CELEBRATE: A Modern DIY Halloween Party

I still can’t believe it’s October and that Halloween is around the corner, before we know it it’s going to be Christmas! Yikes. Well, I don’t have the power to slow down time, but I do have the power to choose to keep things simple.  So, for Halloween these are my favorite ideas for a Modern DIY Halloween Party that look great, but are not time consuming to pull off.

Modern DIY Halloween Inspiration

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INSPIRATION: A Modern Rustic Mudroom Entrance

We’ve started to spend every spare minute up at the Farmhaus, measuring, painting, starting demo, etc.  But as I’ve said before, you always need to start with a plan.  So, in the evenings, when the kids are asleep, I’ve been working on floor plans.  The space is essentially going to stay the same, but the big change is going from having just one bathroom, to having two bathrooms.  But drawing lines, and figuring out what will work within code is not nearly as fun as imagining all the pretty things that will inhabit the space.

So, I’ve started to imagine each room.  First, I’m starting with a modern rustic farmhouse mudroom entrance.  I want it to be a mix of function, weathered rustic charm, and clean modern lines.  I’ve pulled some imagines that contain many of the elements I’m looking for, though none is exactly it.

Rustic Modern Farmhouse Mudroom Entrance


Rustic Modern Farmhouse Mudroom Entrance


Rustic Modern Farmhouse Mudroom Entrance


Rustic Modern Farmhouse Mudroom Entrance


Rustic Modern Farmhouse Mudroom Entrance


modern rustic farmhouse mudroom entrance


The common thread throughout these images is the color palette of rich browns, mixed with classic black and white.  I can’t wait to start pulling all these elements together.

Jackie - I’ve no doubt you’ll do wonders here.

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INSPIRATION: Dreams Can Come True


Last year Hubby and I made a real effort to go on dates that forced us to explore the Bay Area, see here and here. As we got to know Sonoma better, we fell in love with the area and started dreaming about owning a little piece of land that we could get away to.  The dream turned into active searching and after much looking, and many disappointments, we can now say we are the proud new owners of a Sonoma farmhouse.

The house is exactly what we were looking for, small enough to encourage quality family time indoors, but with enough land for the kids to explore and go on adventures while we learn to grow vegetables and other edibles.  I think we’re still in a daze that our dream came true.

As you can imagine from looking at this picture, the house needs quite a bit of TLC.  We’re excited to make it our own. So check back regularly to see our work and our vision unfold.

Monika - Congrats to you and yours. May complete happiness be at the core of your home with loads of memories built now and well into the future.

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Before and After: What a Difference a Frame Makes

The Difference A Frame Makes 1 copy


There’s good art and bad art, but sometimes that depends on the eye of the beholder and sometimes it depends on context. Sometimes good art can seem like bad art, in the wrong environment, or in this case in the wrong frame.

Buying original art can be expensive, which is one of the many reasons I love to look for vintage original art at flea markets, thrift stores, etc. But you have to be willing to look beyond the frame and concentrate on the art itself. I bought a number of vintage pieces for a client, a few pieces were good enough to go straight on the wall, but most needed reframing in order to be transformed.

Check out these two pastels in blond wood with matching colored mats.  They scream cheezy 80’s, but look at how each gets a complete makeover and is brought back to life with completely different approaches.

The Difference A Frame Makes 3 copy

The Difference A Frame Makes 4 copy

What about this piece?  The frame wasn’t hideous, just a bit chipped, but the frame was so thick it made the piece feel so heavy.  With the new frame the art breathes.

The Difference A Frame Makes 2 copy

Lastly, here is a delicate watercolor I found at a salvage yard.  The frame and mat were actually in great condition, but the feel was so “granny”. By reframing the painting in a simple gilded frame we were able to elevate it to a chic painting which highlights the painter’s gentle brushstrokes.

The Difference A Frame Makes 5 copy

Wouldn’t you say these pieces were all completely transformed through framing?  So, next time you look at a pile of discarded art, concentrate on the art, not the frame.

Kat Wachter - I am a huge fan of thrift store/ yard sale art! Everytime I’m at the thrift store, I check out the art. You’re absolutely right – look at the art, not the frame. I would add: you can also look at the frame and ignore the art. I’ve found great frames that I’ve recycled for other pieces. Basically I think you just need to look at the pieces individually, rather than as a whole.

I’ve also discovered that it’s really easy to take apart a piece of art, and change both the mat and the frame (spray paint!), to make a custom piece that works for you. I’ve spray painted so many mats and frames! It surprised me the first time I spray painted a mat (it was a bit of a why-not?), but they take paint really well.

isadorag - Hey Kat,
Thanks for stopping by. You’re so right, sometimes you can find great frames with bad art… or even frames with no art. I have a whole collection of vintage gilded frames in my garage waiting for an opportunity to be reused. Here’s to seeing through the ugly to find the hidden beauty.

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Inspiration: Modern Concealed TV Solutions

Before & After: Cozy Breakfast Nook with Concealed TV

For the record, we are a TV family. Whether it’s the kids watching cartoons, or us watching cable, TV is a part of our lives. However, that doesn’t mean I want our TVs to dominate the rooms the live in.  In the case of our breakfast nook above, I made the TV work with a wall gallery in order to draw attention away from it.  But how about concealing the TV entirely?  Here are my Top 5 modern and elegant solutions for a hidden TV.

1) Rolling Panel

This is the cleanest, discreet solution. The whole wall moves to reveal the TV.

modern hidden concealed TVvia

2) Moveable Art

If your TV is large, large scale art can conceal a multitude of sins.

modern hidden concealed TV 1


3) Mantel Disguise

TVs are often placed above a firelplace. But why not keep the attention on the fireplace and keep the surround clean and uncluttered.

modern hidden concealed TV 4


4) Piano Hinge

Of all the solutions, this one is probably the easiest to DIY with some plywood, some frames and of course, a piano hinge.

modern hidden concealed TV 3


5) Barn Doors

These days barn doors are very much on trend, so why not use the trend to your advantage to conceal your TV.  This solution will require your TV to be tucked into an alcove so the doors can float in front of it.

modern hidden concealed TV 2


We’ve all seen the design shows where the husband wants a BIG TV and the wife doesn’t want the TV to be the center of attention.  With these modern TV concealing solutions everyone can have their cake and eat it too.

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