtains in the world, and the only other I’m aware of is this one from Bed Bath & Beyond—but it’s double the price of this one and often out of stock.

I found this curtain after searching out of necessity, and was pleasantly surprised at the quality (I used the same one in the main bathroom).

I also bought this white 96′ liner but we haven’t hung it yet. Shower storage was a bit of an afterthought and we forgot to add a built-in niche before it was too late, but I found an alternative solution with this glass corner shelf (secured in the tile with anchors).

I’m a huge fan of this refillable shampoo, conditioner and body wash bottle set. It’s perfect and cost-effective for a vacation rental, but also a good option in your own shower if you don’t like staring at mismatched bottles every day.

I used my go-to budget champagne bronze Delta faucet (seriously, you won’t find anything else in this color at this price. I’ve looked!)

Behind the door, I utilized the 30″ wall for towel hooks that can easily be reached from the shower. A cheerful message fills the space above, another custom design I printed and hung in a matted Ikea 16×20″ frame.

I think that covers everything! There’s still a few things left to do before we can officially call this room done, like varnishing the wood ledge, sealing the floor tile, painting the door and installing the window shade, but we’re thrilled to have one more room pretty much crossed off the to-do list.

Adding a second bathroom to this house was a necessity for a vacation rental, but it has also significantly increased the value and our equity in the property, which is always top of mind as investors. Another successful before & after in the books!

Sources

Wall & trim color: SW Pure White (eggshell + semigloss)

Cloe blue wall tile

Pebble floor tile

Grout

Pedestal sink

Swan faucet

Window

Mirror

Pendant light

Shower faucet

Towel ring

TP holder

Towel hooks

Shower curtain

Seagrass storage bin

Seagrass waste basket

Hand towel

Faux fern

Amber soap bottle

Refillable shower bottle set

Shower glass corner shelf

Picture frames

Custom prints (message me to order!)

Next up—a budget-friendly linen sofa roundup!

 


Heights House Living Room Design

When designing our home, I envisioned the living room to be the place where we’d gather for morning baby snuggles, afternoon football games, and late night conversations. It would be where memories were made while hosting family during the holidays or a quiet date night in. The space would be warm and cozy, calm and comfortable, and an extension of the relaxed European style of our home.

Situated just off the front entrance and open to the dining room, the room feels larger than its 18’x18′ footprint with a tall cathedral ceiling and five large picture windows.

We sacrificed square footage in other areas of the house for this room because to me, it’s the heart of the home. Watching it come together and dreaming of our future here was the most fun part of the construction process…

Those three 5′ south facing windows let in a ton of light, and I’m so glad we didn’t go smaller to try to save money. I wrote a detailed blog post all about choosing windows in case you missed it.

One of the most exciting days of construction was the floor installation. Ten months later and I’m still obsessed with these French Oak planks.

The vaulted ceiling has to be my favorite feature, especially after we added the faux wood beams. They make the room feel so grand!

The light and airy color palette (read about the paint color selection in this post) helps make the room feel more open and serves as a neutral backdrop for furniture & decor throughout the seasons.

Since moving into this house five months ago (how has it been that long already?!) the living room was relatively low on the priority list while we finished up the kitchen, nursery and powder bathroom (among a million other little projects). At first it had a couple random pieces of furniture brought in from our storage unit…

Here’s the other side…

I didn’t want to rush into completing this room and risk overspending or buying anything I didn’t 100% love because I was impatient. The best rooms are well thought out and evolve over time, so this is still a work in progress and I don’t mind the wait.

Over the past year I’ve had time to mull over my design plan, scour the internet for the perfect pieces and even do some bargain hunting. Here’s what I came up with:

The first decision I made was the chandelier I found last year and couldn’t pass up. It was the perfect size for our large room (53″ wide—it’s also available in 40″ here) and fit right in with all of the other black iron fixtures in our home.

My next find was a secondhand score via OfferUp (I think it was around $80?)—an armoire which holds our TV. I love the classic European character and it’s just the right size. The plan is to paint it eventually—I was actually thinking a pale green, similar to the existing color, but I may wait and see if I can find an antique unpainted wood armoire and move this one into our bedroom. We shall see!

The next piece was this 9×12′  Loloi Layla olive/charcoal rug that caught my eye months ago.

My original design plan was based around a rug with primarily green tones, which is particularly difficult to find! I spent countless hours exhausting pages of search results on every site I could think of, and always came up short. The Layla rug looks brown in photos, but in person in the daylight, it’s mostly olive green (it does look more brown under incandescent lighting, though). I was thrilled to discover this when I unrolled it! Here’s an iphone photo I just snapped that’s an accurate representation:

It’s also surprisingly soft and cushy, especially given how thin it is (I’m not using a rug pad at the moment). It feels almost like a thick velvet fabric. The attention to detail is impressive—the pattern is actually pulled from a real vintage rug so it looks authentic.

It hides everything and cleans well (you’d never know where Susie puked on it), it’s very reasonably priced, and I can’t say enough good things about it. It really is the perfect rug! I love it so much I ordered the same one (in the 5×7′) for the Riverside Retreat kitchen.

And the biggest purchase for this room, one I spent countless hours searching for over many months… the sofa!

I tracked down every linen sofa in a similar size/style looking for the best price and reviews, and this was the winner (I plan to do a dedicated blog post with all of my findings cause the info is too good to not share!) I had bookmarked it early in the year and when I was finally ready to pull the trigger in June, it was no longer available. I panicked and talked to customer service, who assured me that it was coming back in stock in a few weeks (whew!). A few weeks turned into a few months and I had almost given up hope of it returning, but as soon as it finally did, I jumped on it.

This is hands down my favorite sofa I’ve ever purchased. The price is amazing, the style is clean and sophisticated, the size is perfect for this room, it’s durable and super deep and comfy. The cushions are double sided and have removable slipcovers which eases my hesitation of ordering a light colored sofa. Online it says dry clean only (what? no thanks), but I spot cleaned melted chocolate with Oxi spray stain remover, water and a dish sponge and it came right up without leaving any evidence.

The only imperfection I can find is that the material isn’t super soft. It’s not rough or uncomfortable by any means, but it is a thick woven linen which is naturally textured. This doesn’t bother me at all though, it makes it more durable and easier to hide stains.

I paid $1,400 in August which I thought was a steal… but I just found out it’s on sale for only $1,050 right now! Totally kicking myself, and tempted to buy another one just so I have a backup, ha. I’m super jealous of anyone who gets it at this price! You won’t regret it.

The next big ticket item (or items, I should say) are two slipcovered Wyatt armchairs from SixPenny. I ordered these last month and they’re scheduled to arrive next week.

These will sit across from the couch, where the two wicker placeholder chairs are in the photo below:

I’ll do a dedicated blog post reviewing them after they arrive, so stay tuned!

And that brings us to the next piece of the puzzle, the coffee table. I posted a poll on Instagram a while back, trying to decide between Option 1 and Option 2.

The results were evenly divided, so in the end I went with the one I thought was more unique and fit better with the style of our home.

Size was the most important search criteria, and it’s quite the task finding something over 50″ long (the proper scale for the sofa/room) that’s also stylish and budget-friendly. My options were relatively limited, but I’m glad I came across this table and think it was the right choice. Apart from the price and design, the rustic wood finish is pretty indestructible so I won’t have to worry about damaging it!

Another crazy good deal that I can’t praise enough is this faux olive tree:

Realistic looking faux trees are few and far between, let alone affordable ones. This was another purchase I researched for months before finally pulling the trigger, and I’m happy to report it lives up to the photos and reviews online. The best part is the price—under $200 for a nice 8′ tree is insane (and only ~$100 for the 72″!)—so insane that it’s always sold out. I managed to snag one after setting up an alert on Wayfair, but currently they’re sold out again (they usually last only days, if that). I plan on buying another for the Riverside Retreat as soon as it comes back. There’s a video review in my Living Room story highlights on Instagram if you want to see more in depth:

One key element that’s currently missing in this room are curtains. I think just about every room needs window treatments to feel complete, and curtains in particular are such an easy way to make a space feel soft and inviting, making them a must (in my book) for living spaces.

After much debate, I’ve settled on neutral linen panels—specifically these Belgian Flax Linen drapes in Natural.

They’ll be unlined to provide privacy while still allowing the light to come through, and the added texture will help give the room a relaxed and comfortable vibe. Can you picture how much more finished they’ll make this space?

Moving right along to another secondhand find, this antique sideboard:

I found it on OfferUp and paid $275—it’s the perfect size and in great condition, worth every penny to me. It’s beautiful as is, but the lacquered cherry wood isn’t the best match for the neutral tones of this room so I’ll be painting it black (sorry wood purists, can’t change my mind on this one! 😉

I’m currently on the hunt for a large antique mirror to hang above it, and have a few contenders lined up so we’ll see what I end up with. Mirrors are plentiful in the secondhand market so I’m not too worried about finding something I love. Currently considering these… any of them stand out to you? (I’d paint them gold):

The last major decision to be made is this empty wall. I’ve decided on large scale artwork (since I’ll already have a big mirror on the other wall and there won’t be enough room for a table).

I’ve been browsing Pinterest for inspiration, and am leaning towards DIYing large wood frames, and filling them with something vintage—old maps or topographic illustrations, perhaps? I’m loving the style of this…

via The Spruce

That’s something I can figure out later though, and I’ll plan to make a DIY tutorial out of it too 🙂

I think we’ve covered pretty much everything! The only thing missing that I don’t have a plan for yet are side tables, which I’ll probably need two of (one between the armchairs and one next to the sofa). I want to wait until the chairs arrive to decide on a plan for those—there’s a good chance they’ll be a thrift store/secondhand find.

I haven’t set a timeline to complete this room, but I hope to have at least the main pieces here in time to decorate for the holidays. It will be pretty last minute, but we’re hosting family this year and it’s baby’s first Christmas, so I can’t pass up an opportunity to get festive! In the meantime, here’s a look at real unstaged life just outside of these shots, from the dining room…

And speaking of real life, I uploaded our first vlog since baby last week in case you missed it! There’s plenty of adorable Esmé clips, how we’re adjusting to life as new parents, and project updates on both houses:

Next week I’ll be revealing our master bathroom at the Riverside Retreat, so check back then or you can follow me on Instagram for daily updates!


Riverside Retreat Kitchen Updates

This post is part of a paid collaboration with Lowe’s Home Improvement. All opinions are my own.

Popping in for a quick update on the Riverside Retreat kitchen, now that we’ve transitioned into the fun part where there’s visible progress! In my last blog update, we had chosen the paint color and began the installation of our custom range hood.

A couple weeks ago we cleaned out our garage and brought the cabinet doors inside to paint them (details on the cabinets we chose in this kitchen plans post).

Rather than sanding down the wood, we used a liquid deglosser to prep the surface, and I bought a gallon of my go-to water based primer. It has been a while since I’ve painted/refinished cabinets so I spent some time researching the best products and process, and this primer kept popping up as a popular option (this was also what I used when painting my Ikea laminate cabinets 5 years ago).

Since our cabinet paint is a darker color, I had the Lowe’s associate tint the primer to help with coverage. He said this was as dark as he could make it since there wasn’t much room in the can to add pigment, but your experience may vary!

We also spent hours researching the best paint sprayer to use, and landed on the Wagner Flexio 3000:

We needed something affordable, beginner-friendly, and compatible with latex primer and paint designed for cabinets. This one met all our criteria and came with great reviews, so we pulled the trigger and hoped for the best.

There are two nozzles for different applications, and Lucas used the larger (iSpray) nozzle to apply the primer. It didn’t take long to figure out the ideal setting and he was on a roll (or a spray, I should say?) Pardon the poor lighting/quality, this was pulled from a video I shared in my Instagram stories:

It took two coats of primer on each side to fully cover, with a light sanding after each coat to smooth out any dust/debris and imperfections.

The following weekend, it was time to paint! I chose Benjamin Moore’s Peale Greene in their Advance line, which is another popular choice for cabinets. I originally wanted to try Valspar’s new cabinet enamel after hearing great things (it’s also less than half the cost), but it’s only available in a semi-gloss finish and I’m a satin cabinet kinda girl.

For the paint application, we switched over to the detail nozzle on our Wagner (level 4, for those wondering) and it went on just as easy—no thinning required for either the primer or the paint. With all the years I’ve spent rolling on paint trying to get a perfect finish, I regret not buying a sprayer sooner!

Fall hasn’t kicked in yet in Florida and it’s still as hot and humid as ever, so after a week of sitting in the garage, the primer still felt tacky to the touch. We had to bring the doors inside to dry out overnight between each coat of paint, which fortunately worked!

Currently the doors are curing upstairs (keeping any paint fumes away from baby) waiting for their second and (hopefully) final coat, which should happen in the next week. This renovation is a slowww process for us with Lucas back to work full time and a newborn attached to me all day. We aren’t exactly DIYing machines like we used to be!

While the first coat of paint was drying, we were back in the kitchen starting on the trim. We’re giving these off-the-shelf cabinets a custom built-in look, which requires some problem solving—like this empty corner to the left of the tall pantry cabinet:

I had grand ideas of building a secret door for broom storage, but was talked out of it for the sake of time and simplicity. This is an investment property so time is money! On to plan B—filling it in with a 1×6 board (ripped down to size). We attached 2×4’s for braces with pocket holes screwed into a stud along the wall.

The 1×6 needs to be painted first so it isn’t attached just yet—you’ll have to wait until the reveal to see how it turns out (or follow my Instagram stories!)

Along the top of the cabinets we’re using the same process (2×4 blocks) to attach crown molding, and for the lower cabinets we’re installing custom baseboard molding using affordable primed pine (rather than the standard Ikea toe kick panels).

I almost went for this look in our Heights House kitchen, and love how it gives the cabinets more of a classic furniture look:

Lots of progress on the cabinets coming soon, and meanwhile the rest of the kitchen accessories have been delivered! A few are still in boxes, like this schoolhouse pendant light for above the sink:

 

And the 33″ drop-in sink, with a 10″ basin that allows plenty of room for pots and pans. The price dropped 40% since I first bookmarked it (woohoo!) and it should be an easy DIY install thanks to the lip.

I also found this simple white ceiling fan with great reviews at an even better price. Normally I wouldn’t choose to put a fan in a kitchen, but this is an older house with original single pane windows, so fans are necessary (and generally expected in a FL vacation rental home). The west facing window above the sink gets direct afternoon sun, and combined with the heat from the stove, this 10×10′ kitchen can get quite stuffy! Hopefully this fan will keep the room comfortable.

Our Delta faucet also arrived, the champagne bronze looking snazzy as always:

The cabinet handles and knobs arrived as well, looking just like the photos online. I’ve wanted to use these for so long and this is the perfect kitchen for them!

I ordered a mix of 4″, 5″ and 6″ pulls for the drawers and coordinating knobs for the doors. $141 total for all of the kitchen hardware, what a steal! (For some reason the product link says Currently Unavailable, but it’s not true, you can still order them for store pickup or home delivery).

Last week the cement board went up, always an exciting part of the process…

And our gorgeous Cloe White tile arrived…

I settled on a classic subway style arrangement rather than stacked, just because it’s a little more timeless. I think either way would have looked great though. Tiling is scheduled to finish by this weekend!

The custom shelves for the window wall are on the way and I’ll share when they arrive. Now the question is—paint the window frame black, or SW Loggia to match the doors/trim in the room?

Here’s a photo of the other window I’d paint to match:

I’m leaning towards black as of now, but this will likely have to be a last minute decision. The kitchen walls will be painted white, and the laundry door/baseboards will be Loggia.

One fun design detail that I’m equally excited/nervous about… we’re going to wallpaper our range hood! I was trying to come up with something unique, and eventually this idea popped into my head.

I found this textured grasscloth wallpaper and thought it would be an interesting feature— unexpected but subtle, and a nice complement to the warm and earthy design elements. I’ve never seen wallpaper used on a hood so maybe there’s a reason for that and it might be a complete fail, but I’m willing to try! This is thick, quality paper (I looked for a long time before landing on this one) and bonus: it’s on sale right now.

Last but not least, the Whirlpool Sunset Bronze fridge and stove have arrived!

They still need to be fully unboxed/unpackaged but I’m looking forward to seeing how the finish looks once everything is in place and the dust settles.

It still feels like we’re barely crawling along with this room, but there’s so many details that go into creating a new kitchen from scratch and they all have to work together (design-wise, functionality and timing). This has been an especially challenging project for me between pregnancy brain, navigating the postpartum waters and now preoccupied with a newborn. Just in the past week I feel like I’m finally starting to clear my head and can switch my brain back over to the design/DIY mindset. I think part of that is motivation from watching things progress and sensing a light at the end of the tunnel.

The “in between” stage of the Before and After can be rough, especially when you feel stuck or things don’t go as planned (if you’ve ever been through a major remodel, I’m sure you can relate!) But during those times, I always find it helpful to remind yourself of where you started.

Day by day we’ll keep chipping away, and eventually this stage will be a distant memory as we’re on to the next project. And I’ll be sharing as much of it as I can on my Instagram stories—you can get caught up on the progress from Day 1 in my Budget Kitchen story highlights:

 

Solidarity to all my fellow DIYers and Weekend Warriors—we’ve got this! 💪

Next up, the design details for our Heights House living room…


Heights House Smart Lighting

A few months ago I shared a blog post all about the smart home features we’ve been using at the Heights House.

We’ve loved the convenience of having voice and app-controlled smart locks, video monitoring, speakers and thermostat, but there’s one major feature we were missing: smart lighting!

I’ve mentioned before about how important lighting is in a home (or anywhere, for that matter) and what a key role it plays in your overall mood and experience. During the design/building process we made sure to add multiple light sources in all of the main rooms, but adding dimmers was an oversight with so much else going on. We had been meaning to change this when Legrand reached out a few weeks ago and asked me if I’d like to try out any of their smart lighting products—perfect timing!

Lucas and I looked through their adorne and radiant Collections and came up with a wish list of functions and features for several rooms in our house. We didn’t know most of these products even existed, so it was exciting to discover new ways to make our home even more automated.

The first thing to be installed were the dimmers—finally! One for the chandelier and another for the can lights in the living room. We never hang out in this room at night because it’s just too bright, but now we can dim the lights and get cozy. Total game changer.

The Smart Tru-Universal dimmers can be set to your preferred level of light with the side control (indicated by the LED dots), and each time you tap the switch it’ll turn on to your last setting. Love it.

The master bedroom and nursery lights were put on dimmers as well, and we also swapped the outlet at the nursery entrance for one with an LED night light.

It’s at the entrance of the room and turns on automatically when it gets dark enough, which has really come in handy during our middle of the night diaper changes.

In our bedroom, we switched out both standard outlets behind our nightstands for these dual USB outlets. I have no less than five devices plugged in by my bed at any given time and even with a power strip I’ve run out of ports, so now my phone finally has a permanent charging spot (woohoo!)

Moving on over to the kitchen—here’s where it gets real fun. Legrand has a smart plug-in switch, where you can plug in any device (lamp, tool, appliance, etc) and control the power with Alexia, via voice or app. You simply plug it into any standard outlet, scan the barcode sticker included in the package, and it will connect to the Legrand app which allows you to control it.

Can you guess what kitchen device I used it for…?

“Alexa, make my coffee.” Yes that’s right folks, I can have my coffee started before I even get out of bed in the morning (of course I have to pour the water/grinds into the coffee maker the day before… but it’s still the closest thing I’ll ever have to a personal butler!) Pretty cool, huh?

Another neat addition is this wireless phone charger + usb port that replaces any standard outlet.

We spend most evenings in our kitchen near our phones, so it’s super convenient to have a spot to charge it without having to deal with yet another usb cable.

For our main control board next to the back door, we upgraded 3 of the 4 switches to smart switches which can be controlled by Alexa or through the app.

The biggest benefit of smart lighting is being able to put your lights on an automated schedule, especially when you’re away. We always forget to turn on our exterior lights on at night (or if we remember, we forget to turn them off so they’re on all day) so we’ve become the creepy dark house in the neighborhood. I’m happy to say those days are over, because now we can easily control our lighting from anywhere with the Legrand Smart Lights app:

Day to day it’s great because we can put the exterior lights on a schedule so they’re only on when it’s dark. And being able to control everything remotely is especially useful when we’re away from home but don’t necessarily want everyone to know that.

Every light in the house that’s connected to a smart switch is controlled here, including the ability to dim them from the app. They’re also sync’d to Alexa so we can say “Alexa, turn off the nursery light” if our phone isn’t nearby. Isn’t technology wonderful?

All of the existing outlets and switches in our home were already Legrand (that’s what our builder/electrician uses) so aesthetically they fit right in next to the smart switches, and we didn’t have to change everything out.

The screwless plates are much sleeker than the ones our builder installed, don’t you think? 

They come in multiple colors and finishes, so you can coordinate with your wall color or a specific room style. I used these (both wall plates and outlets) in black for our guest bathroom and it made them disappear into the wall. Can you spot the outlet?

Installation is straightforward and no different than replacing any other switch/outlet, so as long as you can shut off your breaker and connect a few wires, you’re good to go. There’s a ton more products on Legrand’s site (including modern square shape switches, pop-out outlets, intercom systems and more) so if you’re still living in the dark ages (pun intended), I’d highly recommend looking into smart lighting—it makes a world of difference!

Good news for you! Legrand is offering $500 worth of adorne and radiant product to two winners over on their Instagram right now. All you have to do is follow them and leave a comment on this post to enter (hurry, the giveaway ends November 4th!)

More Heights House and Riverside Retreat updates in the works!

 


Heights House Powder Bath

Some of you may have caught a few glimpses of our DIY progress in this room on my Instagram stories over the past several months, but it’s one space in this house I haven’t shared yet… until today!

Here’s how it looked earlier this year when the house was still under construction:

And here was the design plan I came up with:

After the floors and trim were in, Lucas and I installed the wallpaper. I didn’t save any photos of this process and I’ll say it was by far the most challenging wallpaper installation we’ve done because it wrapped around the whole room. I’m just glad our marriage survived the ordeal 😉

Fortunately, this pattern is extremely forgiving and you don’t notice all the areas we had to slice into unless they’re pointed out!

The other major player in this space is the vanity. For weeks I looked for the perfectly sized vintage dresser, and finally found it on Craigslist for a bargain (diligence pays off!)

I sanded it down and refinished it with Maison Blanche‘s Wrought Iron vintage furniture paint which gives it a super rich velvety finish, and sealed with Maison Blanche’s clear antique wax.

I also kept the original wood knobs and gave them a couple coats of Rustoleum Metallic gold spray paint, which I believe is the most realistic gold shade in a can (I did my research!)

For an added layer of dimension and protection, I wiped on a bit of gold rub n buff as well (that stuff is my new favorite find, I’ll have to do a blog post all about it!)

To convert the dresser into a vanity, I opted for an undermount sink (because of the taller height) so we had to cut out the center of the top two drawers to accommodate the plumbing. Easy work with our dremel.

Then we had a custom top and backsplash made from white quartz (I arranged this through my builder’s stone guy). I was able to show him inspiration photos, give him the dimensions and he did the rest.

And then came the wall mounted faucet of my dreams (the price dropped $80 since I bought it earlier this year—still worth every penny!)

Tip: if you’re building a new home… make sure to plan out all of your plumbing BEFORE the rough-in stage! We had to pay to redo the plumbing in this room because I decided on a wall mounted setup after the fact. Sigh…. but #noregrets.

I saved money with a $41 sink, then splurged a little for my favorite handsome toilet (of course).

A few more little details, and this room is done!

The very last piece was just installed last week—our custom linen roman shade from JCPenney of all places. This is the fourth one I’ve purchased and I’m obsessed with them (especially for the price!)

I’m a huge fan of classic toile, and I think powder baths are the perfect place for it.

You can barely see it peeking through in the next photo, but I found this great vintage style pendant light for only $90:

I love the way the vanity turned out, too. Refinishing dressers are the easiest way to save money and add character—win-win!

One of my favorite things in this room is the Anthropologie mirror. I’d been eyeing it for months and actually received it as a gift from a client!

This room is really all about the small details, like the 9″ Emtek door handles used throughout the house (you can read more about our door hardware in this post).

Another budget buy was the $15 Amazon towel ring and $20 wrought iron TP holder.

I love using these amber bottles for hand soap—I bought several to use in multiple bathrooms. The vase was a $1 thrift store find!

These vintage framed drawings were also a thrift store find from years ago.

I think that covers everything!

What’s your favorite detail?

Sources

Trim: SW Pure White

Vanity: Vintage, Maison Blanche Wrought Iron paint

Floors

Wallpaper

Faucet

Sink

Mirror

Pendant light

Window shade

Toilet

TP holder

Towel holder

Amber soap dispenser

Artwork & vase: thrifted

Next on the blog: our new smart home features plus living room design plans!


Updates: Riverside Retreat Progress + Motherhood

I’ve been meaning to share updates on our progress at the Riverside Retreat, but we’ve been a bit preoccupied with a newborn and trying to figure out our new normal. We’ve hired out some help and have been DIYing the rest, but we are wayyy behind our original schedule to complete this house as priorities have shifted.

I had so much more time and energy when I was 9 months pregnant, ha! I’m trying not to beat myself up about it as I know one day this will all be a distant memory, but it’s always tough when you’re in the thick of renovations with seemingly no end in sight.

Fortunately, things are wrapping up soon with our new master bathroom! Weeks ago I shared our Blue Lagoon Design Plan:

Quick recap—this is a tiny master bathroom we’ve created from scratch by adding walls in an adjacent bathroom and bedroom:

When I say tiny, I mean the smallest room I’ve ever worked with—33 square feet and just large enough for a pedestal sink, toilet and shower. But what it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in personality!

Before bringing this bathroom to life, first thing was first: building a new closet from scratch:

Followed by a complete remodel of the main bathroom:

Over the summer we made (slow) progress on the new master bathroom, and I’m happy to say we’re nearing the finish line. There are no before photos to share since this room didn’t exist, but here’s Day 1 of demo, opening up the wall in the old bathroom (you can see the master bedroom window on the left):

Here’s the view from inside the bedroom, looking into the open space that would become both bathrooms:

A lot of work needed to be done, including repairing the foundation, replacing joists, running all new plumbing and electric. We basically had to start from scratch. Once all the not-so-fun demo stage was over, it was time to start adding walls! First up was the wall separating the bedroom (you can see the opening for the door on the left and new closet on the right).

Followed by the walls to separate this bathroom from the main bathroom…

We also opted to add a 2’x4′ window to let in some much needed light and prevent this small room from feeling like a closet.

Next came the floors…

A shower curb was constructed and hardi-backer hung…

We ran into a situation with the plumbing for the sink, and our installer decided it would be best to construct a 2×4″ frame rather than break into the block wall to recess it. We opted to limit the bumpout to just behind the vanity, as we couldn’t afford to lose 4″ of wall space in this already cramped bathroom.

Fortunately, it ended up working out quite nicely because it gave me the idea to run a shelf ledge all the way across the back wall for much needed storage.

Our Cloe blue tile covers the wall below the shelf ledge, and continues floor to ceiling on the back wall and around the shower.

Drywall/backer board install is always one of the most exciting parts, when you can finally get a sense of space!

While the size makes it difficult to capture much in one photo, we were pleasantly surprised to find the room didn’t feel as cramped as we’d imagined in person.

The next big milestone: tile! These pebble tiles require some artistic ability to install, as you have to constantly step back and rearrange individual stones to avoid seeing the seams.

Fortunately, grouting does help to minimize the lines and even things out. We used Mapei sanded grout in Alabaster.

Next came the statement-making Cloe tile…

We used the same Alabaster grout here to help blend the tiles a bit.

We also installed the shelf ledge across the vanity wall to provide some counter space. I plan to stain the wood in a light-medium tone (still deciding on the color).

The small pedestal sink ended up being the perfect size, and how bout those lovely swans?!

I’m digging it.

We still need to finish the trim, paint, hang the mirror and light and artwork, install the shower faucet/drains, shower curtain, hooks and accessories.

This room is nearly impossible to photograph even with a wide angle, so you’ll just have to come see it in person 😉 The Cloe tile is absolutely gorgeous in real life—perfectly imperfect with a lovely translucent quality.

I’ll have to share a video tour in my Instagram stories so you can get a better sense of the space once it’s finished. Watch for that in the coming weeks!

Next up is the kitchen…

It’s not looking like much right now, but we’re slowly getting there. I shared the design plans in this post and our progress in this post. Since then we installed the butcher block counters:

And tested out green paint swatches for the lower cabinets.

These were the Valspar test samples I used for the main bathroom since I already had them on hand, and I was most drawn to #3 (Valspar Alpine Top). However, cabinets require special paint and after much research, I opted to use Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint which is made for cabinets. Valspar also has a cabinet enamel which I’ve heard good things about, and I would have gone that route, except they only offer it in a semi-gloss finish. Come on, Valspar! I prefer to use satin, so Benjamin Moore it is.

I went to my local Ben Moore and picked up a sample of their closest color match, Peale Green. It’s the HC-121 swatch on the bottom right.

Here’s Peale Greene painted on the front sample board, next to Valspar’s Alpine Top (#3). It’s a bit more olive and not quite as saturated as Alpine Top, but I don’t mind. I’m not trying to match a specific color exactly, so I’d rather stick with an off-the-shelf color vs trying to custom color match, to keep things simple.

We purchased a paint gun and respiratory mask and have the cabinet doors in the garage, ready to go. There’s a lot of prep work, priming and drying time involved, so it won’t be a quick and easy process, but that’s next on our DIY to-do list.

Last weekend, we ordered a range hood insert and Lucas built a custom vent hood surround (you can see it here, pre-installation):

I opted for a simple square design, but I’ve got something fun and very unique planned for the finishing touch. I’ve never seen it done before and it’s a big experiment, so you’ll have to stay tuned to see what it is 🙂

The box was built out of cabinet grade 3/4″ plywood and 2×4’s, and attached to the studs.

A hole was cut at the bottom for the vent, which was then attached to the plywood. Easiest DIY ever!

I looked everywhere and found this insert to be the most affordable with the best reviews. It can be vented to the outside or recirculated (with a charcoal kit)—we plan to run the vent up to the roof for maximum efficiency.

There’s still a lot that needs to be done as you can see, but just like every messy stage of life… this too shall pass.

Switching gears to a more personal topic now—let’s talk about motherhood and work/life balance. Our Esmé is almost six weeks old and I will say, no one can prepare you for the shift that happens once they place that baby in your arms. Shift doesn’t even describe it—more like a magnitude 10 earthquake that shakes everything to the ground and forces you to rebuild a new life. I expected this, of course, but didn’t quite expect the massive hormone drop in those first weeks and the complete lack of productivity even though I’m awake 20 hours a day.

Shannon Renee Photo

That second part is what gets to me most—those days, weeks and months on end of constant projects and progress, abruptly coming to an end. They’ve been traded for non-stop nursing, pumping, cuddling and calming. Quite the transition, and I don’t take it for granted, but at the same time I feel disconnected from the world and my old self. It’s tough to scroll through Instagram and see the amazing projects everyone else is working on while ours have been stalled for weeks. It’s hard to stay inspired and motivated to keep going when you’re so exhausted and limited, both physically and with your time.

Shannon Renee Photo

I get the most fulfillment when I’m bringing my creative vision to life and accomplishing goals, and those are on the back burner right now. I worry I’ll never be highly productive again… Esmé will always need my attention during the day, I can only be gone for so long (without paying for child care). I can’t imagine balancing more than one child—I don’t know how you other mamas do it!

Shannon Renee Photo

There are a few silver linings on the horizon, though. Tomorrow I have my six week checkup and hopefully I’ll be cleared for exercise, which means I can finally get out of the house for mommy & me workouts. I am so looking forward to being active again, stepping outside and socializing with other new moms. I know it will be invaluable for my mental health and overall wellbeing.

Shannon Renee Photo

The other hope I’m holding onto is the fact that 6-8 weeks seem to generally be the most difficult peak for newborns (as far as crying, sleeping, digestive issues, etc) and that her sweet little personality will continue to develop. There’s nothing better than newborn coos and ear to ear grins—they’re what keep me going all day!

Shannon Renee Photo

So that’s where I’m at, nearly six weeks into this motherhood journey. More difficult than I anticipated, but I love this baby more than life itself and I know we’ll eventually find our rhythm. And it helps to know I’m not in this alone—I feel such a connection to all of you other mamas!

PS—our photographer captured the sweetest little video for our girl. You can watch it here 🙂

More to come…


Our Festive Fall Front Porch

This post is part of a paid collaboration with Lowe’s Home Improvement. All opinions are my own.

My favorite season is upon us! Even though it’s still 90º here in Florida, that won’t stop me from taking every opportunity to get into the autumn spirit. It just doesn’t feel like fall until I’ve baked something pumpkin and decorated the porch—my two September traditions.

I’m here to prove that you can make it feel like fall no matter where you live! Just crank up the AC, simmer a pot of cider on the stove, and decorate the front porch. Boom, instant autumn.
Remember our front porch at the Riverside Retreat?
We completed that makeover in May, and it has been sitting there (neglected) ever since. I thought it’d be the perfect blank canvas to have some fun with this year, so a few weeks ago I took my first baby-free solo trip outside of the house to find some inspiration at Lowe’s.
They had just started to roll out their fall/Halloween decor, and I thought about getting a few of these faux pumpkins
But I held off and came back last week once the real pumpkins arrived. They had so many options and I couldn’t resist the pastel/natural colored variety, so I loaded up the car!
The straw bales weren’t tagged but I asked and found out they are also for sale, just $6 a piece.
Then I went on a mission for mums…
I was pleasantly surprised to find several options here as well—white, yellow, orange, purple and red, and in a variety of sizes. They came in these festive baskets so I didn’t have to buy separate planters.
My favorite was this large 3 gallon multi-colored mum which I displayed in the most visible location by the door.
These lavender coleus caught my eye in the garden section, so I grabbed two. I think they add an interesting layer to the mix, don’t you?
With the pumpkins and flowers taken care of, I searched on Lowes.com for a few finishing touches, and found this pretty maple leaf wreath for the door.
And speaking of maple leaves… there’s a few maple trees at a park nearby so we took a walk the other night and collected a handful of leaves that had fallen. These might be the most convincing seasonal accessory—you’d never know I was sweating through my clothes in the hot Florida sun while taking these photos! 😉
Every porch needs candlelight—especially when they’re in the form of LED lanterns.
These are perfect for outdoor use and I’ll be able to reuse them throughout the year. So much easier than real pillar candles (most of mine melted on the patio over the summer!)
Last but not least, I couldn’t pass up this woven plaid throw. There’s something about tartan and fringe that immediately makes any space feel cozy.
And there you have it—my key ingredients for a festive fall porch: a wreath, straw bale, mums, pumpkins, lanterns, leaves and a cozy throw. You could even mix it up and add gourds, cornstalks and pinecones, or other fall colored foliage.
Hopefully this inspires you to get in the spirit if you haven’t yet broken out the fall decor, even if it still feels like summer where you live. Just a few mums and pumpkins goes a long way 🙂
Up next: a Riverside Retreat master bathroom update!

Heights House Kitchen Reveal

After over a year of dreaming, planning and building… our Heights House Kitchen is FINALLY complete!

You may remember we started planning the design way back in February 2018 for the original Heights House (RIP) and stuck with a similar layout/footprint for the new Heights House. We worked with Lowe’s to design the custom cabinetry, counters and appliances, which I went into detail on in this planning post.

There were so many elements that had to come together for this room—including coordinating installs with our builder’s team and Lowe’s subcontractors, waiting on special order appliances and scheduling everything in order, and adding our own DIY touches like appliance panels, a custom range hood and shelves, wine cabinet and refinished antique pieces.

The kitchen was the last (and most complicated) room in the house to complete, as expected, so we didn’t mind the wait. All good things take time!

Make sure to read my last progress update for all the details on the custom range hood, appliances and accessories (and more!)

Without further ado, here’s how our kitchen looks today…

For those who were waiting on the results of my rug fashion show post—the winner has been chosen! Did you guess correctly?

I’m in full-on fall mode over here, and the warm tones are the perfect way to get in the seasonal spirit.

I’ve been baking every pumpkin recipe I can find and lighting all the spiced candles. Isn’t autumn the best?

Installing these floating shelves was a DIY project we tackled a couple months back, using Shelfology heavy duty floating brackets and cypress boards from a local sawmill (you can see a few progress shots in my Heights House Story highlights on Instagram)

The shelves are stocked with mostly thrifted/vintage items I’ve collected over the years. You can never go wrong with classic white and wood!

Speaking of vintage… this barrister bookcase was a Facebook Marketplace find I refinished (painted & frosted the glass) and now it’s our pantry storage. I love the contrast it adds!

And then of course we have this vintage beauty, also a refinished FB Marketplace find. We simply sanded the stain and varnish to reveal the natural wood finish.

In this cabinet you’ll find our microwave, toaster, glasses and mugs.

These custom roman shades from Blinds Galore were the very last finishing touch in this kitchen.

I debated on adding window treatments, but I think they go a long way to soften the look of the room and make it feel cozy and lived in!

Of course, I have to mention the focal point in the room…

We waited several months for this beauty to be built and shipped from Italy, and after owning it for a couple months, I don’t regret it. We’ve had issues with a few of the burners not working sometimes (apparently the stove wasn’t calibrated properly) and we’re still working with Hallman to fix it—but it has been great for a few dinner and pizza making parties we’ve hosted.

You still won’t find a similar range at or near this price point, so for me, the savings absolutely justifies the purchase.

How fun is this ladder? We had it custom made by a local metal shop and they did an amazing job. No more standing on chairs to get to the wine! 😉

Just behind the ladder is our dining area. The only thing we bought for this room so far is a dining table

What you don’t see is the mess of boxes and bills and baby gear carefully cropped out of the shot 😉

One day I’ll get around to getting new chairs, a chandelier and artwork for the dining room. For now, I’m just enjoying having a finished kitchen.

And so is Susie, who saw my camera come out and took full advantage of the opportunity.

Such a sweetheart… I love this girl!

I love this shot captured by Shannon during our shoot a couple weeks ago.

And just for fun, a photo my sister took back in April (with a 5 month baby bump!)

We’ve come a long way, baby!

Sources:

Walls: Sherwin Williams Alabaster

French Oak floors 

Cabinets: Kraftmaid Durham Maple Square in Mushroom

Counters: Silestone Calacatta Gold Quartz 

Drawer knobs 

Drawer pulls 

Appliance pulls 

48” Hallman Range 

KitchenAid panel ready fridge

Bosch 800 series dishwasher 

30” VIGO sink

Brass bridge faucet

Brass pot filler 

Wall sconces 

Shelfology floating brackets

Roman shades (Camdyn Pumice cordless relaxed fit)

Hutch & bookcase: antique

Ladder: Custom fabricated locally

Rug

Stoneware plates and bowls

Shelf accessories: vintage, thrifted

Dining table

Alright friends, there’s another pumpkin recipe with my name on it so back to the kitchen I go. I hope you enjoyed our kitchen reveal and it was worth the wait! More fall inspiration on the way…


Our Newborn Family Portraits

Last week I had the pleasure of working with Shannon Renee Photography on an in-home newborn photoshoot and wanted to share our first family photos!

Finding the time to do anything with a newborn is more difficult than I thought it’d be, so I’m so grateful Shannon was able to come to us for an in-home session (she has a studio where she often shoots families, but I asked if she could come to us instead). It also makes the photos that much more special as they capture our day to day life (minus the hair, makeup and wardrobe, of course 😉)

Shannon showed up with a full wardrobe for both mama and baby, which was amazing because Lord knows I have no time to shop for clothes right now!

I borrowed a couple of her dresses, and Shannon took care of dressing Esmé, complete with the sweetest little accessories.

I mean, how precious is this lace romper?! Everyone tells you not to buy any newborn clothes because they grow out of them so fast, but I regret that now because Esmé’s entire wardrobe consists of a handful of plain newborn onesies, and she has nothing cute to wear for photos! Good thing Shannon came prepared.

Shooting newborns is a special skill, let me tell you! Esmé was a hot mess for the first 30 minutes and would not calm down. Don’t be fooled by the angelic face—it was a task to get her still enough to sneak in a good photo.

Fortunately, Shannon was very patient and was able to suggest new poses and positions (and outfit changes) to keep things running smoothly.

Esmé definitely preferred the swaddle!

Her daddy got a smile out of her…

She also got daddy’s blonde hair 🙂

But she has mommy’s nose and lips…

It’s so fun watching her change by the day. Last week she gave us the biggest smile… I swear it wasn’t a gas reflex. I know 3 weeks is supposed to be too early for that, but it was my favorite moment with her so far and we’re convinced it was real!

We’re crazy in love obsessed with this girl.

Sleep has been more of a struggle lately, despite how rested we look in these photos (Shannon must use some sort of magic filter to hide our exhaustion, ha!)

We know the newborn days are fleeting (even though these early weeks can feel like an eternity) so we’re holding on to all the good moments and reminding ourselves during the hard times that “this too shall pass…”

This photo is one of my favorites—look at that squishy kissable face!

We couldn’t be happier with how this shoot turned out. It definitely captures the blissful moments of newborn life 🙂

I hear that one day all of the exhaustion and new parent struggles will be forgotten. It has to be true, otherwise we wouldn’t keep having children, right? 😉

This angel is worth it all. We’re so lucky to be your parents, little Esmé Rose.

And one kitchen sneak peek for you…

Stay tuned for that reveal coming up next! A huge shoutout and thank you to Shannon once again for capturing such beautiful images of our new family and home. We will cherish them forever!


Stylish (Non-Stainless!) Kitchen Appliances Roundup

This post is part of a paid collaboration with Lowe’s Home Improvement. All opinions are my own.

It has been a while since I’ve shared an update on the Riverside Retreat kitchen (we’ve been a little distracted around here) but I’m happy to report that progress is being made! When we left off, the kitchen had been completely gutted…

Last month we had a crew in there to finish demo, redo the plumbing, fix a few damaged joists and repair the subfloor, run new wiring for new outlets and recessed lighting, and install smooth drywall over the textured ceiling.

Then they assembled the cabinets, leaving the doors off of the lowers since those will be painted.

You can find more details about the cabinets we chose in the kitchen plans post.

Now that the cabinet boxes are in place, Lucas has taken on the challenge of custom carpentry work to make everything look built-in. There’s a lot that needs to go into it— including fridge panels, filler pieces, toe kicks, a custom hood, crown molding and decorative trim (not to mention sanding, priming and painting!)

He’ll be spending the next couple weeks there getting as much done as possible before going back to work. We’re hoping to have the whole room finished by the end of October, but we’re also allowing ourselves some flexibility because taking care of our newborn comes first!

One of the most important decisions for this kitchen was choosing the appliances. In my last post I shared that I had decided on Whirlpool’s Sunset Bronze line, and in this post I’ll explain why I chose it along with a comparison of the other options I was considering.

 

It’s no secret that I’m 100% on board with the non-stainless appliance trend. I’ve been sold on it for years and couldn’t wait to completely banish stainless in our Heights House kitchen. This kitchen was no exception, however it came with the caveat of a much smaller budget. Since this house will be a vacation rental and investment property, we have to be more frugal (and creative) with our renovation dollars while still making sure each room feels fresh, timeless and unique.

Choosing appliances in general can feel overwhelming, especially today when there are more non-stainless options than ever before (finally!)—so I’ve rounded up my favorite colored appliance sets available at Lowe’s to help narrow down your search. Heads up: everything is on sale right now!

  1. GE Café Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator – $3249  (10% off through 9/25)
  2. GE Café Double Oven/Electric Range – $3099 (5% off through 9/25)
  3. GE Café built-in Microwave – $2899 (5% off through 9/25)
  4. GE Café built-in Dishwasher – $1369 (10% off through 9/25)

I’m sure you’ve all seen these pop up in your Instagram/Pinterest feed over the past year, and for good reason. They’re drop dead gorgeous, you can customize the hardware, and they’re made by a trusted name and innovator in the space for over 125 years.

The GE Café is a complete line of coordinating appliances including refrigerators, dishwashers, wall ovens, microwaves, dishwashers, ranges and range hoods. The styling is both clean and modern but with a nod to vintage details as well—they really look beautiful in any kitchen.

From what I’ve read and seen online, the consumer ratings are positive and they seem to be a solid investment. You can customize the hardware which is a unique feature to this line, and a major selling point if you’re particular about finishes like I am. When it comes to appliances, you’ll come across strong opinions/experiences on both sides no matter the brand, so it’s important to do your own research on the specific model before purchasing.

If money were no object, I’d get these in a heartbeat (and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate if it were my own home—I did even consider going this route at the Heights House for a minute). For this lower budget kitchen remodel I can’t justify the added expense, but I’d strongly recommend considering these for your own kitchen if you can swing the cost. You can view the full GE Café line at Lowe’s here.

  1. KitchenAid Counter-depth French Door Refrigerator – $2499 (16% off through 9/25)
  2. KitchenAid Electric Range – $2299 (17% off through 9/25) 
  3. KitchenAid Over-the-Range Microwave – $749 (10% off through 9/25)
  4. KitchenAid Built-in Dishwasher – $1099 (5% off through 9/25) 

Next up is the striking KitchenAid Black Stainless suite. This is the most comprehensive line, offering the widest range of refrigerators, plenty of dishwasher options and several range and oven configurations. The design is actually very similar to the GE Café collection, but it has a fingerprint-resistant metallic black sheen rather than a matte finish.

KitchenAid Blog

I highly recommend going to see the appliances in person first, but that’s not always possible, especially with these specialty colors. Fortunately, there’s plenty of photos online which is also a great way to help you visualize them next to different cabinet colors and styles (and don’t forget to look through the ratings/reviews section for customer photos as well!)

KitchenAid blog

If I had black cabinets, I’d definitely look into this suite as an option. It’s a more affordable alternative to the GE Café line, and there’s a wider selection to choose from. We also love the KitchenAid fridge in our Heights House and wouldn’t hesitate to order from this brand again. Check out the full line at Lowe’s here.

  1. Samsung Counter-depth French Door Refrigerator – $3199 (5% off through 9/25)
  2. Samsung Electric Range – $1699 (17% off through 9/25)
  3. Samsung Over-the-Range Microwave – $499 (10% off through 9/25)
  4. Samsung Built-in Dishwasher – $899 (5% off through 9/25)

This appliance suite popped up onto my radar when browsing the non-stainless options at Lowe’s. I was immediately drawn to the rich bronze color and began researching more.

Vintage Revivals

The Tuscan Stainless Steel finish doesn’t offer quite as many options as the other brands and it’s certainly not as popular, but I was able to find one “real-life” kitchen example via Mandy at Vintage Revivals. The color is very unique and the metallic sheen does change quite a bit in different lighting.

Vintage Revivals

Samsung also offers the Family Hub smart technology with a built-in refrigerator screen, if that’s something that interests you. The customer reviews are solid across the board for this line, making it a worthy candidate to consider. For my kitchen, the price point was a little too high, but if you’re in the market for something bronze, there’s nothing else out there quite like it!

  1. Whirlpool Side-by-Side Refrigerator – $1899 (10% off through 9/25)
  2. Whirlpool Electric Range – $2099 (5% off through 9/25) 
  3. Whirlpool Over-the-Range Microwave – $949 (10% off through 9/25)
  4. Whirlpool Built-in Dishwasher – $899 (5% off through 9/25) 

Finally, we have Whirlpool’s Sunset Bronze suite (and what I ultimately chose for our kitchen!) In the end, the final decision came down to price (this was the most affordable counter-depth refrigerator option) but all else being equal, I was most drawn to the elegant champagne color. I think it will be a nice compliment to the gold hardware and add warmth to the room.

Jo Alcorn

With this being a relatively new color launch, I had a difficult time locating many real life examples online to get a true idea of the color. From what I did find, there was quite a bit of color variation and I think a lot of it had to do with the surrounding room and what was reflected in the metal. Fortunately, I found these great shots from Jo Alcorn’s kitchen reveal which sealed the deal.

Jo Alcorn

The Sunset Bronze line isn’t as extensive as the GE or KitchenAid offerings, but all I needed was a counter-depth fridge and slide-in electric range. Bonus: the finish is fingerprint resistant (great for a rental) and the range has Wifi enabled smart technology—not sure if we’ll ever use that but it’s a nice feature to have! The 20.5-cu ft counter-depth fridge I chose has a smaller footprint which is suited for our modest sized kitchen, and practical for a short term rental where there won’t be a ton of cooking.

Jo Alcorn

In my extensive search for actual photos of the Sunset Bronze, I came across this YouTube review along with a YouTube video of Jo Alcorn’s kitchen reveal. From what I’ve seen and read online, I feel confident that these appliances are the right choice for this kitchen remodel and I can’t wait to see them in person!

I hope this post was helpful to those of you on the hunt for non-stainless steel appliance alternatives at a range of price points. It’s a major decision that should be planned out during the initial design stage, right alongside your cabinet color and style.

Keep in mind that you certainly don’t have to go out and purchase a full set of matching appliances! I personally prefer to keep their visual presence limited in kitchens (we’re using a panel-ready dishwasher to blend in with the cabinets) but those can be quite costly. I’d recommend matching at least the primary color and finish of your main appliances so they look cohesive. Smaller items like the microwave can be hidden behind a cabinet/pantry or in an island, so that can be one way to save on costs if you don’t have the budget or need to replace everything at once. Matching your cabinet color to your appliances is another way to help them blend in without interrupting the flow of the room.

KitchenAid blog

Have you ever purchased or considered colored appliances? Do you think stainless steel has ended its reign as the status quo in kitchen remodels? I’m hoping more manufacturers get on board with these new looks and start offering them at affordable price points—can you imagine the design possibilities with a full range of color coordinated customizable appliances? Raise your hand if you agree (and help me DM every major appliance brand to tell them what the people want!)

If you’re hosting for the holidays this year and looking to update your appliances, now is a good time to start planning so you’re all set before the big rush (how is it only 12 days until October?!) Keep in mind that Lowe’s can take care of the installation and hauling away your old appliances so you have one less thing to worry about!

Our new Sunset Bronze fridge and range are scheduled to arrive 10/1, and I’ll be sure to share updates in my Instagram stories ASAP. Join me over there to watch the kitchen progress over the next month…