Book Review: Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home

Book Review: Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home

Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy HomeI thoroughly enjoyed Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home by Maxwell Ryan & Janel Laban. I was actually surprised at how quickly I devoured such a thick book!

The photographs by Melanie Acevedo are stunning and the topics really applied to me, engaging me and pushing me to read just one more page before setting the book down. Once I could tear myself away, it was an easy book to come back to again and again. As I read through the ideas and tips and browsed the photographs, I was able to think about what I liked and what drew me in, what might work in my own home and how I could apply the suggestions with my own twist.

I loved pages sprinkled throughout that offered very practical advice on things like organizing as well as the more whimsical treasure trove of decorating ideas. I would recommend this book to anyone with a space to make a home — whether it’s an apartment, a small home like mine or a grand house. There’s something for everyone and it’s really all about making your house your home.

Read more about Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home here. Or take a sneak peak at the inside of this beautiful book!

I received a complimentary copy of Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home from Blogging for Books, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

Book Review: Rooted in Design

Book Review: Rooted in Design

Rooted in DesignI thoroughly enjoyed flipping through the pages of this high quality plant design book. Rooted in Design by Tara Heibel and Tassy de Give is great for perusing for ideas, reading closely for instructions, and displaying for guests.

The book covers all kinds of indoor planting ideas and tips and well as inspirational photos. Even if you don’t own a home, there are wonderful suggestions that can be utilized in rental spaces as well.

Want to take a peek inside? Click here!

My favorite design suggestion was the moss wall, and it even came with instructions on how to pull it off in a reasonable and practical way (hint: don’t use live moss!).

Fuax living wall

Moss wall directions

I’m sure I will be displaying this book on my coffee table for years to come, and I’m definitely planning on taking on the moss wall project to add a little “life” to my dining room!

I received a complimentary copy of Rooted in Design from Blogging for Books, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

Book Review: Novel Interiors

Book Review: Novel Interiors

Novel Interiors The first time I heard about this book, I was instantly intrigued. Interior design and literature all wrapped up in one high quality book? It had my name written all over it!

When I received the book in the mail, I immediately settled down in the living room with a cup of hot tea and perused the pages. I was enchanted.

I had been concerned that the book would be too theme-y. I didn’t want something instructing me on how to create a Little Women-themed room or even a Jane Austen-themed room. I’m not much into themes. I wanted something more subtle, more mature, more nuanced. This book did not disappoint.

Novel Interiors

My favorite section was easily “Shall I Put the Kettle On?”, which features elements inspired by Sense and Sensibility, Little Women and other favorite novels of mine. The book pointed out small ways to create the cottage feel that Jane Austen describes or the very homey feeling of Plumfield House. Books scattered about, worn rugs and well-loved furniture. It inspired me to remember that beauty is not necessarily in the new, perfectly pristine furniture and decor that comes from the store, but from the way a room makes you feel — at ease, comfortable, snug. This is my dream for my house.

My next favorite was probably “Living au Natural”, which focused more on American literature, like Willa Cather and Henry David Thoreau. The chapter details the use of wood furniture and natural fibers, bringing the outdoors in with plants and florals. Truly though, any literature lover could glean wisdom and inspiration from each and every chapter presented in Novel Interiors.

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment I spent curled up in front of the fire, sipping tea, and being inspired by the thoughtful nuances of this book. The photographs are superb and the quality of the book truly stunning. I will keep this on my coffee table for years to come.

Take a look inside the book!

I received a complimentary copy of Novel Interiors from Blogging for Books, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.



Even Husband agrees that it is time for the “Great Transition” (ie. putting away Spring/Summer clothes and bedding and replacing with Fall/Winter clothes and bedding). Husband is usually much more practical about these things (which is a little odd, because in other respects I am far more practical), but he recently requested that we make the Great Transition. (Must be all that cool, fresh air from the open windows!)

It’s not a simple chore, but I have much of it down to a specific routine that works. To give you a little before and after, this is what our bedroom looks like for the Spring and Summer:

Our bed in summer.

Headboard–Curious Cargo; Bedspread–Bon Ton; Pillows–various; Lamps–Ollie’s; Art–P. Graham Dunn

(Just as an aside, did I ever share the oh-so-perfectly coordinating lamps we got at Ollie’s for a steal? They aren’t what we want in the long run, but they are great for now. Take a look:

Bedside lamp.

So goes with our bedspread, right?)

But all of that bedding and oh-so-many pillows went into these bags to be stored in our cedar closet upstairs.

Bags of bedding for storage.

Then, out came our Fall/Winter bedding and pillows…

Our winter bedding.

Heated Mattress Pad–JCPenney; Down Comforter–JCPenney; Duvet Cover–TJ Maxx; Pillows–TJ Maxx and various thrift stores

It might seem like the opposite of simplifying to have to change all of this out every six months or so, but honestly it makes my life easier. We have a nice, light-weight comforter for Spring and Summer and for Fall and Winter we have a heated mattress pad and a down comforter. By switching them out, it not only helps freshen up the room for a new season, but it also helps keep our more expensive items from over-use and therefore, they don’t wear out as quickly. (But mostly, it’s just fun.)

I have a feeling there will be even more transition in our home as it morphs from Summer to Fall, but this is always the first major step.

A real bargain

A real bargain

Last weekend, Husband and I were out doing a little shopping Sunday afternoon when we decided to pop into TJ Maxx for a quick gander.

Granted, TJ Maxx is a great discount store, but we are seriously pinching pennies here, so we head straight to the clearance racks in the back corners of the store. There were hunt through all sorts of products that we would never purchase in search of a true gem–a hunt that is often well rewarded.

Lamp with missing wing nut.This time, we came across this reading lamp, and lamps are something Husband and I desperately need. Floor lamps are especially cost prohibitive for us so we own a grand total of one (and that one was purchased at a thrift store and bequeathed to us by a relative). Add to that we love reading lamps (seriously, I am a writer). This one was a lovely piece–thin and narrow so it won’t take up much space and a dark, brushed nickel finish that could go in most any room. Plus, it’s a little industrial-looking and I know I like to mix decor schemes…

We checked the price tag, originally $99 marked down to $35. We carefully inspected the piece to find out why it was placed on clearance and discovered a missing wing nut.

Ralph Lauren Lamp

A wing nut reduces the price by $64? Sounds good to us!

We snatched that baby up and headed to Home Depot, where we were able to get 4 of the appropriate size wing nut for $1.50, bringing our grand total to $36.50.

Our new Ralph Lauren lamp.

Oh, and did I mention that this was a Ralph Lauren reading lamp?

Reading lamp from Ralph Lauren via TJ Maxx.

And did I mention that when I looked it up online, I got a price of $1,140!!!

So maybe it was last year’s model or something, I don’t know. But it looks to me like we saved a whopping $1,103.50!

PS. If you’re looking for something similar, check out this one at Ikea!

Fill in the blank Friday…

1. My favorite room in my home is the master bedroom because it’s the only room I’ve been able to improve since moving in, making it truly me, and a really peaceful place to be.

2. My current decor style is essentially eclectic (a strange mix of antique and modern, beachy and country, with lots of thrifting involved). But I wish it were more complete. I have a vision in my mind, but can’t afford to put it all together right away, so it ends up looking a little fragmented.

3. I wish I could redecorate the living room in my house to make it more me. And less pink.

4. My dream house absolutely has to have a fireplace, or two.

5. One house item I am willing to splurge on is nothing at the moment, but maybe someday a jacuzzi tub…

6. A decor trend that I just don’t “get” is too much theme. I want just a hint, a vague feeling, not an onslaught of “island” or “country” or “garden” or anything else.

7. Some of my own black and white photography, framed and hanging on the walls is a little touch that makes my house feel like home.

My newest acquisitions

My newest acquisitions

So Husband and I met a friend of a friend who is going through her parents’ c.1910 home and selling the contents. We did a little bartering, a little trading of services, and came up with a deal to meet everyone’s needs.

Sunday afternoon, Husband and I came home with these lovely new pieces for our home.

This antique armchair is great. The frame is sturdy and it’s super comfortable. The fabric is actually in really good shape, so until we have a little extra $$ to reupholster it, this can stay the way it is without garishly clashing. The small table (note: actually a plant stand) is mahogany and hand made by the couple’s son-in-law.

Antique armchair

This is another table to match the smaller one. It needs a little refinish on the top, but the rest is spectacular. When I get around to working on the top, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Mahogany table

This is one of my favorite pieces that we got. The jewelry armoire isn’t spectacular, but it’s super useful and will help me untangle my mess of jewelry in my current box. Plus, I’m looking forward to doing a little experimenting with milk paint on this one…

Jewelry armoire

And finally, we found this dusty mirror. It’s in pretty rough shape right now, but we don’t currently have any hanging mirrors and I have discovered they can be quite expensive. Not this one though! I’ll probably paint the frame (maybe more milk paint?) and hopefully find just the right place to hang it. I love the unique shape!

Antique, wood-framed mirror

I am so looking forward to setting aside a weekend to work on these!