LAUREN LOUISE DESIGN

CREATE A HOME WORTH LIVING LIFE IN

10 PIECES TO REFRESH YOUR HOME FOR SPRING

Season - Spring, ShoppingLauren BraudComment
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Today is sunny! Today is seventy-two degrees! Today is the first day of spring! I feel like I can’t even believe it, I have my windows open and my mind is on items to freshen up my home for Spring. These are some of my favorite items ever (that candle? a secret favorite that won’t set you back too much in the pocketbook!)

1. A fresh wreath for your front door

I change wreaths every season. Wreaths are friendly and welcoming. I’ve had my eyes on this olive wreath from Pottery Barn, but I’ve been known to head on down to Hobby Lobby and make my own if I can’t find what I’m looking for!

2. My favorite baskets for tidying up the linen closet

Can’t go wrong with the container store. I personally have a few of these white woven and lined baskets sitting in my linen closet holding extra sheets and towels, and a few more sitting in my online cart.

3. And the best labels

Sturdy, changeable, and they clip right onto the baskets above

4. pillows can absolutely change a room

I love this antelope print, classic and beautiful. A lumbar is one of my favorite go-tos to making a bed look perfectly put together.

5. While we’re at it how about some NEW linens

P and I received this linen silk blend comforter as a wedding present, it’s perfect. The linen is beautiful and the silk lining feels so lovely. Even better its the perfect comforter for the spring - keeps you warm on cool nights and breathable as the weather warms up.

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6. Fresh Flowers for your dining table

…Or your powder bath, bedside table, or coffee table. Ya’ll I can’t stress enough - if you do nothing else to your house for Spring - head on over to Trader Joe’s and grab a bouquet of fresh flowers. Fresh blooms infuse life into even the darkest room.

7. A pitcher for margs (or your flowers!)

A beautiful pitcher means you’re not running back inside to the blender as you enjoy these longer nights outside on your porch (and it’s chicer serving out of a blender - not that there is any problem with that in a pinch!). And flowers always manage to fall perfectly when placed in a pitcher.

8. My. Favorite. Candle.

Bold claim. I know. I adore candles and don’t get me wrong - Le Labo, Jo Malone, Diptyque - are great, but come on $60 and up. However this is my secret - the glass glows beautifully when lit and all of Crate and Barrel’s scents are perfection.

9. Cleanse every little corner with sage

Even better this Sweet Grass & Selenite Smudge Stick from Amber Interiors comes tied up with a stick of selenite - they say selenite increases creative energy and cleanses

10. a greener, cleaner…er…cleaner

I use Murchison-Hume in my home. The trifecta of cleaning products - good for the planet, effective, and gorgeously packaged. I need my cleaning products to look just as good as the counters they’re cleaning.

ON THE BOARDS: AN EQUESTRIAN INSPIRED BATH ADDITION

On The Boards, ShoppingLauren BraudComment
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To say I’m excited about this project is BEYOND an understatement. When all is said and done we will be adding a guest suite, wine closet, upgrading the kitchen, and hopefully updating the master bathroom as well (someday). This project had been an absolute joy to undertake. Nestled in the redwoods and vineyards north of San Jose, this is the dream forever home - not to mention the dream jobsite visit. I flew just over a week ago to make final selections in person - we’re on a tight timeline from start-to-finish, the contractor says once demo starts he thinks he will be done in 5 weeks! We spent three days picking tile, plumbing, the vanity, the lighting - all while the contractor was ripping the original room apart, fixing plumbing and insulation and foundation issues - so we are swinging right along!

The homeowner rode hunter-jumper when she was younger and maintains a passion for all things equestrian still. When I visited in early August, about 3 months after they purchased the home, we walked over to the neighboring property and fed the horses pastured there. Will you LOOK at these sweet faces?

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And yes, it IS that gorgeous out there. This is what we started with: the house is a 3 bed/two bath with a large, open-to -the-entrance space that was added to the house by converting one bay of the garage into an indoor, carpeted, office/catch-all. I proposed breaking it up into a fourth bedroom, a secondary guest bath that doubles as a powder room, and (most importantly haha) a wine closet.

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You can see from the pictures above that we had one big room with a large cased opening to the entry and a tray ceiling with a HUGE brass chandelier. Closing this off will make the entrance feel more defined instead of a rambling, open space. The only items staying in the room will likely be the pull out sofa and the coffee table. We’ll find a smaller less obtrusive desk and hide away all paperwork in the new closet. I digress though because this is about the bathroom. Design wise we stuck to elevated, warm neutrals that pull from the surrounding landscape and keep with the modern-rustic feel of the house. But then we found this stunner of a leather-wrapped mirror at Arteriors and everything came to life.

1. Wall color: Benjamin Moore  Classic Gray , Trim Color: Sherwin Williams  Snowbound  2. Studio McGee Gray Dipped  Vase  3. Horse head  hook  (similar) 4. Wall Tile:  Chloe 2.5x8 ; Floor Tile:  Clive 2” Hex ,  12”x24”  5. Circa Bryant Bathroom  Sconce  6. Arteriors Powell Large  Mirror  7. Target Hearth & Hand  Grey Stripe  Towel; Studio McGee  Abby Stripe  Hand Towel 8. Hearth & Hand Orange and Amber  Hand Soap  9. Kohler Devonshire  Faucet & Accessories  10. Fairmont River View  48” Vanity  11. Parachute Home  Waffle Robe

1. Wall color: Benjamin Moore Classic Gray, Trim Color: Sherwin Williams Snowbound 2. Studio McGee Gray Dipped Vase 3. Horse head hook (similar) 4. Wall Tile: Chloe 2.5x8; Floor Tile: Clive 2” Hex, 12”x24” 5. Circa Bryant Bathroom Sconce 6. Arteriors Powell Large Mirror 7. Target Hearth & Hand Grey Stripe Towel; Studio McGee Abby Stripe Hand Towel 8. Hearth & Hand Orange and Amber Hand Soap 9. Kohler Devonshire Faucet & Accessories 10. Fairmont River View 48” Vanity 11. Parachute Home Waffle Robe

Check back here in a month or so and we’ll hopefully have some gorgeous “after” shots for you to peruse!

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!