Reader Design: Hannah's Stunning Home Reno

If there was a home that personified that term "a picture is worth a thousand words," it's Hannah's. This total renovation project in Dallas, Texas isn't the first one for Hannah and her husband Chayce, who recently started a renovation business called Blank Slate Renovations. They got their start early - in fact, Chayce flipped his first home when he was a senior in high school! Life took them from Texas to England and back again, and in the process of moving around, they had a sort of awakening:

More and more, we’re becoming convinced that we were all made with special talents and unique gifts. True joy and lasting fulfillment aren’t far behind when you couple these with your profession—I think some of the best products come from these individuals. It’s almost like you become the truest and most natural version of yourself, and the products you create are just an extensions of who you are. Our goal for Blank Slate Reno is that we wouldn’t even be able to call it work, but that it would be more like play.
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The home was completely opened up and updated with mid-century and Scandinavian elements, plenty of interesting architectural elements, and some bright colors to keep things interesting. 

 
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For this particular project, my favorite piece in the entire house was an original midcentury fireplace (that we bought from our friend Craig off his List…;) that we placed in the living room and paired with a fun pink cement tile. We also experimented with a few new elements such as wallpapering, and wall panelling that turned out fab!
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The experimentation has certainly paid off, even if it took some time.

Five years ago, I didn’t really have a specific aesthetic style, and when we first got married...I’m too embarrassed to even talk about it. Over the past four years of being more thoughtful and intentional about my look, the more my style has developed and evolved into what it is today. At the moment, Scandinavian minimalism particularly intrigues me. I love how blending neutral palettes, organic materials, natural lighting and live plants blurs the lines between the outdoors and indoors.
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But even as styles and tastes change, the goal remains the same, whether you're designing for yourself or for a client:

My goal for most spaces is to create something simple and beautiful, while at the same time maintaining functionality and relaxation. Natural lighting, green plants and cozy nooks are key!

Hannah, we can't wait to see where you take Blank Slate Renos next; and thank you for letting us in to your home! 

Follow Hannah along on Instagram at @blankslatereno.

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Reader Design: Oksana's Charming Home

A home is nothing if not a place of love, and love is clear in Oksana's home in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The family home, which Oksana shares with her husband and their baby girl, is full of European charm in the middle of the South.

Oksana fell in love with interior design in July of 2015, when she and her husband bought a 1930 bungalow that was previously abandoned for 20 years. Since then, the couple has worked to bring the house back to life, tackling DIY projects like nobody's business and documenting the fun renovation adventures on their blog, Foxy Oxie

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From Oksana:

I wouldn’t say I have a particular style, but I am drawn to an aesthetic of clean lines and geometric elements juxtaposed against more traditional silhouettes. The key, for me, is balance. I want our home to feel sophisticated but also real and honest and truly reflective of our everyday life, especially now that we have a young daughter and another little one on the way. I find that playing up opposing styles – feminine and masculine, soft and edgy, modern and traditional – is a great way to showcase personality in design.

I am a compulsive redecorator by nature, and my style is ever-evolving. But I always, always gravitate towards a neutral color palette with lots of texture. Every now and then I’ll add in a pop of color – the latest being a moody teal – but it never lasts.

More important to me than a specific style, however, is the overall feel of our home – and that’s something that is based on individual design intuition and varies greatly from person to person.
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You’ll find a lot of European design influence in our home – from our Italian cantilever dining chairs to the French-inspired dining table to our Chesterfield-style sofa.
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I know first-hand the transformation nature of a well-designed room. Our surroundings have the power to instantly lift our spirits, increase productivity and improve our quality of life. Beyond the aesthetics, I strive to make our home feel relaxed – and a big part of that is maintaining a clutter-free environment. You have to give rooms breathing space. For example, I am one of those rare individuals whose countertops are (almost) always empty. Decluttering sprees are a regular occurrence in our home. And as much as I love arranging pretty vignettes, I am not a fan of displaying decorative tchotchkes for the sake of filling a space.
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Instead of knick-knacks, Oksana gravitates toward more permanent fixtures.

I am very particular about our light fixtures and am always willing to splurge for just the right one. Lighting is truly the jewelry of a room, and just like a well-designed piece of jewelry can instantly elevate a rather simple outfit, light fixtures have the same effect on a room.
 
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Every room is full of love, yet simple; graphic and bold, but timeless. Perhaps it's the combination of Oksana's career as a graphic designer and her family life as a wife and mother that brings balance to bear. Regardless of the reason, it sure has created a beautiful home!

Oksana, thank you for the tour today! 

Follow Oksana and her family along on Instagram at @foxyoxie.

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Design Reveal: Ali and Brian's New Nest

Hello, friends! I won't even bother trying to hide my excitement for today's post - it's a design project I've been looking forward to sharing with you since JANUARY! And in January, all I was looking at were these photos:

While these images represent a DECADE of dudes on rotation moving in and out, the potential had my heart fluttering at first look. But not just because of the potential for some really fun design - this is the second time getting to work with our dear client, Ali! You may remember Ali's Navy Yard condo, (bedrooms here)? Ali was absolutely amazing to work with the first time around - she let me dream big and come up with risky ideas that required HER execution! She's a total go-getter and when she's happy with the design, she will make it happen. So I knew going into this one that we could do some big fun things!

But the very best part of this particular design project is that it represents an incredibly precious new chapter in Ali's life. Ali moved into this space with her fiance, Brian! They tie the knot in about 6 weeks and we sure couldn't feel happier for these two lovebirds. Brian has lived here for 10 years and when Ali came onto the scene, she wasted no time transforming this long running bachelor pad. But combining two full lives under one roof proved quite the challenge! Their many, (maaaaaany), books needed ample storage space, their desire to entertain and host friends needed room to do so, and even the task of joining their individual styles together required some creative thinking. Brian prefers warmer colors, (hence the mustard yellow walls and red rugs), while Ali enjoys a lighter, airier space with room to breath. We used a lot of neutrals and blue tones throughout her previous condo and she expressed early on that she didn't want this home to look just like her last. 

Let's take a look around!

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Brian works from home a good bit and uses the bay window in the living room as his office. So while table space and comfortable seating for his meetings were important, we were also weary of the space looking too much like a dining room. It can certainly double as dining space when need be, but thoughtful chair selection and styling was crucial in executing this space as a definitive work area.

Before

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I am the LUCKIEST girl to have a business partner like Cate who can come in with fresh eyes and style these spaces out on shooting day. There were some odds and ends to finish up here before we got pictures and it was such a relief to know Cate would bring the shelves to life with her thoughtful touch. We've done this enough times now that she understands my style, she's prepped on the vibe of the space, and works her magic to create groupings that make sense in the surrounding room. There was A LOT to work with in here and she hit the nail on the head. It doesn't hurt that Ali herself has acquired some really fun goodies to play with! Not only does she have the greenest thumb among us, she has a careful eye for art, photography, and pretty little things. It was a lot of fun to be hands on in this space after 7 months of selecting everything from paint to picture frames!

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The first thing I started brainstorming for this space was storage. I knew I wanted to add storage to both sides of the fireplace, (which is, indeed, off center -  your eyes aren't messing with you), but one side is narrower than the other. Asymmetry doesn't bother me in the least so when I plugged two side-by-side IVAR cabinets from IKEA to the left side in the digital floorplan and saw that they were a perfect fit, I decided to just run open shelving up the right side. This solution makes absolute sense given that Brian's work area is on that left side and he really needs the extra storage space there. I wanted to have the IVAR cabinets floating over the floor by about 8" for a modern, custom look, and cannot express enough how much I love, love, love how they turned out! Ali and her handy Dad hung the shelves and they created the mantle from a DIY tutorial we found on Pinterest, (which they brilliantly added a notch in from behind to hide cords)!

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If this isn't your first StyleMutt Home design reveal, you might be noticing a recurring element - moody mossy green, and specifically green velvet, (examples A, B, C, D - walls and sofa for a double whammy, E, F - you get the point!). And those are only a few that we've photographed so far! As a young designer with an itty bitty portfolio, it can be risky to reuse an element over and over. Will that signature move be well received or turn people off? I've used this element both subtly and obviously in various jobs and it's just my favorite! Dark green was first inspired by my love for nature and the beautiful shades of green I see right outside my window. I view it and use it as a neutral and love how it adds a touch of earthiness! It's not right for every space, but somehow it finds its way in to quite a few!

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When we got down to the final details and Ali was ready for pillows, I got a little carried away! But with all that we had going on across the room on the shelves, I wanted to balance the space with some weight on the sofa. I had A LOT of fun with the pillows. :)

And if you want to know what's behind the door that the couch is blocking, you'll need to take that up with Sweden. Apparently this old building in DC belongs to them LOL!!! All I know is that no one needs access to that door and it's the only wall in the room to place the sofa, (and with the dimensions of the room, floating the sofa is not an option). I only tell you this because I have already had one designer question this layout with a comment: "Sofa in front of a door?" I get it, it's not ideal, But this is DC living, folks. Old, quirky buildings with odd elements that you just have to work with. I worked with it by adding an oversized mirror to one side of the door and mounting a good sized sconce to the other. When the conditions are not ideal, you can always fall back on scale and at least get that right.

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Before

 
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Recognize the art? It was over Ali's sofa in her last place! She took that photo in Cambodia and framed it herself!!

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This sweet alcove is right off the kitchen and is perfect for dining and game nights. Nailing down exactly how Ali and Brian wanted to use this space was crucial and I had a couple different ideas for it. But when comfortable seating and dining height table space became priority in this narrow space with only two walls, it made sense to add a banquette and round pedestal table. A Craigslisted cabinet stores games and defines the space, along with a cozy rug and soft leather chairs. And more pillows - I'm telling you, I've never had more fun with pillows!

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The bedroom is a quieter extension of the main living spaces - layered texture and pattern take on a more neutral vibe with the strong statements being the brick and green velvet covered headboard.

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There are pleeenty of gorgeous lush green velvet headboards out there, but with a perfectly good headboard already in place and a willing Ali to recover it herself, I found this delicious mossy velvet on Etsy for her to use - this is a much more cost efficient solution but the results are dramatic!

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One of the sweetest surprises in here was when they removed the makeshift desk that had been built over top of the window seat! It was something we had spent quite a bit of time discussing when they gave me the Facetime tour during our consultation, and at the time they weren't sure it could be broken down. But they made it happen and it completely opens this room up! I have a special place in my heart for window seats so this element just puts a smile on my face.

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The last stop of our tour is the back room which doubles as Ali's office and their guest room.

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A rolling desk floating in front of some Billies, (bookshelves from IKEA), make this an easily transitional space when guests come in town.

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It's bittersweet to be at the end of this amazing project and to be done working with Ali and Brian. I cannot express enough what a gift it's been to get to work with them, (and with Ali TWICE). I said this last time, but she makes us look DARN GOOD! It's so hard to get projects to the finish line as things come up in our client's lives, (as we, too, experience and more than understand), so connecting with someone who cares just as much to see things through, even moving mountains to do so, just means the world. Fortunately we have had the pleasure of working with several like minded clients this year, so this reveal is the beginning of a short chain of finished projects we will get to share with you! We hope you enjoyed this one and we can't wait to share more soon!

Thank you so much for stopping by today!

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