Lakehouse Kitchen

July has been a busy month for me so I didn’t get out to any stores to do my monthly fun finds post, but I’ll do an “End of Summer” out and about post next month to satisfy your inspiration needs! In lieu of the monthly series post, I’m coming to you with the first blog post featuring my family’s lakehouse. My parents recently purchased this brand-new build and as you’ll see below, it’s not exactly what you think of when someone says “lakehouse”! There was little to no renovation or remodeling needed since it was brand new, but the kitchen – while gorgeous – didn’t have a backsplash. That’s where the family handyman (aka my husband) came in.

The finished product!

Seriously, how beautiful is this kitchen?! And while I failed to take a picture standing behind the island, trust me when I tell you that there’s an amazing view of the lake right outside. Aside from the new backsplash, the kitchen needed nothing but some decorations. The cabinet hardware, light fixtures, appliances, and quartz countertops were already there.

However, one thing that this kitchen lacked was a backsplash. There are a few inches of the dark gray quartz countertop on the wall as sort of a psuedo-backsplash but the wall above and behind that countertop lip was simply plain. My mom really wanted to do a backsplash so we could bring in some depth and variation to the area.

Kitchen before the backsplash.

We decided on a simple marble tile. The color variations within the tile itself really help to add to the uniqueness of the design. The tiles are laid out in a simple brick pattern, but those color variations keep the backsplash from looking too basic.

This backsplash took Nick about a day to complete when everything was said and done. He had to measure and cut the tiles (including around each outlet), lay the tiles, grout the backsplash, and extend the outlets so that they would lay flush on the new tile. Would you believe this is only his second time doing this?! The first tile backsplash he did was in our kitchen last year. I promise that I’ll do a blog post dedicated to our kitchen remodel soon!

Now onto some fun details in this lakehouse kitchen. These are quite possible the sturdiest but comfiest barstools I’ve sat on. You know how sometimes you go to sit on a barstool and you kind of have to wiggle your way onto the seat and then scoot it back under the bar or island? You don’t have to do that weird dance with these stools. I also love the juxtaposition of the warmth of the wood with the galvanized metal legs.

Exact barstools currently unavailable. Here’s a great alternative.

I’ve always wanted a sliding barn door in my own house so I love that there’s one in my home away from home. The laundry/mud room area is just beyond that door so it’s nice to be able to close it and separate it from the kitchen. The wood tone of the door also complements the barstools nicely and helps to tie in some warmth and a little bit of farmhouse to an otherwise very modern kitchen.

Kitchen runner found here.

Speaking of farmhouse, how about this farmhouse stainless steel sink? Something small but super functional is the grate at the bottom of the sink. Not only do I love the slightly industrial look, it’s great to stand dishes or glasses on without fear of them tipping over. I also like how you can run water in the sink without glasses falling over since they’re resting on the grate. I know it’s a small, silly thing but I don’t think I’d get a sink without it now!

Even when you have a gorgeous canvas to start with, a small personal touch – like a backsplash – can make a huge difference. If you’re thinking of doing a small cosmetic update to your kitchen, a backsplash is a great and relatively inexpensive way to make a big change!

xx, bk

Backyard Deck Remodel

This post is a long time in the making. We started over a year ago on this remodel and we weren’t able to enjoy the deck at all last summer, but we are more than making up for it this year. We couldn’t be happier with how this DIY deck remodel turned out! All furniture and decor sources are linked at the end of the post.

Our deck today !!

The next few photos are “before” and progress pictures. I’m so glad I took “before” photos because now it’s hard to remember how the deck looked prior to this project. If you’re doing any home remodeling or even just freshening up the decor in your home, it’s such a good idea to take “before” pictures. Then you can really see how much of a difference you’ve made!

I cannot underscore enough how much I detested this stain color. I know it’s a popular deck stain color, but I don’t like reddish undertones in any stain. I much prefer the warmth of a deeper, richer color. We also didn’t like the way the boards were laid out. Having the boards laid diagonally really made the deck’s footprint look much smaller than it actually is. We decided to lay the new boards horizontally not only to make the deck look larger, but to also be more visually appealing. You can see how weathered the stain is in this picture. We weren’t sure when it was last treated, but it had to be YEARS ago.

Initially, we were thinking of replacing only the boards that were rotted or otherwise unstable and then just stripping and sanding the remaining boards prior to staining, but once we got in there, we saw that the deck was in rough shape and since we wanted to change the layout of the boards anyways, we just removed and replaced them all.

Here’s a glimpse of my live-in handyman 🙂

We left the actual shape of the deck as it was and we also left the railings since they weren’t in that bad of shape. We replaced the floor boards with all new pressure-treated 2 in x 6 in pine boards.

One of the smartest decisions we made was to paint the railings instead of staining them to match the deck. Because we were using new boards for the deck floor and keeping the existing railings, we were nervous that there would be a difference in the stain color between the new and existing boards. Full disclosure, this wasn’t my idea. I need to give credit where credit is due, and this was all my husband’s idea. So, we painted the railings white and decided to stain the new boards.

We used a semi-solid stain to stain the boards because we wanted some of the wood grain to show through. We also thought that a semi-solid would wear better than a solid color since some of the wood grain will show anyway. We finally finished the deck in September 2018. It took a lot of planning and a lot of sweat (primarily because we chose to do this project during the hottest months of the year last year!), but it was so, so worth it.

Finished project: September 2018.

By the time the actual remodel was finished, summer was nearly over, but I took advantage of the Labor Day sales last year to purchase our outdoor dining set. It stayed in the box for about nine months, so I had some trouble remembering what it looked like (ha!) but once we put it together this summer, I remembered how much I loved it. The cushions are not super thick, but they are comfortable. I like how the seat cushions on the chairs without arms have a velcro tie so they don’t slip off the chair. The surface of the table is a black mirrored table top. It adds depth and is more unique than your standard clear, glass tabletop.

I added these navy and white striped outdoor pillows from HomeSense. The cushions and pillows are water resistant, but I like to put everything in a deck box to preserve the life of the items. The deck box is actually on the ground right behind the grill. I linked it at the end of the post and I would 100% recommend this particular deck box. We’ve had a lot of rain and there hasn’t been a drop of moisture in the box.

I also picked up this lantern from Target. I put an LED candle inside that you can put on a timer so it will automatically light up at night. I had no idea that the product name for the lantern was actually “Wood and Woven” until I linked it for this post, but it’s the perfect description. I like the use of classic outdoor materials in a fun and modern design.

This cantilever umbrella was steal from Home Depot. These umbrellas can easily cost almost $1,000 believe it or not, so I was thrilled to find this one at just over $200. You have to fill the base with water or sand to keep it grounded and we’ve had no problems with it tipping over even in high winds. The umbrella itself is easy to operate and provides a lot of coverage. I chose the “sand” color to complement the color of the seat cushions.

I love this outdoor rug so much. I went with the largest size (9 ft x 12 ft) so it would fit nicely under the table and you would still be able to see the pattern. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I always bust out the tape measure when I’m ordering rugs. You don’t want a rug to overpower any space but you also don’t want your furniture to overpower the rug. In the case of rugs, size definitely matters. We have had tons of rain but also many hot, sunny days here in Northeast Ohio this summer, and this rug has not faded from the sun or become damaged from the rain. The tassels on the ends are a fun addition and we all know how much I love texture so this was a great find.

We also replaced the existing lights on the deck with solar powered lights. The old lights were somehow connected to this little transformer box that kind of hung down from the side of the deck and we could never get them to work. These lights look great and since the lights are solar powered, we never have to worry about turning them off and on.

I love the contrast in these next two photos. The first photo is from the realtor’s website from before we bought our home. The second photo is taken from the same viewpoint and is what that view looks like today (albeit without the wide angle lens)! I get so happy looking at this contrast because I know just how hard my husband worked to remodel our deck and the end result is just such an amazing difference.

I did want to get some planters for the corner of the deck, but I never got around to it and the next thing I knew, it was the middle of July! That’s the great thing about indoor or outdoor home decor and design, you can add to or remove items from a space to create a whole new look. I would love to bring in some flowers and really brighten up with deck with colorful blooms – and I still may – but I wanted to get this post up for inspiration while we’re still in the throes of summer!

As always, thanks for reading!!

Sources: Dining set: Wayfair | Rug: Target | Lantern: Target | Umbrella: Home Depot . Unfortunately the exact umbrella is sold out but here’s a good alternative | Solar lights: Amazon | Deck box: Menard’s | Stain: Sherwin Williams

xx, bk

June: Out & About

This post is coming to you guys a little late, but I have a good reason! I’m spending the holiday week at my family’s lake house in Michigan and I promise a blog post showcasing this gorgeous house in the near future, but this month I went back to Homegoods to see what I could find.

Melamine dinner plates and salad plates. Melamine bowls. Olivewood salad serving set.

This woven tray actually came home with me. It’s the whole reason I went to Homegoods in the first place. I needed to find a large tray to take items from the kitchen to the deck. Homegoods had a bunch of great outdoor trays but I liked the large size of this tray and the metal handles.

There’s so many woven outdoor trays out there but a lot of them are the brown or natural color (which I love) but I was really feeling this round, black tray. Personally, I think it’s a little too chic to use just to transport plates and utensils, but a citronella candle, outdoor lantern, and mini succulent would look great on it!

Homegoods had a lot of these covered trays with the netting that protects food from bugs. The tribal pattern on this particular tray really pops.

How cute is this palm leaf platter? I was thisclose to buying it. It has a nice weight to it, but it’s melamine so it’s nearly shatter-proof and perfect for the outdoors. I was also debating between this tray with the leather handles and the one I ultimately bought with the metal handles. I’m telling you – if you need a woven outdoor tray, head to Homegoods immediately !!

Remember in last month’s Out and About when I profiled planters from West Elm and CB2? I found this planter at Homegoods for a fraction of the price. This small planter is a great dupe for this one from CB2.

It wouldn’t be a monthly fun finds post without a faux potted plant. Homegoods is a great place to buy these because the plants are so realistic looking and you can’t beat the price point! I stock up on faux greenery since it’s so easy to add it to existing decor.

I loved this footed tray. The iron legs were a nice contrast to the warm wooden top. Footed trays are so versatile, too. They can be purely decorative or if the top if food-safe, like this one is, you can even display and serve desserts on it.

This hand soap reminded me of this cult favorite soap from Nordstrom. This soap is so much cheaper than the one at Nordstrom but it smells just as good. Plus, at 32oz, you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Homegoods has a pretty decent selection of lamps. I love that you can just unplug one and take it with you! The rattan accent and wooden base on the first lamp would look great if you have nautical vibe in your home. The navy and white lamp would also work in a nautical theme, especially if you don’t want it to be too obvious.

Homegoods is a great place to find little decorative accents for your home like this wooden ball and thin vase. I like to pick up little accents like this when I’m out and about and store them at my home even if I don’t have a place to put them yet. These kinds of items are great for decorating bookshelves.

I love a textured neutral throw. When you decorate with a lot of neutrals, texture is a good way to bring in some variation. Homegoods also had a fantastic selection of textured neutral pillows, too. I wanted to buy all of the pillows I’ve featured below, but I value my marriage too much to bring home yet another throw pillow!! Ha!

How amazing is this mirror?! No wonder the store featured it so prominently! If you’re looking to make a statement in a foyer or bedroom, this is the mirror for you. I love decorating with mirrors because they can make any space look instantly bigger and more open.

And finally, let this be a lesson: ALWAYS get the big cart. Even if you don’t think you’ll need it or you think a smaller cart will force you to buy less. This is how I was living at Homegoods last week. I almost took out a few other shoppers when I turned the corner!

Homegoods is one of my favorite places to look for home decor. The price points are great, the selection is never the same, and the decor is on trend. Can’t get much better than that!

xx, bk

Bookshelf & Console Table Styling

Console table found here.

A month or so ago, I got a question from my cousin about how to style a console table in her foyer. It got me thinking that maybe the styling of console tables and shelves is deserving of its own blog post. I think that a well-styled table or bookshelf can really add to a room’s decor.

Custom framed couple portrait

I like to do groupings on either side of the table and bring in some height for balance and symmetry. For an entryway table like this one I also like to do a lamp, a candle, a small decor item, a framed personal photo, and greenery or floral stems. The lamp, candle, and framed photo add warmth while the faux greenery and decor add some personality to the area. Another must-have with an entryway console table is storage. I emptied these two woven baskets for the photo but they typically contain extra candles (because, of course), lighters, extra lightbulbs, various TV cords, etc.

I’m sure you’ve seen #shelfie on Instagram and I, for one, am here for it. Styling a bookshelf is a really simple and fun way to ease into home decor. There are so many different ways to style and organize a bookshelf. If you know me, you know I read A LOT, but I’m mostly into e-books nowadays. So, my bookshelves now look a little different than they used to, but I’m still holding on to a few law school textbooks because I’ve found they make for some great decor!

I received these ladder bookshelves as a housewarming gift from my parents when I bought my first house ten years ago and they are still going strong today. A classic shape like this doesn’t go out of style – and in fact, these exact bookshelves are still available at Crate and Barrel! I placed the pair of bookshelves on either side of an arched wall which separates my living and dining rooms. Each of the bookshelves are styled differently but contain some of the same elements in an effort to bring balance and symmetry to the space.

I always like to stack books in varying heights and directions on a bookshelf so each shelf doesn’t look so uniform. If you’re someone that has a lot of books, a fun way to organize your shelves is to sort the books by the color of their spines.

I also like to put pictures, framed photos, or small decor items on top of the stacked books. You can add height that way and also fit more decorative pieces on the shelf by utilizing the vertical space. Don’t be afraid to leave some empty space on the shelves. It’s much more pleasing to the eye to see little groupings than a crammed, disorganized shelf.

This bookshelf is on the opposite side of the arched wall. As you can see, some of the same elements are here: the dried hydrangea, law textbooks, framed photos. But the shelf is arranged slightly differently so the two bookshelves complement each other but don’t match perfectly.

One of my favorite and most treasured pieces on this shelf are my Grandpa’s old law school textbooks from the 1940s. No matter how many times I re-style these shelves (which is somewhat often!) these will always have a place.

One of the best things about console tables or bookshelves is that the possibilities for styling are endless. You can change up the items for the season, for the holidays, or just because you’re sick of what’s currently displayed! Styling shelves and tables is truly one of my favorite decor projects. Take a #shelfie and tag me @_bkhome on Instagram !!

xx, bk

May: Out & About

For this month’s “out & about” I decided to do something a little different. Instead of physically going into a store and posting about what I find inside, I decided to stick with one area of decor and source those finds in two stores that I have a design crush on: West Elm and CB2. I had wanted to go into West Elm and take some pictures, but this month flew by and I can’t believe it’s already June! This month I’m focusing on planters — big, small, indoor, outdoor — whatever you’re in the market for, I’m sourcing for you. Plus, I’m personally looking for a few outdoor planters to complete my deck remodel and I can’t wait to share the finished product with you guys!

Tabletop Planters

First, let’s take a look at some tabletop planters. Tabletop planters are a great way to bring some greenery into your home and an easy way to decorate any surface. I love small tabletop planters grouped with a framed photo for a quick, easy vignette.

Hanging or Wall Planters

A fun trend in home decor is the use of hanging or wall planters. I love a hanging planter as an alternative to a piece of art. An easy way to incorporate this into your home is in your bathroom. A small hanging or wall planter is a nice option in a small powder bathroom where a piece of artwork may be overwhelming.

Indoor Floor Planters

Floor planters are so versatile. You can use a large floor planter as a focal point in any room or you can use one to fill a corner in your home where a piece of furniture may be too bulky. I also like the idea of using baskets as planters – but make sure to have a plastic tray inside to catch the water!

Outdoor Planters

These are the planters that I’m really on the hunt for. I want to group a few outdoor planters in varying sizes in a corner of my deck and fill them with various flowers and greenery for a pretty, striking visual. I will definitely feature it on the blog once I get it done!

I know this was a little bit of a different spin on my monthly series, but I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed putting it together! Happy shopping!

xx, bk

Covered Patio Refresh

Patio set found here.

My last post about outdoor furniture really inspired me to get my own outdoor furniture out of winter storage and onto my covered patio. While I won’t be sitting outside daily for a bit since it’s not consistently warm and we currently have a THICK layer of pollen covering every square inch, this furniture is a nice reminder that summer is around the corner!

I purchased this five-piece conversation set last September during the Labor Day sales. We had just finished renovating our deck and decided to take advantage of the deals at that time since we weren’t able to really use our outdoor space the majority of last summer. We didn’t redo the concrete pad on this covered patio at all, but I still wanted to freshen up this space that connects to the deck.

The chairs have a very modern look and feel to them with the dark gray wicker and the box shape. The chairs are deeper than they look and you can sit and lounge comfortably in them. The ottomans are quite large and can double as additional seating.

This small side table that came with the set is the perfect size to go between the two chairs. I usually keep a succulent of some sort on this table for a pop of color. This particular succulent planter is faux, but once the weather warms up, I will likely make my own succulent planter like I did last year. It’s super easy to do and succulents are so low maintenance. I really liked the geometric pattern of this planter and it ended up complementing the patten on the rug nicely.

Rug found here.

Speaking of rugs, I absolutely love this rug I bought from Target. Target is really killing the outdoor furniture game this year. They have a really nice selection of neutral, modern rugs — which, as you all know, is right up my alley. I wanted to keep both the rug and the furniture somewhat neutral so as not to compete with the brightly colored hanging baskets and planters I plan to put out in the next few weeks when it warms up!

I purchased these pillows from HomeSense when I was there taking pictures for my April: Out & About blog post. I spotted one pillow as soon as I walked in the store and spent the rest of my time there trying to find another one. You never know in stores like that if there’s more than one of an item, but I was lucky to find two of the same pillow! I like how the pillow brightens up the chair without being too showy and you can never go wrong with a classic striped pattern.

This is the view from the side of my home. You can see that the area is mostly covered and is directly adjacent to the deck. We have plans to at least repaint the concrete but we haven’t gotten around to it just yet and to be honest, I’m not sure we will! I was so happy with how this little arraignment looked though, that I couldn’t wait to share it even if it’s not 100% finished.

This part of my home faces east, so it gets great light in the mornings. It’s the perfect place for a morning cup of coffee or an evening cocktail. If you have the space, I would definitely recommend multiple small seating groupings in an outdoor space. It makes it easier to entertain and is a good way to bring an indoor feel outside.

I’ll share the rest of my outdoor space soon. I still have more items to buy and flowers to plant! But for now, if it’s sunny and above 60 degrees, you can find me out here, under my covered patio, with a beverage and a good book!

xx, bk

April: Out & About

We’ve had some really beautiful Spring days in Northeast Ohio recently and it has me looking forward to spending those nice days on our remodeled deck!! I’ll do a post dedicated to our deck soon, but in the meantime, I took a trip to HomeSense to check out their selection of outdoor furniture and decor. If you haven’t heard of HomeSense, it’s a home goods and furniture store within the family of brands of TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and HomeGoods. I would put HomeSense at the top of the list both in quality and price. I’ve found that HomeSense has more furniture and rugs and less of the smaller decor items.

HomeSense had a really great selection of outdoor dining options. I’ve never seen an outdoor table with a marble inlay like the one above. It was nice to see a different option than most outdoor dining tables I’ve seen that are either entirely metal or entirely wood.

HomeSense also had a great selection of outdoor chairs. The chair above has a nice modern shape and the colors are neutral enough so as not to compete with your other outdoor decor.

This chair by Tommy Hilfiger is one of the best Serena & Lily dupes I’ve seen. It looks almost exactly like the high-end version of this chair which costs over $200! This chair at HomeSense retails for only $80. This could also work indoors as a kitchen island stool or around a dining table.

I just loved the unique design of this chair. The shape of it kind of reminded me of a Chinese food takeout container! I think it would look great as part of a small conversation set on a patio.

I was drawn to the round shape of this table and the matching rounded edges of the chair. I probably would swap the thin cushion with a thicker, more comfortable option. A good trick with outdoor cushions which don’t have ties and slide off easily, is to attach the cushions to the chairs with Velcro strips. That way you can remove the cushions for inclement weather or for storage, but once they’re on the chairs, they’re secured.

Okay. I am really living for these tropical leaf print pillows. I love my neutrals but these would add a nice pop of color to an otherwise neutral outdoor furniture palette.

HomeSense had a lot of outdoor poufs, as well. A pouf is a nice alternative to a traditional ottoman. I like poufs because they’re less “formal” than a traditional ottoman and you can mix and match the poufs with your chairs for a more curated, less matchy-matchy look. The ones I’ve shown are neutral enough to work with a variety of outdoor decor schemes.

I really liked this trio of woven planters. I probably would buy either all three or one tall and one short and keep them grouped together. Fill them with brightly colored flowers and put them in a corner of your patio or deck and I think they would add color and height to your outdoor space.

This planter is really tall in person. While unintentional, the faux succulent peeking out from behind the planter actually looks pretty good. I would fill this planter with something similar — green and tall, real or faux — for a striking visual.

The round shape of each of these planters would definitely lend a more modern touch to any outdoor space. The large, white, round planter would look pretty filled with flowers spilling over the sides. I haven’t really seen a lot of the semi-circle planters in stores. I really liked the look of them and may have to swing back and pick them up when I plant my flowers in the next few weeks!

Ginger jars are having a moment right now and this garden stool is no exception. I like using stools like this in lieu of an actual table. You could also use it as a plant stand or simply as a decorative piece.

This may be the largest citronella candle I’ve ever seen. Citronella candles are a must if you’re spending time outside and this one doubles as chic decor.

This footed hurricane was interesting to me. I’m not 100% sure it’s made for the outdoors, but I would get a couple of these with fake flame candles and put them atop a large outdoor dining table.

HomeSense had a lot of these rattan trays. I think they’re perfect for carrying snacks and drinks from your kitchen to your outside space. They’re also pretty enough that you can leave one out with a citronella candle and small potted plant — instant table decoration!

I really liked HomeSense for outdoor furniture and decor. They had a wide range of styles and at varying price points. If you’re in the market for new outdoor furniture or you want to add some new updates for this upcoming season, I would definitely recommend swinging by HomeSense!

xx, bk