Lemon Grove Interiors

Lemon Grove Interiors

Hey y’all! I get a few emails each week asking if I’m still doing design services so I thought I’d get back in the game and offer up (5) slots per month where I can work with a design client. 🙂 If you’re interested in using my design services, read on for details on how the process works!

For each client, I create:

– A custom design board (inspiration board)
– Specific product recommendations for furniture, art, decor, fabric, accessories, and drapes.
– Product source list (shopping list)
– A true to scale floor plan illustration (an accurate birds eye view of your new space)
– Paint color recommendations
– Tips for incorporating current pieces
– Specific furniture placement suggestions (as seen in your true to scale floor plan)

So a board like this:

Lemon Grove Interiors

And layout, like this!

Lemon Grove Interiors

All packages are $75 per room and include direct links to all products sourced.

Here is an example of someone I helped design a space for. This was the before:

Before Dining Room

And the after!

After Dining Room

I also will do a single source question, like asking for (1) light option for a room for $10 each. I had a client recently move into a new house, and I was able to help source light fixtures for each space to provide a cohesive and put together final look.

Lemon Grove Interiors

I’d love to work with you! Packages can be ordered directly here. Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions 🙂

10% off to all new clients with code LEMONGROVE 🙂

  • 2+ rooms (10% discount off all)
  • 3+ rooms (20% discount off all)
  • 4 or more rooms (30% discount off all)

Lemon Grove Interiors

Our Office, Currently

Our office you guys – it’s just wanting for some love. I work from home one day a week and I find during those hours of sitting and staring at my (current) completely blank wall above me that this room just needs something y’all. I mean this is the current view, haha. We have not done much in here …

Benjamin_Moore_Moonlight

Leaves a bit to be desired… This room has become sort of an unprogrammed space and I’m just dying to give it some personality and definition. I’ve got some big plans in store for it (that I’ll share next week), but this week I thought I’d post some before shots. Well – truthfully – this is the before shot.

Upstairs Office Space

Which was the photo in the listing before we bought it. Green paint (like the rest of the upstairs) and the same carpet. We painted it Benjamin Moore Moonshine (when we had extra paint from this room), and it’s a definite update and makes the space much brighter and more cheery.

I think it still needs some serious work though as the space is largely just our desk and some random toys for H (like his teepee and dress up clothes) and I think the biggest issue we have in here is that it’s just a drop zone, vs. an intentional space.

This wall in particular, is one I’d like to see a lot of changes for. Maybe a built-in along the back wall (on either side of the windows) for extra storage.

Office_Moonlight_Benjamin_Moore

I tried adding in some artwork, but alas, I have still not put anything in the frames (just found some frames that had the right proportions, so I bought them). Maybe I’m the problem in this equation – I just can’t commit to a look I love in this space, so it’s been an under utilized room since we’ve moved in.

Functional Children's Storage

We do store Henry’s rotating out clothes (I keep a bin in here that I fill as he ages out of clothing), so this room is functional in a sense, but y’all, I think it’s just having little ones but the clutter and just extra “stuff” around the house all the time gives me a slight tick. Must. Put. Away. I just want bookcases and storage and locations I can store everything in a pretty way (vs. tupperware containers functioning as coffee tables…)

Storage_Childrens_Clothes

 

DIY Counter in Laundry

So Jay’s been busy building some tables that we’ve actually been selling on craigslist (woo hoo for handy husband’s with carpentry skills!) and while he was fiddling with those, I asked him, pretty please if he could create a counter top for the laundry room since we’ve had virtually no storage in here for the past 18-months. It was time, as Rafiki would say. He’s a wise baboon, no? (I blame my 2-year old for any Disney references on this blog)

Y’all saw our current laundry room (and upstairs hall) in last week’s post, but here is a quick snap shot in case you’re like me and forget anything that didn’t happen in the last 30 minutes.

Laundry_Closet_Design_Ideas

So while Jay was building away, he crafted this little counter, which has a few notches in the back to account for the electrical and plumbing behind the washer and the dryer.

These are just 10″x10′ pine boards y’all – to the tune of $9 each at Home Depot, so this entire project was under $30. Woot!

DIY_Laundry_Countertop

So although we DID account for the notches we had to make in the back, apparently we did not account for the fact that there was a wall on either side of this sucker cause y’all – ummmmm – our walls be looking rough after we got this thing (finally) wedged into place. We probably should have just taken it downstairs and cut an 1/8th inch off the side but I (true to form) was rearing to go and wanted this in place without hauling out the saw (again).

Luckily it was mostly just scuffing (there was a staple on the end of one of the wood pieces, doy!) and with some paint touch up it looks fine, but I was a bit stressed out about it during install. Jay can attest to that 😉

DIY_Laundry_Room

We used a vinegar and steel wool concoction that is a natural way to age wood quickly. We just used this tutorial and overall, we’re super happy with the way things turned out.

DIY_Pine_Counter_Top

This did require a lot of experimenting, and I’d highly recommend testing it on scrap wood before you go ahead and put it all over your entire finished piece. It’s a bit of a science experiment, and will come out different each time you do it (based on how much steel wool you use, and how long you let it sit, etc) so test it out before hand. You can always dilute it to get a slightly less dark look.

DIY_Pine_Countertop

And a wider angle view so you can see some of the color variation on the counter.

Inexpensive_Laundry_Updates

Over time I’d love to add some shelves but it took us a year + to get around to the counter, so don’t hold your breath on an update any time *too* soon in that department 😉

Pine_Counter_Top_DIY

Super easy, darn cheap, and heyo – chic too! Pretty happy with this upgrade for a weekend, a saw, and thirty bucks!!

One last look at the improved space.

Farmhouse_Laundry_Room

And the before!

Renovating Small Laundry Room

Laundry, These Days

So y’all saw some of our laundry room in this post – it was actually our first project here in the house where we installed some subway tile and dark grout (my first time trying a darker grout – I like it!). Here is a progress shot of that room, probably about a year ago now, right after we installed the tile.

Subway Tile Slate Floor Laundry

And if you want to go way back – here it is when we moved in. This green color was in all the rooms upstairs and y’all, it had to go 😉

Laundry Room Closet Renovation

Here’s what we’ve been rocking for 2017 so far.

Laundry_Closet_Design_Ideas

The tops of the washer and dryer do act as a counter more or less, but there are gaps all over the place and I’ve been wanting to get something in there there was more finished (ie a real counter top).

High_Efficiency_Laundry_Sale

One thing I really love about the laundry room / closet (?) is this hanging rack which is where we try to air dry as much clothing as possible. I swear with a child I feel like I’m constantly doing laundry and I wanted to think of small ways we could make a dent in our utility bill so we’ve been air drying most shirts and all bed sheets. I’ve found that sheets actually dry *better* on our stair railing (within 30 minutes if laid out enough) than they did in the dryer since they’d always get tangled up with other articles of clothing and come out moist after an hour + of drying – so if you haven’t tried air drying some of your laundry you should definitely do it!

Drying_Rack_In_Laundry

Notice in the inspiration board below that there are a few elements still missing from our room? While Jay and I (mostly Jay) have been working on a counter top and y’all – spoiler. it turned out great and was insanely cheap. Details next week! (that much closer to a finish space!)

Here is my inspiration board for reference.

Laundry Room Mood Board

When One House To Reno Isn’t Enough

Every time I type this, or think this, or say this my armpits get sweaty and I question my sanity. You guys – we’ve hard core branched out of our comfort zone and bought ourselves a whole other house, with a whole other mortgage. And for most people that have read this blog for a while you’re probably thinking – you’re moving again?! And for once, the answer is no – we’re not. We’re just becoming landlords.

Sayyyy whaattt?? I know – I know!? It’s crazy. But when one house to renovate just isn’t enough to make your heart happy, y’all, you go out and buy another one. Right? Oh – I’m the only one that does that?? 😀 So long story short, we bought the cutest little townhouse down in Cary, NC, which is a hop skip and a jump from our abode here in Raleigh. Overall, this joint is cute as a button, updated and ready to move in right now – which is great, because frankly with a two year old and our own renovations always swirling, we were not looking for a tear it out and replace deal.

Cary Townhome

Out of privacy for the people that live here, I’ll not be posting a ton of photos of the new place but will definitely include any updates we do to it here on the blog. In the next few years I’d like to renovate the bathrooms and do a few other things here and there over time. Ultimately, if y’all remember this post, here, where I discussed some of our longer and mid-term financial goals, we’re hoping that this investment will helps us to move toward a future where we can call the shots a bit more and have an income source beyond the 9-5. That’s LONG TERM though folks, so for now, we’re just crossing our fingers that someone signs on the dotted line to pay the mortgage each month.

Now we did not go into this decision lightly – we talked about it and thought about it and sat on it for a few months before we contacted our realtor (who is amazing, if you live in Raleigh or want to live in Raleigh let me know and I’ll hook you up) to help us find a place.

Cary Greenway System
Luckily we live in a county that has an influx of 64 people a day right now by some estimates, so it’s been growing quickly and the demand for rentals is very high as people relocate from out of state of different job opportunities. We’re excited about this locale in particular since it’s very close to downtown Cary and is easily bikable via their greenway system into the heart of their little town which has an increasing number of shops and restaurants and breweries and is really becoming a fun little town! We pretty much bike or bus everywhere in our house, so it was important for us (personally) to buy a property that we felt someone could live a car light lifestyle in. We’re excited to get to know it better over the years of owning this property.

The Pharmacy Bottle Shop

One thing for sure – this is totally new territory for us! Wish us luck you guys – we’re going to need it! Anyone else out there branched out into landlord/rental world? Trying to decide if I’ve totally lost my marbles (leaning toward yes?)

Life By the Numbers

Best_Budgeting_Advice_Millennials

Y’all do you ever feel like you’re so clear on something that it’s just your marching orders and your life calling card. The last few months I’ve been feeling like that about our finances. On. A. Mission. Working our butts off to create the future we want. And 6-months or so in to our new regime (we started the beginning of the year), I’m feeling fairly obsessed with our modifications. Have y’all heard of Mr. Money Mustache? He’s a fairly famous lad with the frugal nuts of the world and his personal tale is one where he saved a significant portion of his income and essentially retired after 10 years of working.

So literally, my new {personal} life mission is to create a life where we can be on our own watch as soon as possible. IE not working for the man, unless we feel like it. 🙂 Frankly, I love my job, so I’m not in a huge hurry to trade in my cards in life. But then, I love my bambino, and I think he’s pretty awesome as well – so, it’s all about finding that balance right?

I’ve been feeling inspired by some of the changes we’ve been making here around our house that are (hopefully) setting us up for a really solid financial future, and I wanted to share a few things with y’all that we’ve found really have been game changers for us. So starting January 1, we started making sure we had atleast half of our income, 50% of it, going straight into retirement account. We’ve always tried to be really good about saving our money, but when I sat down late last year and did the math, I realized we were only saving about 15% of our income, and the more I read blogs like Mr. Money Mustache, I started to realize that was whoafully insignificant for what our financial goals are.

I think different seasons of your life, have different needs. Our first 6 or 7 years as a married couple we were all star savers in many respects, but the money was always going toward saving up for a house, or buying a car, etc. Now that we’ve got those things – ie house, car – we feel like those boxes have been checked for us and we’re able to move on to different things.

So there are some upsides to aggressively saving for retirement, namely the ability to use all the contributions made to a 401k, 457 plan and IRA as tax deductions. So for every $1 you put into these accounts, you’re off the hook on that amount of taxes each year. So that’s sweet (basically brings your tax bracket down). The downside (IMO) is that almost all this money is not truly utilizable until you’re 65, or 62 or like – when you’re OLD basically. It will be a long while before we can touch that moola. I’m lucky at my work that I have something called a 457 plan, which enables you to use those funds as soon as you leave your place of employment – ie, if I “retire” from my current job at 40, we could start drawing down from that fund as an income supplement. But even with traditional retirement assets (if your employer doesn’t offer a 457) there are ways to diversify your retirement savings so that you have liquid assets to grab when you want or need. For us, that’s our Roth IRA, which is the retirement account we’ve been contributing to since we were married. At any point you can use your principal from that account for anything – since it’s put in post tax, the principal is your money to use whenever you want it.

So anyway, blah, blah, blah – woo hoo, saving money is great. But how in bloody hell do you get to a point where you can save 50% of your income, you ask. Extremely valid question, and grasshopper, I’ll tell you, I think it took me a solid 7 years to get to this point, but the basic premise is don’t buy stuff you don’t need. Patent pending on that nugget of life advice, but you guys, sometimes the simplest answer is all there is to it. Some tools I’ve found pretty helpful for our household.

  • Create some type of budget or expectation of where you want your money to go, and stick to it by allocating the remainder into your savings account. 

Not particularly revolutionary or sexy, but y’all, if you don’t have an idea of where your money is going, I can guarantee you, it’s not going to the right places.

Anything that doesn’t go toward our monthly expenses and retirement goes into short term emergency fund – which right now is only like a hundred bucks each month, so all and all we keep things pretty tight (purposefully) which keeps us as accountable as possible. So I actually don’t track against what we spend each month in each category – persay – I just know each dollar we spend since in all honesty, we don’t spend all that many. Like our grocery shopping is done once a week – I know if I stay under $100, we’ll be on track for my (general) goal of $400 a month. So I don’t obsess over it, but I am very aware of it.

  • Autodraft money to go straight into your savings accounts (ie retirement, stocks, bonds, wherever).

Treat that money like it was never yours to spend – and you’ll never miss it. In fact, you’ll gleefully watch as it turns into more and more money – much better than spending it! 🙂

  • Identify triggers that you know are going to mess with your budget.

Going back to the grocery shopping example, I try to meal plan and only run to the grocery store once per week. I find it easier to track the expense that way and we don’t get nickle and dimed with this and that and the other thing. $20 here and $30 there adds up quick and will blow your “$400” grocery line pretty quick.

  • Buy EVERYTHING used

In all honesty, I could get better in this category but I’ve found that there is virtually no reason to buy 99% of what we use new. Other than food (obviously) our clothes, furniture, bikes, cars, house – all used with very few exceptions. It encourages you to be more methodical about your spending and also makes me wait for stuff I really don’t need. Things I know we will need (like 4T clothes for my 2T tyke) are always things I buy as far in advance as possible. So plan ahead for necessities and everything else you just got to wait for 🙂

  • Be easy on yourself

Set manageable goals and don’t beat yourself up when you screw something up. Y’all, I remember the first year of our marriage – ya know zero money saved up, student loans coming from every angle and just the stress of a brand new marriage – I lost it over forgetting to use a coupon at the check out lane. I like thought the world was going to end. But you know, it didn’t, and I was out like a dollar. Maybe even fifty cents 😉 I wanted so much to be able to stick with my plan that I lost it over that slight deviation. But you guys – the thing is about this frugal path Jay and I chose is that it’s about the long view man. I didn’t know that when I was 22, but that’s the truth. You can’t fret about small blimps along the way, you just get true to that path and you’re fine. Things happen with finances – you have good days and bad days, more abundant years and really tight ones. It’s all about laying the groundwork with the right mentality and a solid foundation.

Whew – so that was sorta long, but I hope a smidge helpful to at least one person out there! I’m curious to hear what others do to keep their financial goals on track. Do you guys have any nuggets of information that y’all have found really helpful for your household in making the numbers work each month, or different strategies you’ve used to save more? Would love to hear!

There are some really great blogs if you want to start to fine tune your finances – my two current faves are Frugal Woods and Mr. Money Mustache.

 

Library Lights

So for all of you with an eagle eye, you probably noticed that although our dining room is much improved from before, that there are still something missing from the picture below:

Built_In_Bookcase_Dining_Room

If you noticed that a million dollars sitting out on display on our fine new buffet line was missing, I noticed that too, but alas this is not the item from the picture that we’re talking about replacing on today’s post. Bummer.

It’s the light sconces missing from above the bookcase. Notice it? Yeah, those fancy electrical boxes chilling up above our new crown.

I’ve hunted high and low and up and down for some good old library lights so our joint could look snazzy, like this picture. Swoon.

Builtin_Bookcase_with_Grasscloth

Or this one… wish I had the guts to paint our trim dark blue – amazing (but perhaps a tad darker would be even better – more charcoal?)

Blue_Painted_Builtin_Bookcsae

So since I’ve looked all over this green earth for lights, I thought I’d share with y’all some of the best (and most affordable) options I stumbled across during my hunt. I noticed that two of them popped up over $50 (must have been on sale when I started the search), but these are all super affordable options compared to some of the fancier brands out there where a library light can run well over $300 (!)

Affordable Library Lights

Electric LeClair LightVintage Retro Cage LightIndustrial Edison SconceClear Glass Shade Swing Arm Sconce | Brass Finish 1-light Wall Sconce | Modern Vintage Industrial Loft Sconce 

Right now I’m leaning toward the 5th one. Any thoughts/votes? I want it to compliment our existing light fixture in there, and I like how it would bring out the brass details! Decisions, decisions! Help me decide!

Drum_Chandelier_Dining_Room

 

Ipsy Glam Bags

Y’all I have just never been a) good at or b) all that inclined towards makeup. I think it’s the pragmatist / minimalist in me that just thought, meh, I’ve got a tube of mascara – I’m good! And truth be told, even to this day that’s pretty much still my mentality, haha. But my older sister, who is better with these beauty things than myself, got me absolutely hooked on ipsy. I’m selling it to myself as still being pragmatic / quasi minimalist because it’s only $10 a month and you get 5 samples every time, so I’m like in the category of never having to ever buy make-up again, other than ya know, my $10 per month hit.

Has anyone else heard of this thing? I feel like subscription / send stuff in the mail is the millennials answer to the previous generations shopping mall (that and amazon, duh…) but I get irrationally excited about this bag each month and obsessively check to see when I’m going to get my sneak peak email to get a glimpse at my monthly goodies.

So I’ve only been doing this for 4 months now, but this is my loot to date.

February_Ipsy_Bag_Review

I use the powder every day (and have been since February) and still have most of it left. The mascara has become a pretty much daily use for me too, and I’ve found I enjoy putting lipstick on for nights out!

March_Ipsy_Bag_Review

I love the deep conditioner for my hair, and use the blush every day. Wasn’t crazy about the tarte lipstick (it was too matte for my taste).

 

April_Ipsy_Bag_Review

In April, I loved the dry shampoo (I’ve never used that before), and the liquid eyeliner has been great, too.

So far, my favorite thing about ipsy is that I’m getting nicer stuff than I’d normally buy for myself, so it feels like a mega treat to get my bag each month. Since I’m not a pile it on makeup girl, I’ve found even the sample sizes (which some are smaller, not full sized) last me a few months. I try to space out my consumption of the goods, so if I get a travel sized deep conditioner, I use that once per month, and so far it’s lasted me for over 2 months, sweet! By the time I use up one sample size of a product or brand of a particular item, I usually have a replacement come from a different brand – so it works out perfectly!

Plus I get to try new things that I would not usually buy myself, so it’s encouraged me to try different products. Like lipstick!! OMG, I’ve never, in my 30 years of life ever worn lipstick. It’s actually hilarious when I put it on now for a date night because Henry just STARES at my lips and says “Red”. Like he’s speechless and that’s all he can get out, lol. Like something’s different about this lady… Are you my mother?

Anyone else out there use ipsy?? For $10 a month, I think it’s my new favorite bang for the buck thing!

One more fun thing about this subscription (does Birch Box do this, I’m not sure?) is that each month they have you rate your items so that they better match up with what you’d like (aka – I hated that color of blush or that bronzer was a-mazing) and after you get a certain number of points, you get to choose additional items to add to your bag! Huzza!! Or if you have friends sign up, etc, you get points on your account! *Disclaimer* If y’all subscribe to ipsy using the link, I’ll get referral points placed on my account! 😉

Good Lookin Breakfast Nookin

Rounding out our downstairs updates after our first year, we’ve also got a breakfast nook with a few changes. Really the main changes to this part of our house was adding furniture, since it was empty for nearly half of the first year (if not more). I tried to stay true to buying everything for this house used, and waiting for it to come along on craigslist or thrifting – really, it’s never a rush to add a second table to your house – kinda embarrassing to me that we have a house that fits two tables. It’s a bit excessive IMO…

Eatin_Kitchen_Dining_Room

We found the table for $40 on craigslist and I really love how much it matches the chairs! These 3 cross back chairs are probably the only piece of furniture (that I can think of) downstairs that were purchased new – turns out it’s really hard to find (3) matching chairs used. I’m obsessed with these beauties though. They’re extremely sturdy, good looking and not wobbly at all (does anyone else have a problem with chairs having a wobble?) Between buying used or cheapo furniture most of my life … I feel like our chairs are usually defective, lol.

The banquette was $100 on craigslist – Jay always grumbles that the people before us stripped the screws assembling it, haha, so he thinks it’s going to come crashing down on us sometime we’re sitting there eating our ice cream bars. I’ll keep you updated on that one 😉 I love that it sits a few people at once though and it’s been a perfect locale for sharing popsicles and ice cream when it’s time for a post dinner snack 🙂

Child_Artwork_Display

So, rookie parenting mistake, but when H started bringing his artwork home from school I didn’t really know what to DO with it. Our fridge doesn’t take magnets well (stainless) so I would just recycle them after they sat on the counter for a few days and I felt the need to declutter. You guys – this kid was literally dying when I first put up his art. He is so darn proud of it that it makes me feel pretty bad for recycling the rest of his artwork master pieces. He loves telling you all about his art when you point up at them and ask about it – he’ll tell you an entire story (more and more) about what he did that day, and who he made the artwork with. You guuysss – it’s so, so cute. So anyway – don’t scar your child like I did mine. Just hang up their artwork y’all, apparently they like it.

The table actually perfectly matches the chairs, which was a happy mistake, but they look really nice together. As you can see, the table has a few nicks and scratches, but it just gives it a little bit of a vintage touch. 🙂

Antique_Kitchen_Table

This room is right next to the kitchen, and you can see through into the Dining Room as well, so it feels nice to have the space a bit more finished.

Eat_In_Kitchen_Table_Options

This light fixture was actually one of the very first things I bought for the house, before we had even closed on it I grabbed this on craigslist! I remember it sitting in our 1-bedroom apartment, waiting for moving day. 😉 I just couldn’t wait to get back to designing a space for us – after being out of a house for a year, you’re usually ready to go!

Capital_Lighting_Chandelier

Overall, I really like how this room (can you call it a room?) came together! I’d love to add some lumbar pillows (similar to the ones in our master) at some point, but there is no rush, and I should probably avoid spending the money anyway 😉

Eatin_Kitchen_Table

Living It Up

So now we’re a few weeks into this house update over in Sell Casa 4.0 and I thought I’d share how our Living Room is looking after a full year under our belt in the new house. We have not made a ton of updates in here, but my favorite change is probably the feature trim work we added to the fireplace wall.

Living_Room_With_Layered_Rugs

This is an up close view of the detail. This project was very similar to this DIY, if you’re looking for a step by step BTW, we just decided to double up each strip to make it thicker and a bit more substantial looking.

Fireplace_Builtin_Trimwork

And now a Rafiki, look haaarrrrdddeerr.

This project was really quite cheap all things considered, just some plywood (that we doubled up to give some more depth to the wall). The total cost was under $40 since we already had the trim paint purchased. Score!

DIY_Fireplace_Surrond

This is what the fireplace wall looked like before.

Family Room off of the Kitchen

Here is another angle of one of my favorite walls, with some new etsy artwork up and looking oh so fine.

Persian_Rug_In_Living_Room

This summer we went to the HGTV Smart Home (which was in Raleigh this year) and I spotted a really cool, considerably larger, artwork piece that was broken into (9) frames if I remember right, at the base of a stairwell landing. Having slightly less space to work with, I decided to go with a 4-frame art option and I really like how it turned out!

I found an etsy print online that I loved and approached the artist about dividing it up into quarter segments – voila! Pretty cool statement wall now and the artwork really helps to ground this wall a bit (which had been completely bare for over a year).

Tree_Trunk_Artwork

We spend a ton of time in our Living Room these days with Mr. H running around, and we’ve found this layout works really well with us. The sectional tucked against the wall prevents furniture from blocking the flow – great for running around (and through) the room.

Layered_Living_Room_Rugs

This room opens right up into the newly renovated kitchen – we love it. We’ve loved all our houses in different ways and for different reasons, but y’all, this one feels the most like home.

Faux_Marble_Counter_Tops