18 Jun

That Home #1

Posted by Jenna, Under Home

I’m so glad I decided to do photo tours of our living spaces over the years because it is really wonderful to look back through old posts to see how my style has changed and relive some of the memories we made in those spaces. Our first apartment (full of broken image links right now, not sure if I’ll be able to fix that), our second apartment, and our third apartment. Graduating from business school and moving out west means we were able to start renting single family homes, something I have looked forward to for a long time. We move into our second rental home next month, but before I am consumed with unpacking and decorating I’ll show you how we decorated and furnished our East Palo Alto home.

You’ll see a marked improvement in the interior style of this home compared to what I came up with in the past, and for most of the rooms that credit goes to Kristin of Bien Living Designs (the rest of the credit goes to a hard-working husband and some wiggle room in our budget for decor and furniture). Kristin’s Long Distance Design service is exactly what I need, a low-cost way to work with an interior designer that gives me a jumping-off point and steers me in the right direction. When I thought about our bedroom as a blank slate I felt overwhelmed, but after she sent me a design board based on the inspiration photos I sent her I started to see how I could shop for things that would enhance what she had suggested for me. She suggested the pain colors used throughout the house, and sent me inspiration boards for the living room, master bedroom, and office. She is a close friend, but I paid for her services and highly recommend them to everyone else. Once we aren’t paying for childcare for two children I plan to hire her again.
When you walk in the front door the first thing you see is dining room, but I never did get around to taking a picture of that room because I didn’t like the decor and I ran out of money before I could figure out a way to fix it. I have some ideas for the next house that might work. Look to the right as you enter the house and you will see the front room, which is a room we didn’t really need and didn’t have much money set aside to decorate. I bought those chairs at the same consignment store where I purchased our dining room table, intending to use them in the living room. Our massive couch didn’t leave enough room, so we put them in the front room with a rug I found for $100 on CB2 and it turned into the train table room. The color in this room is Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, though my editing has it looking a bit warmer/green than it does in person.
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Past the dining room is the living room, kitchen, and breakfast nook area. Kristin worked with us on the design of the living room, suggesting the curtains, rug, coffee table, lamps, and couch cushions. I love these open floor plans that allow us to put a TV within viewing distance of the kitchen because that means I can watch TV as I cook/clean. The paint color in this room is Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue. Curtains are from Ikea, rug is from Overstock, coffee table is from Amazon (it broke shortly after we bought it, not recommended), lamps are from CB2, clock was found at Aaron Brothers, orange pillows from World Market, green/blue leaf pillow from Etsy.
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The Florence photo is one of mine. I took it on our childfree Italy vacation in 2011 and it brings back fond memories whenever I look at it. Cosi bello!

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I saw this sectional in a catalog in a fancy furniture store in downtown Palo Alto, but they were no longer carrying it and told me they couldn’t order it anymore. I liked the way the sides and back folded up and down to created armrests/backrests, and we knew that leather was a must for us. I walked into a furniture warehouse selling old styles, and there it was, the exact color and style I was looking for. It’s a really unique design, and at first I worried that it wouldn’t work in our space, but I’m really happy with the look and user experience.

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This breakfast nook area ended up being one of my favorite area of the house. Using the Ikea Expedit as dish storage is an idea from Pinterest, and I went yard sale hunting for table and chairs to paint white. I’ve had lots of fun collecting white serving pieces (some used, some new) to fill the shelves up. I’m not sure yet if we’ll have a space in our new place that will work with this piece, plus I’ll now have a baby to fend off (T1 was old enough when we moved that he was never interested). The bowl on the table is from CB2, the high chair is a Stokke Tripp Trap.

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Walk up the stairs and you’ll head straight into the master bedroom, another room that Kristin made a mood board for. This room was a priority for me as we were decorating. I craved a space that could act as a refuge after crazy days with the kids. I have a “no pictures of anyone other than us in the bedroom” rule, and I was so excited to buy our first real bed! Up until we’ve just had our mattresses on the floor. Kristin suggested almost everything in this room – headboard, bed frame, nighstands, lamps, pillows, storage bench, desk chair. The headboard, bed frame, gold pillows, duvet cover/bedding, and console are all from West Elm. Blue Ikat pillows from Etsy. Lamps and chair found at TJMaxx, mirror found at Aaron Brothers. The clock is from Kohls. Rug is from Overstock. Storage bench is from Target. That Wife Home Tour That Wife Home Tour That Wife Home Tour That Wife Home Tour That Wife Home Tour That Wife Home Tour That Wife Home Tour

I love our bedroom!

The bathroom was painted with Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments.

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The nursery was something I put together myself, and I was pleasantly surprised with the way it all came together. It’s painted the same color as the master bathroom, Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments. The crib, changing table, and couch are all from Ikea. The couch cover is by Comfort Works, the animal drawings are by Lullafly and the lamp is from HomeGoods. The rug was found on Craigslist and the darling doilies above the crib were handmade by my grandma.

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T1′s bedroom is painted with my favorite paint color in the house, Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue. We also didn’t have Kristin do anything for this room other than suggest the paint color and I’m really pleased with how it all came together. The futon from Ikea was our living room couch in Chicago and morphed into T1′s bed over time, and the dresser, rug, bookshelves, and pretty much everything else in the room are from Ikea.

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The last room on our tour (there is an upstairs full bathroom, as well as a downstairs half bath that I didn’t bother to photograph) was also designed by Kristin. It’s painted with the same color as the master bedroom, Benjamin Moore Grant Beige. The office space in our previous places has always been cluttered and overwhelming, which made me crazy because it’s one of the rooms where I spend the most time. I picked up a dresser from the as-is section of Ikea and decided to paint it white. The desk is an Ikea hack designed by Kristin. The bases/legs are kitchen cabinets from Ikea and the top is two pieces of white particle board from Home Depot. When Kristin suggested the purple and green color accents I resisted at first (the green I liked, it was the purple that I wasn’t sure about) but I love it now. My splurge was the desk chair, from Chiasso. The room divider with mirror and photos is from Amazon.  The wire with clips above the desk is from Ikea. The rest of the stuff is from HomeGoods, Ikea, and the Container Store.

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All of that was 4 1/2 months of work to put together. 4 short months after I finished decorating we packed it all up and moved it into storage for a month while we wait for our new place to become available. Our new place has four bedrooms as well so the decor will look somewhat similar, but I have a few changes I want to make. And this time I’m going to focus on making sure that I create spaces that I love only using items that I love. I realized recently that in some spots I was working hard to use something just because I own it, because it was a gift, or because I had invested money in it in the past and I wanted to feel like my purchase was worth it. No more decorating that way! Tastes change over time and that’s okay.

Now I shall wrap this post up and go back to daydreaming about how I’m going to arrange our stuff in our new place.  I hate packing and moving but I admit I do love daydreaming about decorating our new space whenever we move!

17 Comments


  1. The house looks so fantastic – I can’t wait to see how you make it all work int he next space. Having started from scratch (literally four suitcases) in November I can’t imagine moving again just as we slooowly get everything looking as I like it.

    I cannot wait until we have a space for an office for me.

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  2. “I realized recently that in some spots I was working hard to use something just because I own it, because it was a gift, or because I had invested money in it in the past and I wanted to feel like my purchase was worth it.”

    Haha, I currently have a little entry way table by my front door that was my grand fathers. I’d love something else but I feel like I should just work with it.. paint it maybe? Or.. maybe I could just consign it and take the cash to get something I love!

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    Jenna Reply:

    My mom has this rocking chair made by her grandpa that she stopped using years ago. I want to ship it down to myself, repaint it, and give it a new life!

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  3. Love it so much! All of it, but especially both kids’ rooms. Great work, lady!!

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  4. Marissa C says:

    Where is the clock (with the Roman Numerals) in the living room from?

    Very nice decorating!

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    Jenna Reply:

    Thanks! That clock is from Aaron Brothers. Bought on clearance so I’m not sure if they still have it.

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  5. You are definitely a Spring color season. :) I also have noticed that my friends or family who are photographers really favor white . I love it! It really magnifies the natural light.

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    Jenna Reply:

    I didn’t realize how much I like pastels until I had T2 and I want to dress her in all pastels all the time.

    It’s funny because my design style has been highly influenced by the photographers I follow on Pinterest. I want to minimize and create “photo spots” throughout my house that photograph well :)

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  6. Hi Jenna, my boyfriend and I are UofC people as well and the Regents building was very familiar to us! I love how you have the camera lenses displayed, I might have to “borrow” that idea. :)

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    Jenna Reply:

    Oh my goodness, I *love* your blog name! Love love love. I wish I had thought of it! I wear dresses 90% of the time and it leads to people constantly asking “Why are you so dressed up?”

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    Mehnaz Reply:

    What a nice thing to say! And yes, I’m pretty dress obsessed – I finally got the most recent one up:D

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  7. Hi Jenna!
    Loved the house tour! I was wondering if you could explain the thinking behind T1′s bookshelves, as it’s something I’ve been struggling with. I like the idea of front facing shelves for kids, but they just don’t hold as much as the normal books and kiddo has A LOT of books–but it’s something we’ve been throwing around anyways. Have you had an issue with his shelves being up so high? I liked the front facing shelves so she could pick out what she wanted to read, but maybe the shelves being so high up defeats the purpose? She has so many books that we would have to have shelves like that from almost floor to ceiling. Do you have problems with him climbing up on the futon and trying to get to the books? Do you rotate books so you don’t need as many shelves?

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    Jenna Reply:

    He was able to reach the bottom two shelves by standing on the futon. The top two rows I treated ab it more like displays, usually putting books up there that were my own when I was young that I want to preserve as much as possible. And yes, I do rotate books. Or at least, I have a big stack of books that sits on the floor or on a shelf in the closet that he can get to as well. Over time the books on the bottom two rows turned into the books we read at bedtime. The books on the top rows were decoration. And I’m fine with that! He doesn’t need to have access to every single one.

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  8. AshleyHami says:

    Beautiful home Jenna :)

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  9. I love how it all turned out! Quick question as a fellow renter: Did you paint yourselves or hire painters, and did you have to paint everything back neutral when you moved out?

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    Jenna Reply:

    We hired painters to paint it, with colors approved by the landlord. Not sure we’ll paint our next place because figuring out the touch ups was a hassle.

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  10. Love the Palladian blue! I just put that on my design board for my laundry/mud room cabinetry. It looks fantastic in T1′s room and I’m happy to see that it looks pretty bright – not as muted as the color swatch etc.

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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