Reader Design: Jan's Eclectic Quarters

And just like that, my week of California vacation has come and gone. I know it was hard getting through last Friday without a Reader Design tour to gawk at, but at least you had Chelsea's home update to keep you company! Did you miss it? Check it out here

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming... with Jan's Eclectic Quarters!

Jan and her family live in Upper Arlington, OH in their stunningly decorated home. Fun fact: my boyfriend is also from this adorable area just outside Columbus, so I can vouch for its family-orientation and charm. Those qualities have absolutely carried over to the styling of Jan's family home. 
From Jan:

I am not able to describe my style simply perhaps because it is not simple. I would describe my style as modern, colorful, crisp, comfortable, and kid-friendly with touches of bohemian. All those words don’t seem like they would mesh, but that is exactly what our home has become. I’ve created this style based around feelings. I adore a space that is well thought-out and styled but comfortable to be in. I want my family and guests to feel this in my home.

She creates that comfort using rich textiles, white space to ensure the colors she uses are really seen and add to the space, and meaningful pieces. 

In my living room, I could not live without either my live-edge coffee table or geometric rug. I love the meaning behind my coffee table, as my father-in-law made it for us, and the warm feeling it brings to the space. And the multi-colored geometric rug just encompasses my style to a tee!

Let's break down this space in Jan's kitchen. It almost perfectly illustrates the meshing of all those styles Jan mentioned - bohemian, modern, crisp - and even some she didn't - traditional, Scandinavian, rustic. I am a total sucker for beadboard paneling. I will have it someday, somewhere, somehow; and I just love the way Jan uses it to anchor the dining nook. Paired with the light fixture (quick aside, how refreshing to see something other than brass!!), it's the perfect spot for the kids to tackle homework or to enjoy dinner together. 

Clearly, Jan is quite the style mutt; but just because you're a mutt doesn't mean your design identity changes on a whim! No, Jan definitely knows who she is and what she likes.

I do get a lot of inspiration from trends but will find myself always asking these questions: ‘Will I love this in 5 years?’ and ‘Does this fit my style?’

I try to look at all design inspiration as an option, but I have learned what to weed out based on what works and does not work with my style. A trend that I have fallen for in the last year is greenery. I am a new plant lover and appreciate the life, texture, and color plants add to our home.

Jan, we think you're navigating this crazy, inspo-ridden world of design we all love like a champ. What a beautiful home to raise your family in! Follow Jan along on Instagram @spicysaltysweethome and her blog, and while you're at it, check out her awesome photographer @loribaskinphotography.

See you next week! 

A Sweet Buffet with Boho Edge

Well how about that snow, Northeast peeps?! God is just a magnificent Creator, isn't He. The kids will probably be out of school until March so if you've got any favorite indoor activities to share, send them forward! :)

Right before the holidays this past Fall I came home with a piece that wasn't really my particular cup of tea. And it definitely wasn't what I was looking for. What I really had a hankering for was to refinish a credenza or a china cabinet, like this, or this. But everyone's got an Achilles heel of some sort and mine happens to be long and low pieces that are less than $100. These days that's a hard find to come by. But my budget is important and something I do my best not to bend too much because my intention is to produce beautiful, affordable furniture for those looking to fill their homes on a slim budget. With prices on used pieces rising significantly, I've realized I need to bend my expectations of what I'll find in my price range, rather than my price range. And if I'm going to take on pieces that aren't my style wheel house, well then I just need to work extra hard to bring them up to speed!

What really bothered me about this piece originally was this decorative ivy. I mean, why?? I just didn't understand why it was there or how it added anything to this piece that already seemed to have a lot going on, (fancy legs, chunky hardware, freckled wood). My first step was going to be sanding it down and getting the surface smooth and ready for paint. But then something strange happened.

Not only did I not even try to hide the ivy, I went to painstaking measures to carve it out during 3 sittings in freezing cold temperatures in my garage shop! Maybe it was brain freeze, but I suddenly wanted to see the ivy carved through white paint, accented with aged brass hardware.

I think it was the desire for a challenge that lead me to maintain the original look of this piece but in a really cool bohemian chic way. And I knew that to pull this plan off it would come down to the styling. Because a white piece of furniture with carved ivy and brass pulls is still just a white piece of furniture with carved ivy and brass pulls. Are you with me?

I styled the sweet thing two different ways; one more clean and edited, and one care free and over the top. Here's a looksie!


I used my favorite earthy palette of rich browns and rust tones to bring out the sophistication of the piece. The hardware was a critical choice and I went through three different options before deciding on this set. I wanted the aged brass to stand out and the rich colors styled with the piece here do that well, I think.

A chunky woven tray from Target containing clay potted plants and wooden candle sticks still speaks that laid back boho language, but with subtle formality. Like with a British accent.

I didn't over-distress this piece as I've been doing more recently, but rather focused on the edges and corners to highlight the unique details and shape of the piece. Still, I love a well worn surface so I took a little extra off the top just for fun. I really should read Jane Eyre. I use it for styling enough.

Since pieces like this are sought out for their versatility I didn't do anything to alter the interior! The storage makes this a fantastic piece to be used as a dresser or dining room buffet, while the center compartments also add the option to place shelves where the drawers are and use the piece as a media center!

The second way I styled this piece was really for me. Hah! If I ever have a dining room buffet, whether in our current house or a future one, I'd use it just like this: An in-home greenhouse.

Man, watering would be SO much easier if I kept all these guys together regularly!

The carved ivy just fits right in with the real ivy cascading out of the drawer. :)

This piece was a really wonderful learning experience for me in taking something I wouldn't normally refinish and putting my style into it. It's a more feminine and sweet piece than I'm normally into, but feminine with a dash of daring is just smashing.

I absolutely adore this ivy. Who would ever consider covering it up?? ;)

Piece now available
73.5"L x 30.5"H x 18"D

Thank you all so much for coming by!