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All Posts By Sarah

Decorating with Yellow

All you need is a dollop, a splash, a pop—of yellow.

I don’t have any personal desire to paint an entire room yellow or a house but yellow is a fantastic accent and it makes me happy to see the perfect execution of a yellow accent in a room. Case in point,

yellow chair


yellow pendant


yellow art


yellow twin beds


nestor yellow vanity


yellow armchair

It certainly went well with yellow on the Indiana project,

indiana yellow door closeup

My favorite yellow accent is a stool. In a quiet, white kitchen–yellow barstools scream at you. But it’s a joyful, playful scream.

yellow stool


yellow stools2

I’m on the fence as to whether or not I’d like to do a yellow wishbone stool in our home office makeover but I know I want a yellow accent and while I’m deciding enjoy the yellow roundup,

Yellow roundup


1. West Elm Ikat Bowl | 2. Dot & Bo Get to the Point Stool | 3. Schoolhouse Electric Studio Desk Lamp | 4. Fine Mod Yellow Shell Rocking Chair | 5. Gardener’s Supply Colorful Rubber Hose | 6. Gretel Home Twist a Twill Blanket | 7. Work on Paper Studio Scandinavian Pear | 8. Heath Ceramics Eames House Number | 9. Target Carlisle Metal Stool | 10. Dash & Albert Tivoli Wheat Wool Rug





Renovation Trends: Hex Tile

tile graphic

By now you’ve probably noticed hexagonal tile appearing in bathrooms and kitchens galore, here are 7 examples of  some of our favorite hexagon tile applications.

Marble hex lives happily ever after with a modern floating vanity,

tile modern marble

I love simple shower accent walls that look good for a lifetime. This can be pulled off with some hex, a white pencil and some 4×4 tiles.

tile shower accent


The snowflake hex tile and Benjamin Moore Stratton Blue vanity made for an interesting combo in Sarah’s Grout Cottage renovation,

grout A tile

Hex with a classic border with a lime green wall sink for a twist.

tile classic green sink

We can still tile kitchen floors just maybe not in 12×12 squares if we can avoid it. This European kitchen is tiled in large hex tiles.

tile large hex kitchen

A classic bathroom clad in a greek key border and hexagonal floor tile.

tile classic bath


Small marble hexagonal tiles are great for recessed shower niches,

tile shower niche

For the bonus round and a slight change in shape, Sarah put affordable octagonal white tile paired with a light grey grout in the May bath renovation. Such a clean and timeless look!






Bennett Kitchen: Shop the Look

We revealed the Bennett Kitchen renovation last week and I thought it would be nice to chat for a minute about the design process and that final layer, the one where all of the living and working comes into play.


I’ve been living in an old house that needs the kind of renovation that I offer my clients regularly. I have been feeling particularly fed up with the downsides of age, so for this kitchen, I really keyed up the the crisp finishes. We ended up with a really strong modern take on a cottage kitchen with classic bones.

After beefing up the architectural elements of the space (applying quintessential Craftsman millwork on the doors and window frames and heightening the cabinets with a shaker style front, we finished the backsplash, counter tops and flooring in modern slate floor tiles, crisp subway tile and a quartz counter top.

This makes for a timeless base that should age gracefully and one that can evolve with the homeowner’s style.

Here is a design board that we pulled together, to guide us and the homeowners towards filling up the open shelving and counter tops with layers of warm form and function.

Bennett shop the look


1. Vintage Indigo Mudcloth Pillow | 2. Schoolhouse Electric Princeton Junior Sconce| 3. The Estate of Things Antique Bread board| 4. Restoration Hardware Aubrey pull| 5. Adesso Harvest Drum pendant| 6. Ribba picture ledge| 7. Dot & Bo Kelley Dining table| 8. Azzo Mid Century Shell Chair| 9. Lake Michigan print| 10. Fiesta ware dishes| 11. As You Are print| 12. Mornings Away print| 13. Vintage Swedish rag rug







Bennett Kitchen: The Final Reveal

The Bennett kitchen renovation is ready for its debut.

There’s no two ways about it the Bennett kitchen was one sick puppy but now it’s a charming southern cottage kitchen with a splash of SoCal.

Let’s take a look at that renovation,

Bennett Kitchen Before After

It’s really gratifying to see the plan come to life and I love it to pieces. While I didn’t need to change the footprint of the room I did need to move the appliances around to create a layout that functioned more efficiently. The refrigerator and stove changed position, we added a dishwasher and put the microwave on a shelf freeing up valuable counter space.

The fridge was just sitting on a blank wall by itself. We needed to nestle that in and put that blank wall to work.

bennett before2

This is what became of that blank wall,


A custom range hood with shaker panels, a classic white subway tile backsplash, open shelves and white enamel sconces to set the whole situation off.

bennett stove backsplash

The old yellow linoleum floor was replaced with 24″ long charcoal grey tiles with a modern slate vibe. Storage space was maximized in cabinets that now extend to the ceiling and our cabinet maker, Quality Cabinet Co., built a blocked crown molding at my request with straighter lines to marry the cabinetry to the ceiling.

I was convinced for weeks that I wanted to paint the pocket door a pacific/denim blue color. I sampled several of those colors.

bennett paint samples

and then I was sitting in the room during construction contemplating something and I glanced over to see my turquoise Fiesta coffee mug sitting on the counter. A knee jerk decision to paint the pocket door a bright turquoise yields this.


I chose Cosmos Quartz Carrera Classic for the counter top. Quartz for the durability and Carrera Classic for the classic look and subtle veining.

Bennett cut board

We added a built-in banquette for four with a ship lap back and shaker panels on the seat to match our cabinets.

AFTER the dining nook built in banquette 700

We already had our West Elm pendant on the ready to hang over the banquette.

bennett banquette after

I know you will definitely want to know what our color picks were in this kitchen and we’re happy to oblige, in a forthcoming post.


So who is ready to renovate their kitchen?





Sarah’s Backyard Makeover

We are starting basically from scratch here in my backyard except for the old Water Oak standing solid in the middle. Everything else could go and it has for the most part.

sarah yard no fence

I have a decent plan that I’ve been adding to here and there…pretty much since I moved in. Progress seems to crawl at a snail’s pace around here and we’ve mostly just started the process of removing the overgrowth. When you buy an older home in Southern Pines that requires renovation, you typically get a random pile of bricks somewhere on the property and vines–wisteria mostly, choking the life out of the nearest long leaf pine.

So we’ve been clearing and we put up the fence we discussed here not long ago. From here I’m proposing that we take some smaller steps in manageable phases to eventually end up with a landscaped backyard that is irrigated, has an established lawn, a kitchen garden, maybe a bluestone patio with a firepit and a small perennial section alongside the patio. I mean, that isn’t really a lot to ask! Let’s just chip away at it and here’s how,

Sarah's yard phase 1-3 planI thought I’d just mock up a little something for everyone to see, maybe just to get a glimpse of what these portions of the yard might look like once we get through these phases.

yard right side

well that definitely looks real!

yard right side plan

And then the shed side,

yard shed cleared


yard shed cleared plan






Here’s hoping that you’re taking a drive with your squeeze this summer weekend.

Betsy shall return soon from the UK and return to blogger town, home from rockstar town. We’ll be dropping the reveal on the Bennett kitchen renovation soon, which I’m fairly sure you’re gonna love. If you follow us on Instagram you saw a little teaser. Hasta Luego.


Mi Favorito

Sometimes the style of spaces that I love is so varied and other times consistent. Do you often see trends in the interiors that inspire you? Do you try to identify them?

This is what I’m loving on now.

Josef Frank fabric

josef frank dining room

I like purple and indigo together in my art


I dream of putting l-shaped additions on to traditional ranches,





cocktails with St. Germaine Elderflower



I think about work spaces in the home that are both masculine and artful




anytime someone wants to mix heavy wood with white and then toss in a Serge Mouille count me in




fa3bb970dbb75f916cfadd0526c68fb0 e33aeee800b5f32ba3b56d3bbe772ca5








Kitchen Essentials: Bread Boards

By Posted on 0

So maybe you don’t bake bread, chances are excellent that you don’t.

You’ll be surprised to know that the fact that you don’t make your own bread does not in any way diminish your need for a bread board. Bread boards are in every kitchen, take a spin through your kitchen Pinterest board or the pages of Elle Decor, House Beautiful etc. and you’ll see them there propped on the counter top.

cut board3

They warm up those white kitchens we love so much, they add some rustic to our modern and they don’t just accessorize they are functional because they are…cutting and serving boards.

cut board

Do you need one? Yes. Should you have two? Probably.

Bennett cut board

Lean them against your subway tile backsplash. Stack them in a huge antique basket. Serve up something beautiful.

Here are a few choices if you’re in the market,

bread board roundup1. On Our Table slab 2. General Store cutting board 3. The Estate of Things antique bread board 4. Terrain Marble & Wood serving board 5. Early American Shop Artisan bread board 6. Wood and Table cutting board



Trestle Desks

I have some telecommuting friends and one of these friends has a new work from home gig and needs to carve out a work space. I’m thinking she should consider a trestle desk because well it’s kind of simple– they are affordable, timeless and chic.

Case in point,




My favorite example. It’s all about accessorizing, customizing and adding great art. Shelving won’t hurt either.









How is everyone putting these together? Mostly with IKEA’s Klimpen system, which you can customize with different finishes on the top and the legs. Here’s a little roundup with some other trestle options, some with a little more storage.

trestle desks

Target trestle desk/ PB Teen Storage Trestle Desk/ PB Teen Project Trestle Desk/ IKEA Klimpen Desk



Formal Dining Rooms Turn Casual

How many people do you know that say, “we never use our dining room,” “It’s the lowest on the decorating priority list,” “We only use it on holidays,” “My parents gave us their old dining room set and so we stuck that in there”

I’ve heard all of these excuses.

It’s obvious how this room functions, but when you think more specifically about what kind of experiences you have in your home, it can bring you closer to turning an unused room around.

No matter how you use it, we need to send boring, matched dining room sets and heavy draperies out with the next purge and go casual, with style of course.

Questions to ask yourself about your forgotten dining room:

What kind of food do you cook?

Do your family or guests tend to linger at the table, engage in friendly or unfriendly debates, have too much wine and divulge?

Do you have dinner parties? Entertain?

Do you want to be able to mix cocktails here? Music?

Is the dining room open to living area?

How big is the dining space?

Do you have china or a finer set of dishes or serving ware separate from the everyday?

Do you kids, How do your kids use the space at this age?

And now to illustrate, here are some casual dining rooms that I’m all about:














Are you noticing any trends yet?

I seem to like books in the dining room and I gravitate toward both dark enveloping dining rooms as well as light filled rooms.

















White Place: A pocket neighborhood?

In the late 1800s, S.R. White platted 38 acres of what would become White Place in Bloomington, Illinois.

Why is this interesting? Well… because when we stumbled upon White Place off University Avenue I immediately thought– pocket neighborhood and I’m fascinated with pocket neighborhoods. I recently visited Bloomington IL, a moderately sized midwestern town but certainly bigger than my own southern home. A two and half hour ride from Chicago, Bloomington is home to State Farm, Illionois State University, Illinois Wesleyan and had he not been assassinated maybe Abraham Lincoln’s post-presidential home.

The downtown area of Bloomington is a renovator/house flipper’s Graceland. Prices stay low (for now), the streets are lush and green (for now) and the potential is high. The streets are lined with Queen Annes, craftsman bungalows and prairie style houses. I’m not sure why anyone would want to live anywhere else in Bloomington but in a downtown spot and White Place was undoubtedly a curious corner.

white place gate


white place2

The street in White Place is brick,

white place3

And there’s a strip of green space running down the middle and a round island in the center that has been filled with shrubs and perennials.

white place4


white place5


white place5

I imagine that the residents take care in planting the island and around the lamp posts. I’m wondering if they actually light the place at night?

white place6


white place7

There is one house for sale in White Place and although it needs work, you won’t believe the price. See what I mean?



A Quick Paint Fix

A little cottage dining room recently required some quick updating.. Getting rid of the dated paint colors was first and foremost on the list and what resulted is just further confirmation that paint will go a long way.

Tan walls be gone,

Quick Paint Update

We used Benjamin Moore’s Woodlawn Blue to brighten up the dining room. We also replaced the existing light fixture with an easy Allen + Roth drum pendant from Lowe’s. How fresh is that?!

We also sent pouty Laney to the pool, so we don’t have to hear “Mom I don’t want to go see any more houses”


Spring Hill Project: Gallery Wall

It’s been a while since I shared anything about the Spring Hill Project but that’s only because the kitchen renovation was delayed. Things are still happening just at a relatively slow pace.

Though recently, I put together a little gallery wall for the living area.

Since the beginning I thought that one of Jennifer Ament’s prints would be fitting for the space and the client’s style.

Here’s how I chose the artwork for the complimentary gallery wall.


How to build a gallery. Sarah's picks for the Spring Hill Project by The Estate of Things


Art is subjective right but I wanted to bring in some elements that can be taken and translated in to your own combination of art. The key elements I used in this grouping are:

A print or work with words, a phrase or some kind of typeface,

art love

Pretty Chic Love

A landscape,

art mtns

Yao Cheng Forest in Indigo

An abstract,

art abstract

Clare Elsaesser Decisions

Flora in black and white,

art ink leaf

Domino Botanical Sumi Ink

Fauna in black and white,

art horses

Black Horses Robert Farkas



And that made for a mix that we thought worked quite well with our jumping off point.