Reader Design: Ashley's Adorable Abode

Friends. It's Friday!! Can I be honest? This week dragged. It was a serious struggle, and all I'm craving is a night in without my computer or phone. I need to unplug - and yes, I realize the irony of that statement coming from someone who just returned from a week-long California vacation. 

So, we're going back to California and checking out Ashley's gorgeous home - which, given an exciting turn of events, is soon to be on the market after Ashley and her family found a perfect plot of land on which to build! 

Her home is a gorgeous blend of rustic, modern, traditional, and eclectic. 

I think my style is unique because I am so eclectic. I love mixing blacks and blues together. I throw florals in with about every mix, and while I am very eclectic, I think everything flows well and it doesn’t feel harsh. I am constantly inspired by different aesthetics, places I travel to, and by people I admire.

Ashley's design philosophy also harkens back to the humble beginnings of StyleMutt Home, when Chelsea put her all into Craigslist hunting and furniture refinishing (don't worry, that's still a critical component of SMH!). 

I’m a bargain shopper at my core, a lover of garage sales and Craigslist, and am always searching for that hidden treasure. I have a passion for “recreating” pieces. I love hunting for the pieces that people can’t see beyond what is just sitting in from them... but I see the potential.

And seeing that potential has allowed Ashley to create a home that is carefully crafted, but so comfortable. Can you all just imagine a quiet Friday night in here, cuddled on the couch? Raise your hands. If you can't see it, mine is touching the sky. 

The kitchen was largely renovated, but Ashley strategically decided to leave one thing as-is: the butcher block island. For someone who doesn't tend to follow trends, Ashely saw this as a way to incorporate trends on a whim. The island isn't always green; Ashley treats it as an accent piece and paints it all the time!  


There is one thing trends are really good for, though, and that's exposing us (or rather, inundating us, as it may feels sometimes) with new ideas. Trends make it easy to identify what we like and what we don't like. Of course, the flip side of the coin is that once we find something we love that way, it may ultimately fall out of favor. 

For Ashley, the trend she fell in love with was the gallery wall concept. We've seen a lot but Ashley's is particularly because of what it centers around: her family. 

I love my gallery walls. Especially the one of the family. It brings me joy seeing the kids faces up in our family room. It was such a pain to hang, since it was the first one I ever did, and I made a lot of mistakes. But those suckers are in and not moving; in fact, I used earthquake glue to keep them in place!

Best of luck to the new owners on getting those earthquake glue marks off the walls!! I jest. But seriously, Ashley, you will most definitely have to call us in the future to check out your new home. Congratulations!

Follow Ashley along on Instagram @arrowsandbow for more!
And be sure to follow along with Cate, Chelsea, and I through our design busy season - we're just getting started!

Kitchen Makeover! ||Again||

Hi All! I've been so excited for today forgive me if I whiz through and show too many photos. The truth is, I've kept something from you - our kitchen! It's been the sore spot in our home for a while now and the last time I shared it was several years ago when I painted all the cabinets and a chandelier in chalk paint. I thought it was great at the time! But we didn't have a happy ending. Let's recap:

Phase 1: Prior to moving in we painted our kitchen walls aqua blue. This space doesn't get a whole lot of light so I thought a pretty color would do wonders. Phase 1 also included removing our cabinet doors?? I don't know. But props to myself of 5 years ago for taking night time pictures that would eventually turn into solid 'BEFORE' pictures. I mean, as far as before pictures go, the worse the lighting the BETTER, right?!

Phase 2: I discovered how easy chalk paint was to work with and chalk painted every cabinet and a yard sale chandelier. Upper cabinet doors went back on and we finished with a high five.

This didn't end so well for us. Even after sealing and resealing, old cabinet bleed through was only the beginning of our problems. With three young kids who are only 'yay' high, (that's a universally understood height, right?), our chalk painted cabinets absorbed every grease smudge,  finger print, and foot print, (yes, foot print - the kiddos scale up the cabinets to reach the sink to wash their hands). They were impossible for me to keep clean, (and I specify 'for me' because I know others who are much more on top of keeping up with their cleaning, and perhaps don't have young children climbing up their cabinets).

So the chalk paint was a no-win for us. But it wasn't just our product choice, it was color. I've really come into a style groove with our home which has felt very natural and enhances all the sunlight we get. Our house is nestled in such a way that although we back right into a woodsy yard, we also get a substantial amount of natural light at any given time of day. My go-to for this particular house is to get down to a white canvas, add in some natural wood elements, snaps of black, and a subtle mix of metallic. Various colors come and go as the seasons change, but that's my basic formula and it has worked marvelously for every room. With the aqua walls and creamy off-white cabinets that our kitchen was rocking before, it felt very out of place in our house. My goal with every room is to play up it's positives and try to distract from it's negaatives. The result after the chalk paint debacle did the opposite - it didn't enhance anything!

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!

Same layout, same mismatched appliances, same cabinets - but a few little change-ups and this space feels fresh and new! Here are a few examples of some lesser appealing aspects of this room which have been greatly improved by this makeover:

Bummer: Unfinished, shortish cabinets - These 35 year old builder grade cabinets which don't even have some of the finishing touches of current day builder grade cabinets. With our vaulted ceiling, the cabinets appear to stop short - both at the top and at the bottom with no toe-kick.
But wait: By using the same exact paint color on the walls AND cabinets, the line between the cabinets and wall is blurred, and their unfinishedness doesn't seem so obvious. 

Bummer: Little natural light - this room is fairly closed off from the rest of our main floor, with just the window over the sink streaming light directly in.
But wait: I opted for a higher gloss paint this time around to help bounce the light around, and now the light just doesn't quit!

Bummer Mismatched appliances - We have a faux stainless steel fridge and dishwasher, and a white oven. But wait: To help streamline the look of our kitchen without spending on new appliances, we closely matched the paint color to our white oven to blend it in. 

After winning a gift card prize from a photo contest by Dot and Bo, Matt and I decided on this hammered brass pendant from the eclectic, curated site. Backed by a natural bamboo shade, we've got our warm wood and touch of metallic, giving that relaxed, yet sophisticated look we've strung through our home.

This time around we used a brand new paint product! To seal in the bleed through we'd been experiencing with these cabinets, I decided to go oil-based. I had used the Rust-Oleum Gloss Protective Enamel spray on this piece, and was so impressed with it I got the idea to use it on our whole kitchen! I used the spray for our cabinet doors and the can and a brush for the cabinet bodies. (We painted our walls in the same color that is throughout the rest of our home, Ultra Pure White by Behr). It cleans like a DREAM and reflects the light all over the space.

I love this progression! It took a little time to get it right, but everything I've learned through this room alone makes it so worth while!

Displaying our new DIY hand towels that the kids helped make!

And finally, some daily practice.:) 

That's it! Any questions or want to know more? Feel free to leave a comment!

Thank you so much for stopping by! Don't forget to check back in tomorrow when we announce our One Thousand Gifts giveaway winner - there's still time to enter if you look back at yesterdays post and leave a comment! And friends, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your incredibly touching birthday wishes yesterday. You guys are the greatest. Nuff said. :)