Upland Project | Family Room

I’m super excited to introduce the Upland Project to you guys! Since last fall, I’ve been working with an awesome family here in York to design their home. When I first met with them they had recently painted their family room and purchased new furniture but needed some help to finish the room. Their home is pretty traditional and their style is a mix of classic, transitional and luxe elements with a bit of rustic/antique mixed in.

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After our first meeting, I got to work on their Project Guide which included an inspiration collage to establish their style, a sketch of the room and an itemized budget with price ranges to help with planning their project. Here’s a look at what the room looked like when they moved in, and then when I first met with them after they had painted and gotten some new furniture.

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A great base, right? Their rustic coffee table is a family piece, a cut-down work bench from a local Piano factory. I love how it plays against the more elegant textures and materials in the room. My clients have great taste, they just needed help with figuring out that “top layer” of textiles, accents and accessories. Here’s the sketch I included with their Project Guide with my vision for the room. I wanted to create a space that felt very elegant and put together, but also livable, layered and cozy for a young family as their main hangout and TV watching spot.

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The star if this room is definitely this Gold Olive Leaf Ceiling Chandelier from Shades of Light. It makes the perfect statement and looks lovely with the lights on or off! This room had no overhead lighting before, and I’m so glad my clients were willing to run electrical so we could use this fixture. And a big thank you to Shades of Light for providing us with a nice press discount!

Shades of Light is a lighting company based in Richmond, VA. They are also the home of Young House Love’s lighting collection and have a bunch of other exclusive designs along with tried-and-true industry favorites. They are a smaller company, have great customer service and are definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for any new light fixtures for your home. Request a free catalog to see for yourself!

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For projects like this, I usually do a round of online ordering first focusing on bigger items like the rug, lighting, accent furniture, mirrors, large artwork, etc. Then I will go shopping at local home decor stores to fill in the small accessories and anything else we need to finish off the space. I usually get more than I think we’ll use on that trip so I can have some fun playing around with the styling and testing out different options. I really love the way this bookshelf styling came together! It’s the perfect combination for me - a few books, a little greenery, framed art, some ceramics and decorative storage/display. This bookshelf gets bonus points for having some more antiques and meaningful family heirlooms in the mix! Also, dominoes may be my new favorite bowl filler. I found the navy acrylic ones at Home Goods.

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Since their family room is just about done (there has been talk of swapping out the wall sconces, painting the fireplace and upgrading to a more modern fireplace screen ), we are now working on their kitchen! It’s a generously sized kitchen with great bones, but at the moment its just entirely too brown for my client’s taste. I’m excited to update you all as that project progresses!

Five Years

This past Friday, Anthony and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. FIVE WHOLE YEARS being married to my best friend. Man, has it been a wild five years! We moved home from Pittsburgh to York County, I started a business, we bought our first house, adopted our first dog and welcomed our first baby! A lot of firsts and so much learning and growing together in between.

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Every year around our anniversary, we get family portraits taken with Savannah Smith Photography and I share them here on the blog! You can see our previous years portraits here, including last year when we announced we were expecting Sage! 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014. It’s crazy to think in last years portraits, I had just gotten my first ultrasound and this year we have our little girl here with us! She slept through almost the whole photo session but I don’t think these photos could be any sweeter. I treasure these images and this beautiful family I’ve been blessed with. If I haven’t already made it abundantly clear in my posts about him, I am so unendingly grateful for this man. Anthony is more than I could have ever hoped for as a best friend, husband and now father. After 12 years together, I didn’t think we could get any closer but Sage’s birth and these first few months of parenthood have made me fall even deeper in love with him. He’s the rock of our family and he takes such good care of us. And even though we’re both cranky and sleep deprived, he’s just fun to be around!

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It’s been a wonderful five years, but this year easily tops them all. This is the year we really became a family. I’ve never been more happy or more grateful for you, Anthony!

My Favorite Things for Baby | Birth to 3 Months

Putting together a baby registry is hard work! There are way too many options and gadgets out there and it's hard to know what your baby will like and what you will actually use. I know so many friends and readers that are about to have babies, so I wanted to share my favorite products that I'm using with Sage everyday. This isn't a comprehensive list of what to put on your registry, more just a round up of my most-used items at this stage. Since I've been at this motherhood thing for all of 3 months, consider this "part one". If you guys are interested, I can share updates around 6 months and 1 year because heaven knows, what a baby needs and wants changes so much in the first year!

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1. Wrap Style Carrier - Anthony and I both LOVE this thing! We also have an Ergo baby and a Moby wrap (both I found secondhand for a steal!) but this is CuddleBug Wrap Carrier is the one we reach for the most. The fabric is strong but stretchy which makes it a lot easier to get Sage in and out of. There are some good tutorials on YouTube if you are mystified on how these things work like I was.  After watching a video and practicing tying it twice, I was a pro!

2. Pacifiers and Pacifier Clips - We introduced pacifiers around 3-4 weeks and Sage took the Natursutten the best. I like that it's made from natural rubber and has a large shield that touches her nose and chin to mimic the feeling of breastfeeding. I recently ordered a patPAT because it has a similar one piece design and love the idea of a pacifier and teether in one. Plus, Lindsey (the owner/inventor of Ryan & Rose) just rocks at Instagram stories. We were gifted a pacifier clip at our baby shower and I think these are the best invention ever. The pacifier clip also prevents her pacifier from falling on the floor and getting dirty and or lost. Sage mostly uses a pacifier for naps and at bedtime but it's so handy to just clip it to her outfit so I don't have to go looking for it when we need it!

3. Portable Changing Station - My cousin's wife has a SkipHop Portable Changing Station for her son, and I knew I wanted to add one to our registry! In addition to being a changing pad, it has pockets for diapers and wipes and folds up nicely so it's easy to carry or throw into the diaper bag.

4. Baby Swing - We have the Graco Simple Sway Baby Swing and Sage loves it! She takes her morning nap in it everyday. The seat can be taken off for it to be a standalone bouncy chair as well.  It takes up a good bit of room, but it's definitely something we'll save for future babies once she outgrows it! 

5. Sleep Sacks - The hospital was out of sleep sacks somehow during our stay so we used a swaddle blanket, but since we've been home we've put Sage in a sleep sack every night before bed. They are safer for babies than a loose blanket and there are options with a swaddle wrap and without. We used a newborn size swaddle style one for the first few weeks and now we have a few different 0-6 month sleep sacks we cycle through. I love the Blue Daisy pattern of this one!

6. Promptly Journal - This was a gift from my best friend and I LOVE IT! I was having trouble finding a baby book I liked and she surprised me with this one. She knows me so well! It's called A Complete Childhood History and it's a beautiful linen bound book with simple journal prompts from pregnancy to 18 years. It's really the perfect baby book! It comes in a bunch of pretty colors, ours is sage green, of course!

7. Muslin Hooded Bath Towel - These towels are so soft, dry quickly and look adorable on her! They are lightweight but very absorbent and they have little belts we can use to tie them like a robe once she gets a little bigger. 

8. Canvas Diaper Backpack - my other best friend who lives in Hawaii now (and just had a baby herself!) sent us our dream diaper backpack stuffed with all the baby goodies. I can't say how much I love this bag! I wanted something utilitarian and unisex, so Anthony wouldn't feel silly carrying it but also, because I'm not a super girly girl anyway. I love having a backpack versus a purse style diaper bag because it keeps my hands and arms free. It has just the right number of pockets and side compartments that are great for stashing a water bottle and your phone. I give this diaper backpack a 10/10! It's from Oliday on Etsy. They have really nice looking camera bags and laptop bags too!

9. Dr. Bronners Unscented Baby Castile Soap - This is the soap we've been using with Sage since she was born. I love that castile soap has a million other uses and you just need a few drops so it lasts a long time. It's a natural, vegetable-based soap with no added fragrance or synthethic detergents or preservatives. 

10. Baby Bath Support - I didn't want an enormous baby bathtub that was bulky and hard to store, because they grow out of them so quickly! This Angelcare Bath Support is perfect. It has a simple and streamlined design, a soft mesh material that comfy for Sage, drains easily and has a built in hook for easy storage. 

Other Frequently Asked Baby Questions

For our car seat and stroller, we have this Graco travel system. My sister-in-law suggested getting a jogging stroller instead of a regular one, and I'm glad I did! This thing can go over curbs, grass, gravel and rough terrain with ease. We'll probably get an additional lightweight umbrella stroller once Sage is a little older, but for now this is all we need!

We are cloth diapering and honestly, it's not as hard as I thought it would be! This is the podcast that convinced me to give it a try. We use Bumgenius 5.0 Pocket Style cloth diapers and I'm really happy with them.

One item I didn't register for but wish I did?  A manual breast pump. I have a Medela double electric pump that was supplied by my insurance but I recently bought a one-piece silicone breast pump. (Shout out to my instagram friend Sierra for telling me about these!) Now that Sage is sleeping longer stretches, I found I was leaking a ton from whatever side I wasn't nursing her on in the middle of the night. Now I attach this thing and collect a couple ounces every night, just from the suction and completely hands-free. It would have been great to have for relieving engorgement in the early days of breastfeeding. The one piece design makes it super easy to clean too! I highly recommend it for any breastfeeding mom or mama-to-be.

Last thing! There are so many parenting books out there but one book I highly recommend? Baby Meets World by Nicholas Day. This is the book to pick up when you are burnt out on reading pregnancy and parenting books. It's not a book about how to do things with babies, its a book about how babies do things. It's a great blend of scientific research, the often strange and confounding history of child-rearing (did you know goat wet nurses were once a thing?) and the author's personal experiences as a stay-at-home dad. It's feel like the antithesis of a typical parenting book, because it doesn't tell you what to do. It highlights the mysteries, complexities and everything wonderful about babies and has let me see the little life we created in a whole new way.  But I'm not a professional book reviewer, so here's a description from someone who is:

“Nicholas Day has birthed a perfect book: expertly researched, beautifully written, wise, warm, honest, funny. What makes it fascinating is the same thing that makes it reassuring: When it comes to caring for babies, there has never been one right way to do it, but dozens--contradictory, bizarre (goat wet nurses!), hilarious in retrospect but always well-meant. If you have a baby, expect a baby, were or still are a baby, this is a book for you.” ―Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Gulp

Ok, one more thing but this is the last one - I promise! I didn't originally include a baby monitor on my favorite things list because we just started using one more recently. But I really love the one we have now! It's the YI Home Camera. It works with an app on your phone, has the ability to add more cameras (if you have or plan to have multiple kiddos!), has sound and video and also works as an intercom. And the best thing? It's only $30. 

Was this round up helpful? Would you like to see more motherhood and baby related posts on Stevie Storck Design Co. or are you just here for the interiors? Let me know in the comments below or join the conversation on Instagram!

 

Disclosure: This post includes some affiliate links, meaning if you shop using the links in this post, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting brands that support this blog!

A New Look for Our Front Door

As an interior designer, I like to be experimental with my own home. When we first bought our house, I painted our front doors chartreuse, because I wanted a really bold and unexpected accent color to stand out from our white siding and black shutters. I really liked that look, but now that's it's been a few years I'm ready for something different. My personal style is always evolving but lately, I've been drawn to classic simplicity. And what's more timeless than a black door? Inspired by this color change, I've pulled together some classic front door decor inspiration - basically my wishlist for everything I want to do for our home! 

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1. Paint Color - For the black, I chose Sherwin Williams Caviar in Resilience Exterior Satin. One quart will be more than enough to paint a door! I love the richness of this shade of black, especially in the satin finish.

2. Tea Leaf Wreaths - We actually have two front doors, plus the kitchen door which is the one we mainly use. I love wreaths, but it's expensive to buy 3 for every season let alone storing that many! I have been looking for two simple, high quality wreaths I can leave up all year round on the front doors and I found the perfect ones from Silk Plants Direct. These are their 18" Tea Leaf Wreaths. They come in a pack of 2 and they are comparable in price to what I've seen at my local Target & Michaels stores but so much higher quality and more realistic. These are faux, not preserved so they will hold up better over time. I might add a bow at Christmas time, but regardless I think these work for every season. Now I can just change the wreath on the kitchen door out whenever I want to and it will be much more affordable since I won't be multiplying the cost times 3 every time. Silk Plants Direct has a ton of beautiful wreaths and faux florals to choose from. I reached out to them about a coupon code for you guys, and they are offering 10% off your order with the code BLOGGER10

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3. "Please Ring" Doorbell - I ordered two of these doorbells from Rejuvenation when they were on sale a few months ago. I got the antique brass, but they also come nickel, bronze and lacquered brass. Right now we just have a white doorbell on the white siding, so it's not very noticeable. In fact, I think my brother is the only one who ever rings our doorbell! Hopefully that will change once we get these installed. 

4. Door hardware - I've locked myself out too many times to count, so a keyless front door lock set is definitely in our future. I like that the finish of this one coordinates with the door bell and will pop off the black paint. Also, if you look closely the black numbers on the white buttons give a bit of a vintage vibe which I like. The convenience of modern technology with a look that fits out 1903 fixer upper - a win win! 

5. Outdoor Wall Sconces - This is the outdoor version of the ceiling lights I chose for our hallways. I like the idea of bringing a little indoor/outdoor continuity to the house and the schoolhouse look of these Eddystone Wall Fixtures is so timeless. And seriously, at $20 a pop - you can't beat these!

6. Layered Door Mats - I think Studio McGee might be the mastermind behind the layered doormat trend and I love their Eucalyptus Bundle Doormat. It's a little pricey but the design is so gorgeous. I would layer it with this  charcoal stripe indoor/outdoor rug in a 3' x 5'.

7. Faux Concrete Planter - Another thing I've been searching for are affordable urns for our front porch. These are cheaper than what I've seen at the garden centers and I like the warm, aged concrete finish. They also come in a browner color and a dark gray. 

Disclosure: This post includes some affiliate links, meaning if you shop using the links in this post, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting brands that support this blog!

How to Thrift Housewares & Home Decor

It's pretty common knowledge at this point that I love shopping secondhand. Most items in our house were found at a thrift store, yard sale or online classifieds like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. There are many reasons to love thrifting; whether it's the thrill of the hunt, trying to be mindful of consumption in regards to sustainability and the environment, or as an affordable way to outfit yourself and your home. My reason for thrifting is a combination of all three plus I love to decorate my home with unique items that no one else has. I've been a thrifter since high school and I am often asked how I find such good stuff secondhand. I wrote this post to share what I've learned over the years and my best tips for thrifting housewares and home decor items.

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Every item in this photo is a secondhand find with the exception of our dining chairs.

Where to Shop

For smaller home decor items and housewares, I find that thrift stores and yard sales are really the best place to shop. For bigger items, I'm a fan of Facebook Marketplace and Craiglist (I'll be sharing my tips for shopping on those sites soon!) but in my experience the best prices and selection on smaller home goods aren't going to be found online. Familiarize yourself with the secondhand shops in your area and go frequently. People have told me that they would love to thrift but just don't have the time. Thrifting doesn't have to be super time consuming! After you've been to all your local spots once, you'll know which ones are worth making return trips to. I try to squeeze in a little thrifting if I'm out running errands and I'm going to be nearby one of my favorite shops. I don't spend hours shopping or look through every section every time I go. I've decided on certain parameters for myself that help narrow down what I'm looking for to save me time and make it more manageable to find what I'm looking for. 

Read: How to Shop for Thrifted & Secondhand Furniture

Have a "Wishlist"

So you can't really go to a thrift store once with a list and expect to find exactly what you're looking for. But I do recommend having an idea of what you might need or want for your house ahead of time for the simple reason that thrift stores are crowded and you won't see what you aren't looking for. Every time I think of something I could use for the house, I put it on a note in my phone. Right now on my list are new cereal bowls and wooden peg racks for our kitchen and laundry room. In addition to making it more likely that I'll find what I'm looking for, this list also helps keep me focused on buying things I could actually use. When items are priced at $0.99 it's tempting to just throw everything in your cart, but I'm still trying to be intentional about what I bring into our house from a clutter standpoint. And also, you're not really saving money if you're buying something you weren't planning to already, you know? That being said, there are some items that I always keep my eye out for because they are versatile for decorating and/or have some practical or organizational use. Pin this list to refer to the next time you're out thrifting!

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Know Your Style

Another way I save time at the thrift store is by really knowing my style and the types of materials, patterns and colors I want to include in my home decor. I prefer natural materials like wood, wicker, ceramic, stone, leather, linen and cotton so I keep my eye out for those materials whenever I'm out thrifting. I like classic patterns, like stripes, plaids, gingham and vintage florals. I also have narrowed down the color palette I buy for my own house, sticking to mostly neutrals like white, cream, tan, brown and black with some blues and greens. For wood, wicker and leather I stick with medium red-brown finishes. For metals, I mostly buy brass and black. For you, it might be light/blonde wood finishes, warm colors, and copper metallics. Whatever your style is, coming up with a palette that you stick within for your home will make it easier to narrow down the selection while shopping secondhand and will also help your house feel more cohesive, and not like a thrift store itself! 

Thrift shopping has become a big hobby for me. In addition to being an affordable and environmentally friendly choice, shopping secondhand for home decor has helped me to refine my personal style and create a look for our home that's collected, eclectic and feels unique to us. If you've never tried thrifting before, I hope this post inspires you to hit up your local stores! And if you are into thrifting already, I hope my tips help you find more of what you're looking for. 

Do you have any thrifting tips to share? What's your favorite thing you found at the thrift store lately? Comment below or join the conversation on Instagram