LAUREN LOUISE DESIGN

CREATE A HOME WORTH LIVING LIFE IN

6 PROJECTS FOR THE LAST 6 MONTHS OF 2019

Our First HomeLauren BraudComment
6before2020Title.jpg

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

The halfway mark is here folks. At the beginning of the year I wrote a draft of a blog post I never published titled “20 PROJECTS BEFORE 2020” Lofty indeed. Needless to say given the way the year has been going things around my house have been on hold in favor of client projects and growing my business and slipping in a little life-enjoying in between. However, when I posted my home tour (see it and pictures of all the spaces below here) I got several requests asking what smaller things I will be doing (especially to my kitchen) to make me love my house more as we save up for larger renovations. With each item on this list I’ve included some of the items we’re considering adding and my favorite tools for accomplishing the task at hand just in case you have some of your own projects you want to finish up!

1. FRESHEN UP & ADD STORAGE TO THE LAUNDRY ROOM

I’m looking for easy, not-too-expensive solutions to update our laundry room. I imagine it as more of a butlers pantry where we could also store countertop appliances, our wine fridge, and serving dishes. This would free up more space in our kitchen helping that feel a little less hectic and clearing off our counters. I’m even considering stacking our washer dryer so we can gain some much needed counter space. All of this would require some demo of existing (useless) shelving, paint, some IKEA cabinets, and a butcher block counter. A bigger project would be replacing the double doors into the laundry room with something like this, or taking out the wall entirely turning it more into a “nook” than a room - allowing for more elbowroom in the hallway to the backyard.

S H O P T H I S P R O J E C T


2. New KITCHEN BACKSPLASH

Right now our kitchen backsplash is….dull. Its a matte, slate look, 6x6 tile that was poorly installed over what appears to be the original backsplash (yes, TWO layers of tile). The grout is crumbling so there is a constant coating of grit on the counters. Its a mess. Luckily my mom is a WIZ with tile and it would be easy enough to rip it all out and put in some fresh white subway tile. This isn’t my forever backsplash so I’m looking for something I can love for 3-5 years (but nice enough that if we sell before we get to the full reno, it improves our house value). A white backsplash would help bounce light around our little one-window kitchen.

S H O P T H I S P R O J E C T


3. hang a new dining chandelier

Right now we have a horrific semi-flush straight out of the early 2000’s. It barely gives off any light and is honestly depressing, if a light fixture can be called depressing. We’ve been talking about remedying this from day one. The lights below are all being considered…I’m so ready to replace it but I guess we have to decide on a chandelier first.

S H O P T H I S P R O J E C T


4. remove chair rail in dining room and paint

I have not done much drywall patching in my life. I’m particularly scared of this item bc it could look HORRIBLE. However I have been considering board and batton wainscotting in this room so if I really do mess it up…I will just cover it up. The current trim work in this house is horrific. It’s mismatched throughout, it’s over the top, and it’s like an assualt on your eyes. This is a 1915 craftsman people, get out of here with these 1995 turned columns and fluted trim. Yuck.

S H O P T H I S P R O J E C T


5. Paint the master bedroom and bathroom

After the ultimate success of the brighter white in my guest bathroom it’s time to tackle my bedroom. I would even consider painting our bathroom vanities (currently a dark, matte charcoal - which sounds pretty in theory but is heavy and overbearing in reality). If I get really crazy I might try to replace the cabinet doors and drawer faces too. They, too, were victims of the flippers obsession with aggressive trim carpentry.

S H O P T H I S P R O J E C T


6. Seal all exterior holes and screen in under the house

Last but not least a not-fun, but necessary maintenance issue I’ve been putting off. We recently had an exterminator out to deal with some critters in our attic. He informed us that because our house is a balloon frame we have openings under the house that extend all the way up our walls into our attic and that if we don’t seal those off he can never guarantee that we won’t keep getting critters. Oh and he also isn’t the guy to seal off the holes. Cool. So we’re on the hunt for someone to come put some galvanized mesh around the interior perimeter of all our walls under our house. While we’re at it I’m going to go around the outside perimeter with foam sealant and caulk and close up every little hole I can find. Water and bugs you are not welcome here!

S H O P T H I S P R O J E C T


BONUS!

I’ve already done a little work in our powder/guest bath - mostly “good enough for now” projects like a new mirror and hardware, a fresh coat of paint. I’m on the fence about ordering a new light fixture but if we could really revamp this bathroom by the end of the year: *praise hands*. If we cant gut it just yet I would love to experiment and test some of my hand(wo)man skills: painting the tile floor, putting a feather concrete finish over the existing countertop, and replacing the toilet and sink faucet.

IT HAINT BLUE, IT HAINT GREEN

Wrightwood, Paint, HistoryLauren BraudComment
PorchClgTitle.jpg

It’s summer in Texas and everyone is thinking about long evenings on porch swings with a glass of something cold. This post has been making the rounds on Pinterest all over again so I thought I would update it with some of my favorite paint colors and a little more history on the tradition of painting porch ceilings blue.

Punny title, I know. This post is all about that elusive porch ceiling color: haint blue. The weather here in Houston is getting HOT and summer is in full swing (aka Jasmine is blooming and flash flooding occurs just hours after you were tanning by the pool) and what better time to talk about Wrightwood's pretty porches.

As southern as sweet tea and gumbo, haint blue has a colorful history that reaches beyond our shores and has a rich tradition in cultures outside our own. Some say painting porch ceilings blue keeps wasps from nesting (and that actually used to be the case, back when a toxic additive was mixed in with our paint colors), other say it keeps evil spirits at bay ("haint" is the Guhlluh pronunciation of "haunt" - and these haunting spirits couldn't cross water - often in the Caribbean you might even see door frames and window frames painted blue as well), or that a sky blue ceiling prolongs those warm southern evenings - tricking your mind into thinking the sun isn't sinking quite so fast at dusk. Whatever the reason, those who grew up in the south have learned to associate a pale blue porch ceiling with hospitality, charm, and southern comfort (the feeling....and possibly the liquor...).

A Gulluh house in South Carolina

A Gulluh house in South Carolina

As with all things at our flip house (belovedly known as Wrightwood), we tried approximately 2,518 different options or at least thats what it felt like. In reality, after scouring paint books, we settled on four blues, something just short of a miracle really. The best part was that one of those pretty blues had a very special name (I can hear my Dad still "Do not pick a paint color based off of it's name." ) And while I'm the first person to tell you picking a color simply because of it's fantastic name isn't the best idea, I know all the women in my audience have picked a nail color because the name made you picture a beautiful sunny day at the beach. No harm, no foul - but you also know, just because it makes you happy doesn't mean it looks great with your skin tone. Therefore, I did my due diligence and tested out each of the colors on the ceiling of the porch. 

This is without a doubt an incredibly important part of the process - colors change entirely on the horizontal surface of a ceiling. The light bounces in unexpected ways. I was looking for a color that was subtle; fresh and bright without being overpowering, though still very clearly blue. Lucky for me, the color that turned out to be perfect, also turned out to be the color with that very special name: Lauren's Surprise! (Hey Dad! It was meant to be!). I'm proud to announce that the ceiling color adorning the Wrightwood porches is named after me. Thanks Sherwin Williams!

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when picking a porch ceiling blue. Haint blue is a tricky color, but the simple answer is to pick something that goes with your house and your personality. If you love looking at it when you sit on your porch swing in the evenings with your sweet tea, you can't go wrong. 

We're one step closer to being done with the house - or at least getting to the fun part. Keep checking back, things on the inside are moving fast now. 

These are some of my favorite blues to paint a porch ceiling - I can’t stress enough testing out a few options on your own before making a decision but this is a great place to start whether you’re looking for subtle or bright!

Best-Blue-Colors.jpg

6 REGISTRY GIFTS WE STILL USE EVERYDAY

Weddings, ShoppingLauren BraudComment
Photo (of my bouquet!) by  Gloria Goode Photography

Photo (of my bouquet!) by Gloria Goode Photography

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Wedding season is upon us and while I’m no longer a newlywed, weddings are still a feels-like-once-a-month occurrence in my household. We’ve attended two weddings already this year (down from three this time last year) I know of at least two people who will be getting engaged in the coming months, and my very best friend and soul mate is getting married in February. All this to say: weddings are still very much a part of my life.

P and I received so many beautiful and thoughtful things but these few items have been our ride or dies, day in and day out:

1 | Stemless Wine Glasses

When I say I use these everyday, I mean everyday. Somehow we ended up with 14 of them, but we’ve used them all. From dinner parties to my everyday water drinking adventures. They’re a great size (almost 12 oz), sturdy, dishwasher safe. We use them for wine (duh), margs, water, juice, even small floral arrangements. I love these simple, beautiful glasses. I am all for something that can serve you multiple purposes.

2 | A Great Vase

We received a beautiful dark green glass vase. It lives on my dining table and is often elevating yard clippings and grocery store flowers to centerpiece status, but it even looks good empty with a pretty candle. Since we got it I haven’t been able to find the same one again (believe me it would become my go to wedding/housewarming/everything gift). But I’ve linked a couple similar ones for you that have the same feel. PLUS they’re less than $3 a piece!

3| Marble Lazy Susan

Honestly I registered for this because we had a round dining table in our last place and I thought it would be so pretty in the middle. Now it lives on our coffee table as a large tray that holds all sorts of things: remotes, florals, candles, coasters, and a little decor. I don’t have to get off the couch to reach one or the other, just turn the susan. While I love them as trays this marble one would look good in a kitchen counter corner corralling frequently used spices and utensils, on a shelf in your open pantry, or of course, on your dining table.

Registry.jpg

SHOP THIS POST

4| Electric Kettle

Let me preface this by saying when I registered for this I wasn’t a big tea drinker. I think I had tea drinking aspirations but honestly I use it constantly. I use it to make my matcha every morning, hot cocoa in the winter, instant oatmeal, french press coffee, and I love being able to offer tea to guests and have it ready so quickly! It’s so easy - especially compared to my previous microwave-a-cup-of-water-until-it-boils method. This is so much classier.

5| A Great Comforter

Specifically THIS comforter from Pottery Barn. It’s linen on top and satin underneath. Cool in summer and just warm enough for our Southern winters. It’s light and fluffy and I love the look of the linen. Can I describe a comforter as scrumptious without you unfollowing? I’m doing it anyway.

6 | Hands Free Trash Can

When I wrote the thank you for this I told the gift giver that they changed my life. Not having to touch your trashcan when throwing things away (or in my case, when your hands are covered in kitchen goop) is amazing. Warning: the habit of just waving your hand over the can will become engrained and you will look like an idiot doing it to other peoples’ trashcans, however then you have an opportunity to tell them about your life altering robot trashcan and then you can be that person who talks about her trash can at parties and social gatherings. In all seriousness. Register for this trashcan. OH and it comes in rose gold.