Christmas Tree Inspiration Roundup

So I had been planning to share photos of our Christmas tree this week. After going back and forth for weeks, Anthony and I decided to just reuse the pre-lit artificial tree we used in our college apartments (see our 2012 tree). But within 5 minutes of plugging it in last night, we looked at each other and said, "Let's go get a real tree". 

Aside from the fact the a few strands of lights had burnt out, our sparse 6-foot was just not enough to fill our new living room with Christmas spirit. Anthony said it was a great "accessory" tree for our apartments, but it just wasn't a good "focal point" tree. Yes, those were the two words he used and I don't think I've ever been prouder of him. (#designerhusbandwin)

So we're planning to venture out to cut down our first real tree this weekend, but in the meantime I wanted to share some Christmas tree ideas from other bloggers that have definitely got me in the decorating mood!

Flocked Christmas tree decorated with all white ornaments & pinecones {Christmas Tree Inspiration Roundup} - Stevie Storck Design Co.
Minimal Emerald Green Christmas Tree {Christmas Tree Inspiration Roundup} - Stevie Storck Design Co.
Modern Neutral Christmas Tree with DIY Clay Star Ornaments {Christmas Tree Inspiration Roundup} - Stevie Storck Design Co.
Ombre Rainbow Inspired Christmas Tree {Christmas Tree Inspiration Roundup} - Stevie Storck Design Co.
Rustic Woodsy Christmas Tree {Christmas Tree Inspiration Roundup} - Stevie Storck Design Co.

Rustic Woodsy Christmas Tree from My Sweet Savannah

Do you have your Christmas tree up yet? Are you a real or artificial tree type person?

Currently Loving... Spanish Cement Tile

There's a new trend sweeping the design world: Spanish cement tile.

Actually, encaustic cement tiles (as they are widely known throughout the world) have been around since the 1850s, so they are hardly a new thing. What makes them different from normal clay or porcelain tiles is that they are not fired, and there is no layer of glaze on the surface of the tile. The result is a matte, porous, handmade tile that can be sealed or allowed to age and patina over time. 

While historically these patterned tiles were fairly colorful, manufacturers today are making a wide range of solid and neutral patterned designs that give a modern edge to this old-world material.

Alhambra Kitchen by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

I have to admit, part of me sees these gorgeous tiles and thinks of the highly patterned linoleum flooring that was so popular in the 1960's and 70's. Patterned floors can be pretty polarizing. But with a natural, matte finish and in neutral patterns, I think this look is pretty classic.

What do you think?

Would you consider using cement tiles in your kitchen or bathroom? Or do you think 10 years from now, these people will be wondering what in the world they were thinking?

Share your opinion in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!


Living Room Inspiration | Ultra Dark Walls

Before we even closed on our home, I knew for certain what color I wanted to paint our living room.

BLACK.

My parents thought I was crazy, my coworkers were intrigued and luckily, Anthony was all for it! I’ve always been a fan of dark paint colors. I painted the bathroom of our last apartment a pretty navy color. For our new home, I was inspired by these photos I found on Pinterest of rooms with ultra dark walls.

Source: Thrifty Decor Chick

Dark walls feel so cozy! They immediately take a large space and make it feel more intimate. It’s commonly thought that dark colors will make space look smaller, but in my experience it has the exact opposite effect. Dark colors recede visually, so they seem further away. This makes the room look even bigger!

I knew I wanted to go further than just a charcoal. I wanted an ultra dark, off-black color. So I got samples of Sherwin Williams Black Fox (a warm black), Iron Ore (a black with blue and green undertones) and Urbanze Bronze (a warm black/brown). Once I had the samples up, it was almost immediate. Iron Ore was the winner! I loved the way the blue and green undertones tied it into the other colors in my Whole House Color Scheme. Now that the living room has been painted for a couple of months, I love it even more. In some light, Iron Ore takes on an almost navy hue. It's such a cozy, relaxing color to be surrounded by. It's the perfect color for our living room!

Have I convinced you to come to do the dark side?? If you are ready to try an ultra dark paint color in your home, here are my top recommendations: 

The best ultra dark paint colors for 2016! Rich, moody, deep, dark hues from Sherwin Williams and Farrow & Ball - Stevie Storck Design Co.

Do you have a favorite ultra dark paint color? Share it in the comments below!

Reader Design Dilemma #2: Jacqueline's Chicago Balcony

I'm back with the next installment of my Reader Design Dilemma series! Jacqueline lives in Chicago with her partner, Jack and their sweet pup Ali. (Be sure to check out her new blog, Twenty & Dating!) They have this cute little balcony/back porch area off of their apartment, but haven't been sure how to use it. 

While this balcony isn't quite big enough for entertaining, Jacqueline wanted an outdoor space where she and Jack could hang out and enjoy the nice summer weather. She was looking for some inexpensive, DIY projects to decorate this space and make it more usable. 

Stevie Storck Design Co - RDD #2 Jacqueline's Chicago Balcony
Stevie Storck Design Co - RDD #2 Jacqueline's Chicago Balcony
Stevie Storck Design Co - RDD #2 Jacqueline's Chicago Balcony
Stevie Storck Design Co - RDD #2 Jacqueline's Chicago Balcony

Alright, Jacqueline! Here's what I'm suggesting for your balcony:

Jacqueline's Chicago Balcony.jpg

Outdoor Rug | Milk Crate | Fabric | String Lights | Succulents

Since this is such an open shared balcony, I know one of your hopes was to differentiate where YOUR space starts and ends. A great way to do that without creating physical barriers is by using an outdoor rug. This is a tried and true interior design trick when working with open concept spaces, both indoors and out! Adding a rug will help to break up the space and minimize the "bowling alley" effect that is has going on right now. 

Because this is a space that your neighbors will occasionally need to walk through, any seating you have out here needs to be lightweight and portable. I found this awesome DIY milk crate stool project from The Eager Teacher. I'm suggesting three to sit side by side in the 48" wide space underneath your window. To modify this project for outdoor use, I would purchase outdoor fabric to upholster the tops with and also add a layer of plastic between your foam cushion and your fabric. You can use inexpensive plastic drop cloths for this, which can be purchased at any hardware or paint store. Since your balcony is covered and they won't be directly exposed to the elements, this should be all you need. The bonus is you can bring them inside when you have company for extra seating! I'm picturing these black milk crates with a fun print fabric like this

Moving up to the ceiling, there's nothing that I love more than some twinkling string lights! Aside from giving some great mood lighting, hanging these across the ceiling will further help to define where your part of the balcony starts and stops. I would hang them perpendicular to your railing, like in this example from Bower Power. 

The last thing you need to finish off your space are some plants! I recently came across the project from Emily Henderson. I love the simple way she attached her pots, just by double (or triple) wrapping them with string. I think you could use this same method to attach some small pots to the inside of your railing. You could also put a couple of tension rods across the outside of your windows and hang pots from there! 

What's your favorite way to brighten up an outdoor space? Share your tips by commenting below!