New Mirror for the Fireplace

Sep 16, 2018

Let me dust off this blog and show you something new! I have been so busy with work and the kids school/sports schedules that I haven't had a chance to update lately. Actually, I haven't been able to do a lot of things the past month. I'm hoping things will settle down by next weekend so I can put out my fall decor...and take a breath!

Remember when I showed you the new chandeliers? I had mentioned that I chose two of them before I even moved into the house a little over three years ago. This mirror is also something I chose back then, but just like the chandeliers they were out of my budget. The only reason I finally bought the chandeliers is because I found knock-offs. I recently happened upon a much less expensive version of the same Restoration Hardware mirror too. It is six feet tall, which is exactly what I needed for these tall ceilings. 

Here is it is before with the smaller mirror.

I absolutely love this mirror too. It's just so short for these ceilings. Thankfully, I have the perfect spot for it over the dresser in the guest room. That room has been getting a mini update lately. I'm hoping to finish up a few details to show you soon. 

Hanging the mirror was a bit scary! I had wanted to lean it, but my skinny mantel is only 5 inches deep. It looked odd perched on that tiny mantel so we decided to hang it. Thankfully, my teenaged son had a friend that spent the night when we hung it so between the four of us it wasn't too bad. It also frees up space to decorate the mantel!

Here a few different views of the mirror in the room. 

The previous mantel decor was way too small in scale for the mirror, but I didn't want the decor all tall. When everything is oversized I get the Alice in Wonderland feel of everything being too big. I was shopping for a client at Arhaus a couple of days after we hung the mirror, and I noticed these candlesticks extremely discounted (under $60 for both). I love the way they pick up the gray in the painting next to it. I was thinking of wood candlesticks, but I think these work even better. I pulled the orchid out of my "decor closet." Doesn't everyone have one of those? The orchid isn't ideal long-term, but it works for now. I probably won't change it for a while because between decorating for fall and Christmas I really won't need anything until January. I'm so excited to decorate the mantel for the holidays!

This room is getting closer and closer to how I always envisioned it. I would really love a tall built-in media center with doors that cover the TV next. My husband said we should go ahead and buy the biggest TV we would ever want so that we could build around it when we are ready. That makes sense, but I feel like I'm being talked into a new TV we don't need. He also mentioned we would need to put in the surround sound at the same time as the built-in. I feel like I'm definitely being played! Maybe the drapes should be next instead?


Check Out My New Chandeliers!

Aug 14, 2018

I am so excited to reveal my new chandeliers! Our ceilings are so high in three of our main rooms that we needed very large chandeliers and an electrician to hang them...aka expensive! This is why I put it off for the three years we've lived in this house. Even though I didn't think we were going to install chandeliers this year I decided to go ahead and pick out the decor for each room of my house. It's something I do for my clients before I buy a thing. I realized I needed to treat myself like a client and have a plan for every room. That way I can go ahead and make purchases a little at a time without worrying I will make a mistake or went over budget. It turns out if I had just looked a bit harder I would have been able to find the exact lighting I had in mind all along at a fraction of the price of large retailers (not to mention my designer discount). Also, I found a highly recommended electrician that charges much less than many people I used in the past. It's a little disconcerting to realize I could have had chandeliers years ago, but I am happy to have them now!

Let's start in the dining room!

I think this chandelier was made for my furniture! The color, style, and size couldn't be more perfect. The funny thing is I kept coming across it in my online searches, but it just didn't look that great in photos. I had stopped by a local furniture store for a client and happened to see it there. I was instantly sold! I had no idea it was so substantial in person. The size of it still makes me take a second glance every time I walk past it. Honestly, it didn't look that well made in photos either. That couldn't be further from the truth. It is so well-made! The beads, mother of pearl and champagne finish couldn't be more beautiful.


Here are tips for hanging chandeliers in rooms with high ceilings. Many designers will tell you to hang your chandelier 30-34" over a dining table, use a method of adding the dimensions of the room to find the height of the chandelier in inches you should buy, and to keep the width 10-12 inches smaller than the width of the table.

Throw all of that out! That's only good advice if you have an eight foot ceiling. I don't know a soul with an 8 foot ceiling! It makes no sense for us with new homes and skyscraper ceilings. Well, the configuration of the height of the chandelier is fine. When you buy a very tall chandelier you are also going to get unexpected width because most of them are made for foyers. It is completely okay to have a chandelier the width of your table. The reason why it is recommended to keep the chandelier width smaller than the table is to avoid your guests from hitting their head on the chandelier as they stand or sit. If you have taller ceilings you can easily just hang your chandelier higher. It also takes up the void of space in the upper half of your room. I prefer to use the rule of thumb of hanging the chandelier in a room without a table in this case, which is at least seven feet from the floor. In my case, I hung the chandelier six feet from the floor since the last 12 inches tapers in toward the table. The candles that are in danger of my guests noggins are seven feet from the floor. This isn't recommended advice I have seen anywhere FYI, but it's basic math. Once you research the why for the "chandelier rules" it is shocking how outdated they are. I hope this helps all of you with tall ceilings like mine!

Let's move to the foyer!

I absolutely love this chandelier! I picked this one out before our house was even finished three years ago today. Yes, three years ago today is when we moved into this house! It was very pricey at the retailer I saw it at all those years ago. After looking around recently I realized I could buy almost the exact chandelier at a much more reasonable price. I could not be happier with it! It is so dramatic and beautiful. The photo does not do it justice!


The living room chandelier is also another one that I chose before we even moved in. I looked around to see if there was anything I liked better, but I always came back to this one. Just like the foyer chandelier, I found it for much cheaper than a popular brick and mortar store sold almost the exact one.


I hope you enjoyed the new lighting tour! I am sure I will have more photos for you soon!

Summer Foyer

Jul 29, 2018

The closer I get to getting my home completely decorating the more I love to add seasonal decor. I typically only use fresh florals and candles. It doesn't take much! This year I decided I to deck out my blue and white vases with palm fronds. My current home doesn't have palm trees to cut fromnlike my last one so I bought faux ones. It was such a great choice, especially with all of our summer trips we had planned. It was nice to have one less thing to water!

I know I always say it, but "blue and white goes with everything!"


DIY Backyard Landscaping Reveal

Jul 15, 2018

I think I've written so many times about wanting to have our backyard landscaped! We have had zero luck with contractors over the past two years. Their vision and/or pricing has not been even close to what I had in mind. My husband and I had mentioned just planting trees and shrubs ourselves, but we were still thinking it over until a few weeks later when we noticed Houston Garden Center had 50% off all their plants. They have the sale every year and even discount them to 75% off in August. This sale is also how we landscaped our last backyard for cheap. It's not exactly ideal timing with the Houston heat, but if you're willing to sweat you can save big. We decided we were ready to sweat!

When we built our pool a couple of years ago we added the Italian cypress trees behind the pool wall within a few months. They were a little thin and short at the time, but they have grown so much the past two years. The new landscaping is all along the fence line in the back. I'm hoping in the next year or two the plants will grow a couple of feet taller and wider so you don't even see the fence.

We only addressed half the yard, from behind the hot tub to the side gate by the front of the house. It's the main area you see when you walk outside. I'm hoping we will landscape the other half next summer. I'm already going to start planning it out to get a head start!

This is the starting point. I'll take you you on a little tour all the way to the side gate.

We used Japanese blueberries and magnolia trees where we will eventually need privacy on the side fence (directly in front of you in the below photo). Hopefully, it will be a couple of years before the lot is sold and the house built so they have time to get big. The area to the left (the fence behind the pool) will never have neighbors on that side so we used wax myrtles that will just cover the fence. I also added Texas sage that's a bit lighter in leaf color to add a bit of variation. It has a pretty purple flower that blooms in the spring and summer too. 

I like how the new flowerbed creates a little walking path in the back. We also added solar lights to the beds. They are only $10 each and it's so nice not to have to worry about using timers and electricity. It's also a no-brainer to install. You just stick it in the ground and switch it on. There's no lines to bury at all. My husband says he would eventually like to get real lights, but I think these are fine. They are bright enough and last all night.

The view from behind the cypress trees.

The side fences-The one with the magnolias is one side fence on the unbuilt lot. Their house will back up to the corner of our house on this small section. The one with the cypress trees is the second side fence.

The other side fence. It's a strange shaped backyard with two neighbors on one side. Here's a close-up of the Japanese blueberries that will eventually reach 30 feet tall. They are about five feet tall right now. I'm hoping next year they will cover the fence. Then we start a line of cypress trees. These are what ours looked like when we planted the ones behind the pool wall. It's amazing how big they get! I'm not quite sure if these are going to stay. We were honestly out of options because we needed something big, but didn't want to buy too many of the same plants. They may end up being transplanted to the other side of the yard next year.

I absolutely love these holly trees! I kind of wish we had continued these down the fence line, but they were a little pricey. If they're still available next month at 75% off I may buy several more. I love that they almost cover our neighbor's house. It's so nice to look out the dining room window and see greenery instead of fence and a house so close by. They still need to get a bit taller and grow wider, but it's already a huge improvement.

The small shrub with the roses and vincas around it were my idea of a divider between the holly and cypress trees. I'm not so sure that worked out so great in reality! I'm thinking of curving the bed a little more so it's not such a half circle. If I copy it on the other side against the house I'm hoping it may look like the grass is in an oval shape.

I still haven't planted anything against the house yet. I'm not sure if I'm up to it this year!

This is just a first layer. I'd like to tweak and add more in front of the large trees and shrubs. I decided to get the big stuff in first so we can add privacy from the side neighbors and cover the unattractive fence.

To recap, here is the before.




It was so worth it to DIY our backyard landscaping. We saved so much money that instead of landscaping one small section we were able to do half the yard. How much did we save? The quote we received for the same landscaping area was $35,000 and we spent $3,000. No joke! Half our budget went to hiring someone to shape the beds and mulch it. We could have saved several hundred more, but we wanted to have it completed in time for our 4th of July party. We decided we were on a roll so we installed a new outdoor speaker system for the patio and saved 70% there. It was already pre-wired so it really wasn't difficult at all.

What's in store for next year? I mentioned I'd like to landscape the other side of the yard and it's what I'm most excited about. I'm going to create a formal garden! It's something that I've always wanted. I'm a little nervous because it's so different from anything I've ever done. At least the yard on that side is less challenging because there aren't privacy issues or weird lot angles to disguise. I've got a year to draw it out instead of just grabbing what was on hand at the garden center with no plan!


Fourth of July Pool Party 2018

Jul 5, 2018

I can't believe we've been having our annual July 4th pool party for five years! We started it the year after we put in our pool at the last house. Everyone had so much fun at the first party that they asked if we were going to have it the next year. It ended up snowballing into an annual event!

Earlier this year we installed the terrace pillars and railing. It also ended up being the perfect spot to add bunting.

This green sweet potato vine had choked my pink petunias I planted earlier this summer so I added red vincas a few days before the party. When I was digging in the pots I noticed there were actual sweet potatoes under the dirt about the size of a golf ball. I guess that's why they call it a sweet potato vine! I also added small American flags to each pot. I just love how festive it turned out!

Here is the biggest change! We added landscaping to the back yard along the fence line. We started behind the hot tub and went all the way around the pool and up the side of the house. It's kind of hard to see anything but mulch in this photo. I will show you more as soon as I take pictures. It was nice we were able to finish just two days before the party. We also installed a drip system for the potted plants, added more landscaping and patio lights, and put in a new outdoor speaker system. We were able to DIY everything so we could have everything on our wish list. We spent an absurdly small amount of money for everything. I will go over those details in my next post in case you are also wanting to make exterior updates. There's still a bit more to add and tweak, but it's basically done. Our backyard has come a really long way from last year!

A quick family photo before the party started.

Thankfully, I have one friend that always remembers to take a photo during a party! She also has a home decor Instagram account. Follow Leigh @ourwoodforesthome.

I've been reflecting back this year on how my kids and my friends' kids have grown up over the past five years. They were so little back then, and now most of them are tweens and teens! I'm also thankful to have such great people in my life for so many years. I love their company and watching their kids grow up with mine. I hope they have fun memories of going to the Clark house for the 4th of July when they get older!