Lauren Louise Design

OUR LITTLE HOME TOUR

Our First Home, Home TourLauren BraudComment
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Life is a funny thing. The older I get the crazier I realize life is. Just two months after P and I got married, we bought a house. This wasn’t a part of the plan. Sure, we had started saving, and sure we spent most of our weekends driving around with Houston’s real estate app on our phones seeing what was for sale in our dream neighborhoods, but here we were, November 15th, 2017 - a month after our wedding and we were presented with a house we couldn’t pass up: zoned to a great school, juuuuust in our pricepoint, a yard, our favorite neighborhood, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, etc. It was even just the right amount of fixed up - fixed up enough to live in, but it sure has a slew of projects I want to tackle. AKA: not so fixed up I would feel bad ripping out the “new”.

Whenever I start a new project I walkthrough the project with my client and create a list of EH-VER-Y-THING. You might hear this referred to as the job scope, but when we make this first list we make sure we get every little dream down: every doorknob to change, every wall to move, every rug they want to buy. Budget, shmudget. From that point we’ll look at what they feel comfortable spending, what they want to (and can) do now and what might be saved for later. So consider this my dream job scope (and so I don’t become a broken record - all doors, hardware and lighting needs updating, everywhere):

THE FRONT

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She’s a cutie, no denying that. We have a great view from the front porch too - that lot is privately owned but the owner is militant about not selling (we hope for a very very long time). From what little research we’ve done we think our house was built around 1914. We’re in a historic district but we’re considered “non-contributing” meaning little to nothing remains of the original house. Out front it’s pretty much JUST the brick columns you can see in that first image of the porch. Stick around (or zoom ahead, no judgement) to the end and you’ll see an old picture of the house from around 1919. The pipe dream would be to reintroduce some of it’s original character and elements. Other cosmetics: new fence, new paint job, get rid of that fountain (check!), new grass, new planting beds, privacy fence on the side yard. New driveway, new walkway, paint the porch. You know. No big deal (gulp!). I would love a front door that leans a little more traditional bungalow.

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LIVING ROOM

Gosh I have plans for this, but I love this little room. The second I walked in I was like “those built ins need to GO.” But now that they’re styled, I love it. So much storage in the drawers! That wainscot DOES need to go - which is a shame, hoenstly it’s nice but it’s too heavy-handed, and too short for this space! Throughout the house, the current wall texture is best described as “splatter paint”: clumpy, uneven, and aggressive - so someday I would like to skim coat all the walls and smooth it out.

“FRONT” ROOM

This is now our office. I guess the realtor considered it “just another bedroom” so there are no pictures of it before but you can see it through the door there in the living room. The biggest change we made in the house right after we moved was painting the office a DEEP green. It’s also being used as mostly storage still so I can’t wait to share the final product as we get more settled! We really need to get more organized and get rid of clutter otherwise this room will stay the same (though dang I would love to put in a bigger, more “original looking” window).

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DINING ROOM

This archway. So many people love this archway (including my sweet, wonderful husband). But YALL. I need it gone. This little sweet home was built in 1914 - honestly possibly earlier. This trimwork just. isn’t. right. End of debate, one day soon I will rip it out. Any thing else? Of course. Get rid of the chair rail and change out that dang light fixture. Despite what I perceive as imperfections we have hosted my parents, P’s parents, I’ve had potlucks and girls nights and I love this dining room. It’s the heart of our house. I love gathering people around the dining table and this room is the biggest room in the house with the most incredible light.

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GUEST ROOM & GUEST BATH

We’ve been here 9 months and we FINALLY have room for a bed! Sure the room is still 84% glorified storage closet (our Christmas tree is in a box in a corner and my wedding dress/winter clothes are taking up about 1/4 of the room…) but minimizing can be a slow process - especially as newlyweds. We had my stuff, P’s stuff, wedding stuff, registry items, and now that we had a home, our parents were DONE storing our childhood stuff too. None the less, I can’t wait to share my thoughts for this room because, again, one of the most exciting things about having this house for me is having loved ones visit.

As for the bathroom, lets just say it photographs well. I keep saying this will be our first big project in the house: a complete gut. New lighting: we only have that one overhead light), new tub (the current tub is so so shallow I dream of the day we can put in a restored vintage clawfoot). The toilet is TEENSY. The travertine counter grosses me out and the tile job is a joke. Its the one bathroom EVERYONE sees since it acts as a powder room AND the guest bathroom. Plus more storage would be great for cleaning supplies and extra linens.

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MASTER BEDROOM & BATHROOM

Not much to see here folks. I like to keep things minimal in our bedroom. We have since put in a bed, two nightstands and a dresser. For many people (us included) their own bedroom is the last thing to get designed because only they see it. I’ve pinned a few things on my Pinterest boards but nothing has hit me yet. I would love to one day put in two windows that would flank the bed instead of the one behind the bed (yep, thats the only decent head wall).

The master bathroom is a time warp ya’ll. Literally checks every box on the mid-2000’s flip house checklist: Brown color scheme, oil rubbed bronze hardware, neutral 12x12 tiles, granite counters, vessel sinks, glass accent tiles. Check, check, check. However, it’s a big bathroom by historic home standards having been a part of the 8’ addition off the back. You can’t tell but there are actually two vanities in the space, and the toilet has it’s own little room. This bathroom is completely functional until we decide to tackle it. In a perfect world this would come in the form of another 8’ addition ;).

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KITCHEN & LAUNDRY

This kitchen was a HUGE selling point for me. The space is so generous for a house of this era it allows for so much possibility. This would be of course a complete gut job in the future - new layout, new everything and running a gas line. We are considering some small upgrades before then that would make us love it more for now: new lighter backsplash tile to brighten the room, a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets, hardware (I hate the feeling of clawing open my cabinets with my bare hands) a cool temporary island, and getting rid of those dang floating shelves. We have slammed our heads on them TOO MANY times.

The laundry room is behind those double doors in that little hallway. Eventually I would like to open it all up completely and put in french doors to the porch. Until then the laundry room is, again, pretty big! As the other half of the addition off the back, at 8’ x 6’ it’s a huge opportunity for storage. I plan to get some ikea cabinets for now, move the microwave and wine fridge in there to clear up counter space in the kitchen, and just make very efficient use of the room. Adding a fun wall paper is on the mental checklist too!

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BACKYARD/PORCH/SIDEYARD

Just like the front, we have a huge covered porch off the back. We have a good size yard and a little storage shed (no garage - typical of this neighborhood). We have no plants in the backyard except for an extremely prolific pecan tree - please send any recipes my way…

P and I love spending time outside so some of my main design focus has been out here. We would love a lounge area/firepit, a dedicated space for a grill and smoker, a large (and preferably expandable) dining table under twinkle lights, and shade tolerant plants galore. Our side yard gets the most sun and this is where I dream of adding a couple raised beds and some citrus trees. I love the idea of having a kitchen garden.


All in all we love our little home and I can’t wait to bring you along on our journey as we fix her up. Now, as promised, here she is when she was brand new:

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A neighbor gave us this photo along with a letter from one of the original owners dated 1919. In the letter they talk about the “steal” they got the house for at just $3000. Their mortgage was a whopping $35/month and they rented out one of the original two rooms for $15. This photo and the letter are so special to us.

A NATURAL & NEUTRAL HOLIDAY PORCH

Inspiration, Shopping, Holidays - WinterLauren BraudComment
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Its the Monday after Thanksgiving and hopefully your turkey and stuffing hangover is but a distant memory. Holiday decorating is in full swing in our household and now that we have a porch I’m excited to take the warm and welcoming spirit of the holidays outside. Our previous apartment’s outdoor decor maxed out at a little wreath on the door but now I have so much more room for activities! I’ve rounded up the items in my cart and included links below to create the perfect modern-meets-traditional vibe. If you’re quick you might even get in on some of those cyber-monday deals (I know I did!).

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WREATH | I love the look of this asymmetrical wreath from Target. Draped with these brass bells and a big buffalo check bow it’s the perfect updated and festive door adornment

MODERN CHAIRS | Again with Target - they can really do no wrong. I’m looking to upgrade from our inexpensive, lightweight tan adirondack chairs to something a little more substantial. The color and shape of these black, modern adirondacks is just so good, and I love the wide arms as a secure place for setting my cup of coffee (or glass of wine!)

WELCOME MAT | I have had my eye on this plaid natural fiber mat for a while and at around $10 with the current Cyber Monday sale I couldn’t pass it up.

OUTDOOR RUG | Layering doormats is a simple way to add texture or color to your doorstep and helps a simple doormat feel even more welcoming. This black and white stripe outdoor rug is a best seller for a reason (and currently 20% off - you best believe it’s in my cart!)

PAINT COLORS | This may be a long shot but if I get the chance (and a sunny weekend) I’m hoping to do some permanent updating to my porch as well. Currently we have a not-terrible-but-not-ideal brown colored porch paint and I think this grey deck paint, paired with Benjamin Moore’s Super White trim and Pratt and Lambert’s Pale Cadet Blue on the porch ceilings will freshen things up juuuust right. Updating the house paint little by little has been on the to-do list for the entire last year…

PRE LIT GARLAND | It seems like every Christmas there are even better and more beautifully realistic garlands on the market. To get the most bang for your buck save the spendy, realistic stuff for inside where you’ll be seeing it up close - your mantle, around your front door (McGee and Co and Ballard have great options). I personally am buying a couple of these pre-lit 20’ garlands to drape all over the place outside.

PILLOWS | To keep things cozy and bring in a dash of color and pattern pillows are always a great choice. I love buffalo check during the holidays, it’s such a good fall and winter pattern that you could leave these pillows out from September to March and it would still be cute. And that lumbar from Pottery Barn is my favorite plaid of all time (why yes I do have the matching monogrammed mugs for my hot cocoa - and yes they DO make a great gift for everyone).

PLANTERS | Vintage stoneware makes the perfect pot for a mini tree. The one shown is from…of course….Target, but I plan on picking up a live 3-foot-tall tree from one of my local shops. Etsy has some beautiful options for similar stoneware crocks - search “Ten Gallon Vintage Stoneware Crock” - and make sure to check that the size works for the space you have. I love these little galvanized planters to add in another relaxed element - empty or with a few sprigs of greenery!

I hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration as you’re hauling out all your holiday decorations! I know I can’t wait to get everything up - these cold nights always feel warmer with the twinkle of mini-lights! If you think you need more than just inspiration for decorating this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out - I have a few spots open for some hands-on holiday decorating help!

BEST OF: HEARTH AND HAND

Best of, ShoppingLauren BraudComment
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I'll admit I was hesitant the check out Hearth and Hand - the new collection from Chip and Joanna Gaines' that launched at Target earlier this week. I don't really need anything and our tiny apartment is SO overcrowded as is, but then oops I was in Target making a return, I clearly blacked out, and woke up with 3 ceramic houses in my cart. We've all been there. So, why not share some of my favorite pieces from the collection so you can make the same wonderful mistakes I did? Now, I've heard some complaints about the monochromatic feel of the collection but isn't that so inline with Joanna's signature style? This collection is edited, simple, and just the essentials. The handmade, natural feel is completely on trend and no one but Joanna could have created a successful, budget friendly version of the California-cool minimalism that has taken instagram and pinterest by storm.

What I'm Loving:

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I think the entire dinnerware collection is magical - I love the organic hand-moulded look of these pieces. The incorporation of black throughout the collection is refreshing; with the overabundance of bright white interiors these days a few moments of black help to anchor a space. The vases are all amazing, particularly the metal boxes that include a grate on the inside to help support the florals, making arranging a breeze. Now, I've seen the smoked glassware trend a few places this season and these pretty glass vases are spot on. These oversized glass vases would be gorgeous used as hurricanes with a big pillar candle (or a couple) inside on a front stoop or on your patio! (IRL NOTE : I tried to put candles inside the vases at Target today: the openings are too small! You would need skinnier-than-normal pillars - I still think it would be really pretty so if you DO try this let me know.) I wish I had wood floors because this tree skirt is fabulous (just not on my beige carpet, sigh, one day). I should have put these pot holders on my "I'm going to buy" list because the more I look at them the more I need them in my kitchen. Striped? Leather details? Yes and yes. Finally this log storage house is hands down my favorite piece in the collection. I wish I had more reasons to keep firewood around the house here in Southern Texas. 

What I'm Buying:

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This sweet little black house budvase will live on my desk at work. Same with this handmade-look mug for pens and such (any excuse to buy a new mug). I may really need this tote - at $35 it's perfection (sold out online but still in some stores...and a totally affordable dupe of this one from Nissolo).  This sweet little brass bell door hanger was the very first thing I bought - it makes the prettiest sound (and I've hung a similar-to-this looking wreath from a past Threshold Christmas collection on it. And yes I already hung up my Christmas wreath. What?) Oh and those salt and pepper shakers somehow jumped into my cart too. They'd make a perfect little stocking stuffer or hostess gift.

I know I left out almost all the Christmas stuff. That part of the collection just didn't do it for me, but that may have been because I already have way too much Christmas decor. If I was starting from scratch I might be more inclined to buy some. The bags and wrapping are fun but in the end skewed too rustic for me. Overall the collection is very Pottery Barn-esque, but at a far better price point. Now it's your turn! What are your favorite pieces? What are you CRUSHED already sold out?

ANTHRO SALE

Lauren BraudComment

I was going to write about my office today. The office I don't have but I'm so close to having. It seems like such a spoiled thing, but it is HARD to not have a dedicated spot to sit and focus and work. The post (which you're totally still getting Monday btw) was going to be full of all the most beautiful office supplies I could find - which I am very close to buying like yesterday. But today there is a 25% off all sale at Anthropologie and I could pass up the opportunity to dig through all the great things, and find you the best great things. Anthro is one of my dream resources. They always have the most interesting things (and the most beautiful velvet furniture always) that you didn't even know your home needed. Granted, you'll also pay oh-so-much for them which is why a sale on a sale is appreciated. Lets get to it friends! 

First up are some big ticket items that, if you're in the market, I highly suggest. 

These next items are all under $100 - which is pretty huge at Anthropologie. I would honestly be buying those pulls right now if I didn't already have gorgeous stone & gold pulls from Anthro past season. I actually think the pulls they sell may be one of my favorite things to buy - talk about instantly upgrading a thrifted or hand-me-down piece of furniture.

Of course rugs had to have their own category, and narrowing this down was serious work. I would definitely check out the entire sale because this is just a small fraction of the gorgeousness they have on sale. I have to say though, that first floral rug on there I need in my bedroom ASAP. Imagine stepping out onto that in the morning. there is no way you could have a bad day after that.

So run! Go! Buy! And tell me what you get so I can live vicariously through you! It looks like even from when I made this roundup they have added new things to the sale section! Even better! Don't forget to check back in Monday for a status update on my office....if I'm lucky and I work really hard this weekend, it may even be ready to move into by Monday!