2014: A Year in Review

Can you believe it’s 2015?! Last year just FLEW by, but when I go back and review all the posts from 2014, it really is amazing how much happened. Thanks to all of you who have stuck around and continue to offer your advice and words of encouragement – I love you all!

I’ll create a to-do list for 2015 tomorrow, but first let’s take a look back of some of the best posts of 2014:

DSC00473Most popular post: A step-by-step look at how to turn an IKEA Ribba frame into a bar tray garnered the most clicks this year – and it was even picked up by IKEA Hackers!

Most commented on post: Remember when y’all helped me pick out a new living room rug? Great job, by the way.

DSC01014Best before/after: I’m so happy I finally bit the bullet and gave my living room a navy accent wall like the ones I’d been admiring on Pinterest forever. Will I regret it when I move out and have to paint it back white? Only time will tell…

Still on my wish list: This may just be the year that I tackle my first upholstery project, so I better pick up “Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design” to prepare.

11Best trip: Sometimes the best trips are the ones that are last minute and random and cheap – that happened to be Kansas City for me this year.

Best purchase: I know this is a home design blog, but this Kipling tote has been a godsend this past year. The blogging fashionistas of the world certainly don’t have anything to worry about, but I know a good bag when I see one.

friendsgivingBest party: I finally pulled off a Friendsgiving this year! The place looked great, and I hope it’ll mark the begin of many dinner parties to come. I love hosting.

Greatest accomplishment: I trained and ran a friggin’ marathon. 26.2 miles. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever say that. Hell, I could barely run the 5 miles during soccer two-a-days in high school! It felt amazing.

DSC00683Best recipe: I just made this Parmesan Ranch Snack Mix for a New Year’s Eve party… so, so good – and ridiculously easy!


Shop This Space: Living Room

A few of you contacted me about sources for items in my revamped living room (more pictures here). Well, ask (nicely) and you shall receive…


1. Curtains: Threshold Floral Grayson Grommet Window Panel in Gray, 54×95, $30/each, Target; Curtain Rod: Umbra Geo Cage Drapery Rod in Bronze, 66-120″, $33, Target

2. Sofa: Karlstad in Sivik Dark Gray, $399, IKEA; Legs: Karlstad Legs, $20, IKEA

3. Rug: Safavieh Cambridge, 6×9, $340, Overstock (wait for a sale, I paid less than $200); Coffee table: Era Rectangular Coffee Table, $499, Crate and Barrel (I purchased via Craigslist)

4. Accent wall: Hale Navy, about $40/gallon, Benjamin Moore

Pretty much everything else is vintage I’ve inherited or snagged on Craigslist, but if you have any questions, send them my way!

Finally! Living Room Reveal

I know I teased the new living room rug more than two weeks ago now… I’m sorry to leave you hanging for so long! My laptop has been on the fritz so it hasn’t been easy working on the blog from home, and I’ve been really busy at my 9-to-5, too, so I haven’t been able to sneak in much Urban Nesting time in the office.

Plus, it turned out not to be just a new rug, of course, so I needed a bit more time…

So here goes! This was the living room before, right after it was painted:


During the rug back-and-forth…

DSC00909And finally, now!


Thank you to everyone who chimed in on the rug choices! Your advice was much appreciated because it was no easy decision. As you can see, I ended up going with rug No. 3! I really wanted No. 7, but I couldn’t justify the cost when the bf has a cat that barfs just about every day… Gross.


I’ll post a “Shop This Space” next week because I have new curtains now, too! That round tray on the coffee table was a thrift store score, but its paint job is a bit of a work in progress. More on that later.


I’m absolutely smittten with the calm, cool vibe of the space, and I think the mood of the room will really be swayed by artwork. It’s still pretty bare in there right now. The three “prints” above the couch now are just drawings I made and threw up there so it didn’t look so bare at the Garden Party. I’m planning to replace them eventually, but art isn’t something I like to just buy to fill space—it’s expensive, so I want to love it with a capital L!

DSC01036So what to do you think about how the space is coming together? I hope you like it as much as I do—but I’m always open to suggestions!


Choosing the Right Rug Size

I’m getting pretty good at visualizing concepts for a space, but I’m definitely NOT good at visualizing objects’ dimensions within a space (see the time I bought a Craigslist couch and it wouldn’t fit in the door… doh). I blame it on never having taken a physics class. Or is that more geometry? Hell, I’m really not good at any of the maths or sciences, so it doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that I’ve decided on a rug! The one I went with will be a surprise, but I had to figure out what size to go with first. So I consulted Emily

Since I don’t have cable, I didn’t watch Design Star when she was on, but I love Emily’s blog, and I feel like she’s the California version of my cool older sister. If I had an older sister, I mean.

Sooo… with Emily’s advice swimming around in my head, I set about taping off a few different options. I used painter’s tape so I could easily take it up and move it around. It worked surprisingly well.


I think I’m going to go with the 6×9… stay tuned! I’ll reveal the new rug soon!

I Want That Wednesday: Black and White Diamond Flats

I’m so happy to be able to show a little ankle (scan-da-lous!) again after all that polar vortexing. Yes, I’m using it as a verb. I think the cold killed some of my brain cells…

Anyway, If you haven’t noticed, pointy flats (D’orsay flats, if you will) are flippin’ everywhere. I’m trying to avoid buying super flat shoes (only because I know they’re terrible for your feet, and I’m trying to do everything I can to avoid injuring these puppies during marathon training), but these might just be too adorable to resist:

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 4.57.04 PM

Drool. They remind me of that Lappljung rug from IKEA that I’ve also seen everywhere.

The difference is that I’m not sure I’d have the guts to put this pattern 8×10 in my living room. But just a little hint of this pattern paired with, say, dark skinny jeans and maybe a hot pink blouse? Oo or a little black summer dress? Perfection.

Lucky Brand Women’s Abbee Flats, $60, Macy’s

(Images: Macy’s, A Beautiful Mess, Chelsea’s Garage, The Life Creative)

Disclaimer: “I Want That Wednesdays” are a series of posts that, well frankly, are just of things (decor, fashion, food, etc.) I like. The products featured are never sponsored; they’re simply items I’ve come across that I’m crushing on and that I thought you might enjoy as well. Let me know if you love it/ hate it/ can’t get enough of it.

Weekend Rewind: Annual IKEA Visit

This weekend was so. great. Granted, last Saturday I was in Mexico where it was 85 degrees, and this Saturday I was back in Chicago where it was snowing… But I love productive weekends almost more than anything. Maybe I’m a weirdo; I know some people like to actually relax on the weekends. But I managed to fit in good design, good food, good friends, good cleaning and good projects. Ah, I love that feeling!

I have a lot more to share with you, but I’ll start with my trip to IKEA. It’s been almost exactly a year since my last visit, and they’ve definitely made some solid additions since then. Here are a few of my favorites:

DSC00334BJÖRNLOKA Figur Fabric, $5.99/yard
ARÖD Work Lamp, $39.99

DSC00337Stockholm Sofa, $999

DSC00349Nandor Chair, $79.99

DSC00358 BISTÅ, UTFÖRA (and the last style isn’t sold online, I’m not sure what it’s called), $.99/each

DSC00368IKEA PS 2014 Rug, $129 (not sold online)

DSC00371Stockholm Chandelier, $99

DSC00373Riskorn Plant Pot, $5.99

Any new IKEA items you’re crushing on?

I Want That Wednesday

“I Want That Wednesdays” are a series of posts that, well frankly, are just of things (decor, fashion, food, etc.) I like. Egotistical, right? I’m hoping in time it’ll help me define my personal tastes. Let me know if you love it/hate it/can’t get enough of it.

Every day I go back and forth on whether or not I like the oriental rug in my living room. I know it’s a high-quality, vintage piece—and actually it hides dust and dirt very well—but something about it just isn’t right to me. Maybe it’s too dark for the space?

Anyway, you know I swapped out the oriental rug for the yellow striped one in the bedroom at one point. It looked ok, but the dhurrie quality (not very plush) and light coloring (showed every single cat hair!) did nothing for me. And I actually missed it in the bedroom more than I thought I would.rug_livingroom

So it’s still a work in progress. Such is life. Maybe I layer a light sisal rug underneath it? Or I’d love to give this rug a go:

sci18-58_corner-suryaIt’s almost a hint at nautical without the sailboats or anchors, so of course I love it. It’s colors are light, but not so much that you worry about any little thing getting on it. I’m partial to this color combo, but if you’re curious, it also comes in berry/purple and lime/emerald.

Scion Patch Rug, about $825 for a 5×8 from Rugs Direct and Rugs HQ

(Rug images: Scion)