Room in Progress: The Kitchen

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We are quickly approaching one full year in our new home! I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by. Later this month will mark the anniversary of coming to see the house and quickly (like, the next day quickly) going under contract. Then, we closed on the house at the end of June 2016.

When we finally had the keys to our house, we did a few cosmetic update projects: wallpaper and new drapes in the dining room, new drapes and new upholstery in the living room, and giving a fresh coat of paint to several rooms in the house. One of the first major projects that I wanted to do was update the kitchen, which of course, has been put off about a hundred times. Well, we’ve finally pulled the trigger and we are giving our kitchen a facelift!

The Before:Kitchen1Kitchen2

The Current:

When we moved in, the kitchen walls were a sweet butter yellow, which I didn’t mind at all. However, with all of the natural light in the kitchen, I wanted the room to feel a little bit more dreamy and airy. So we decided to paint, and chose Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl.

Since then, I’ve been daydreaming about ways to freshen up our kitchen to be a bit more modern and updated. This created a to-do list for the kitchen projects:

  • Replace the stove and dishwasher for stainless (to match the other, newer appliances)
  • Replace the dreaded “boob” light above the sink
  • Replace Corian countertops for granite/stone
  • Add subway tile backsplash
  • Replace the sink
  • Replace the faucet
  • Replace the lighting above the breakfast nook
  • Add risers and crown moulding to the top of our cabinets

I spent a lot of time on Pinterest gathering inspiration for how I wanted the kitchen to look (you can check out my kitchen inspiration board here!) Then, a few months ago, I had a contractor come out to give us a quote for the project. To say I had sticker shock is a bit of an understatement– I couldn’t believe the estimate we were given for labor alone. So I decided to look into a company that several of our friends have used for kitchen and bath renovations: Classic Granite and Marble.  I’m so happy I did!

Paul and I went out to the slab yard on a Saturday afternoon. I really wanted a stone that resembled Carrara marble – I love the way it looks but knew better than to put porous marble in our kitchen. We spent hours meandering in and out of the aisles of huge slabs and couldn’t seem to find anything just right. The closest thing I found was a slab of Super White, which Paul didn’t seem too thrilled with. I liked it, but it was almost too grey and veiny for me, and I felt like it might make our kitchen feel a little dreary instead of light and airy.


I decided to show Chris, the sales manager at Classic Granite, some of the things I had pinned on Pinterest, and a lightbulb went off for him. He started showing us their selection of Quartz, and immediately, I knew we were moving in the right direction!

After looking at several samples, we decided to go with Carrara Grigio quartz countertops with Genesi Bianco subway tile.

We also chose a granite composite sink in Truffle and the Delta Talbott kitchen faucet suite.

With all of these new updates, we also needed to update the lighting in the kitchen–especially the light over the breakfast nook.

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This light was okay with the yellow walls, but I wanted something more modern and sleeker. Enter the beautiful Sutton Pendant Light from Birch Lane! I ordered this off of Wayfair and it should be arriving on Tuesday! I can’t wait.


We’re going to check out slide-in stainless steel ranges today– I think they give off a much more custom looking vibe than freestanding stoves, don’t you? Next up will be picking out a stainless dishwasher (recommendations, anyone) and a flush mount to replace the boob light that will also compliment the pendant.

We’ll also be adding some undermounted light under the cabinets which I think will really freshen the look up, too! I’ve been collecting blue & white dinnerware and accents to give a pop of color to our built-ins in the breakfast nook. I just love this look:


Eventually, once everything is in place, the kitchen should look something like this:

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The kitchen should be just about complete by the first week in June! Stay tuned for the big reveal. I can’t wait!


Sofa, So Good? Adventures in Living Room Decisions.

Image result for sofa so goodIt’s been almost six months since we closed on our house, which is unbelievable to me. The past few months have flown by, and while we’ve made a lot of progress making the home “ours,” we still have a long way to go!

pantheon-fabric-persimmon-dwl5943My mom finished up our living room drapes and I am in love with them! We got a great bargain on the fabric from this Robert Allen Pantheon fabric in Persimmon usually goes for $75/yard from vendors like DwellStudio, but with a little digging & a coupon or two, we ended up getting all eight yards of this fabric for $21.95/yard. (PS – if you like this fabric, they still have 13 yards left at that price point! Just click here.)

She made the drapes floor to ceiling with goblet pleats at the top: they look super luxe, but the fabric makes them a bit playful, too, which I love!


My club chairs, which were previously green & yellow striped, have also been reupholstered and are ready for pick-up (as soon as I get my car back – but that’s another story for another day…). I went with this fawn-like print I found at U-Fab’s new location on Broad Street. It’s a little lighter in person, so I can’t wait to get my chairs back home to share with you!unnamed

Now that we have the drapes and club chairs taken care of, there are only a few other things on our list for the living room until we can move on to the next project:

  • A larger TV that we’ll mount in the center of the built-ins
  • A new sofa
  • A statement piece of art to go above said sofa
  • An updated gas log system for the fireplace
  • Modernize the moulding on the built-ins
  • Conceal the radiator under the built-ins

The sofa is turning out to be the most difficult decision — and the hardest for us to come to a consensus on. Our living room is long and narrow, which makes things a bit challenging. Additionally, there isn’t a ton of natural light, which makes me lean towards lighter and brighter colors to cheer up the room a bit. My husband has his heart set on a sectional – and I feel “meh” about them. And, we’re constantly flipping back and forth between leather and cloth! Leather is more practical, especially because we have a dog that spends most of her day lounging on the sofa while we’re at work. But leather is also dark, and I worry it will “bring down” our living room – in addition to possibly making it feel a bit “man-cavey.” Light fabric, which I prefer, is probably a dangerous choice for our lady-of-luxury pup, as well.

What to do, what to do!? Here is a snapshot of our current layout and the sofa we have. The current sofa is fine, but too small – we want something a little more substantial.

Here are some living rooms + sofa combos I like, but would LOVE some advice and opinions from you, dear readers! Leather or cloth? Dark or light? Sectional or no? I’d also really love to hear from fellow dog-owners, too: what advice do you have on buying great furniture you can protect from your pup?

Image result for southern living living rooms

Image result for southern living living rooms

Image result for sofa for narrow living roomImage result for beige sofa colorful roomImage result for leather sofa with upholstered chairsNote furniture placement in small living room: This living room is only 11' x 15', but two streamlined linen sofas provide ample seating in tight quarters. The onyx-faced fireplace is original to the home, an 1,100-square-foot Colonial-style house:

Room in Progress: Dining Room

Well, we moved! Despite the 100+ degree temperatures, multiple trips back and forth between old house and new, and a few broken glasses due to my hasty packing, we survived the move and have been in our new home for almost two weeks now.

Thanks to the tremendous, generous help from my parents and our new friend Rick from Clio, SC, our home was freshly painted, wallpapered, and punch-listed before the first box was unpacked. We still have many (many, many) projects left to do, but slowly and surely, our new Ginter Park house is starting to feel like home.

One room that is almost complete is our dining room! We still need drapes, and a few finishing touches, but it’s getting there!

The previous owners had painted the room a big, bold red. Since we went with mostly neutrals in the rest of the house, I wanted to maintain the dining room as a statement room. Here’s the before: 

We went with a beautiful, rich turquoise grasscloth wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries to set the stage, and used our existing dining room table and chairs, as well as our sideboard for furniture. 

With new drapes and a new light fixture, I think we will be all set. I may also do some new slipcovers for the dining room chairs as a project down the road, too.

But for now, here’s the after!

I really love the vintage Scandinavian Airlines canvas in here, as well. I picked it up at an antique shop in Paris years ago, and I love how the  wallpaper pulls out the turquoise blue in the Eiffel Tower.

One room (almost) down, eight to go! Stay tuned….

Meet our new friend, Benjamin Moore.

A few weeks ago after we signed the contract for our new home, I reached out to my dear friend Meredith for some inspiration and advice on color and wallpaper. Mere is one of my oldest friends- we’ve known each other since second grade! Here’s Mere and me in third grade doing a “talk show” for Mother’s Day dressed up as our moms (?!) Mere was so chic, even at age eight! (Note: Mere is the mini-Audrey Hepburn. I’m the one that looks like Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances. See reference photo below.)

We grew up together in Richmond, but Meredith quickly outgrew RVA and went on to study at SMU in Dallas before heading to New York City for design school. She now works for one of the top interior design firms in Manhattan, Gomez Associates, with a bevy of socialite and celebrity clients (don’t pump me for gossip, though. Mere is as tight-lipped as they come about her clients! Privacy first!)

Meredith has always had an impeccable eye for style and design, even before studying it professionally. She has an effortless way of mixing traditional with funky, neutrals with pops of color, and envisioning how to make a space come to life even from just a simple photo. Everything she touches looks like it magically came to life from the pages of a magazine. Which is why, as a clueless design neophyte, I absolutely needed her help in building the very basic-but essential-foundation to our home’s design: paint and wallpaper.

First up, our dining room. I sent her a safe, neutral grasscloth idea. Now? We’re doing this beautiful grasscloth from Phillip Jeffries to punctuate a statement dining room that will look similar to this:

This is our furniture that will fill the room:

Mere also advised us on our paint colors. I picked up my paint samples from Benjamin Moore this week, and tonight I did giant DIY paint swatches on white posters.

Here are some of the color examples for each room we’ll be using these paint colors, and some real-life examples of that room in others’ homes. ALL are Benjamin Moore, our new friend!

Kitchen: Wickham Gray

Living Room: Manchester Tan

Master Bath: Palladian Blue

Master Bedroom: Wythe Blue

Guest Bath: Oyster Shell

I want to find a room SOMEWHERE to do Edgecomb Gray and Gray Owl, but that is for another project, another day….

What paint colors do YOU love??

A New Beginning…

It’s been a little quiet around here on Sweet Caroline over the past few weeks. Things have been non-stop, go-go-go, but I’ve also held off on posting for a while because the temptation was too great to share our big news. Now that it’s Facebook and Insta-official…



We bought a house!!!

Paul and I have been searching high and low for the perfect home in Richmond to start this next chapter in our adventure. We wanted something historic but updated. Large but not too. Something we can grow into and make our own. A home that was great for entertaining and for the just-us nights. And we finally found it! Endless thanks and gratitude to our wonderful agent, Philip Innes of RE/MAX Commonwealth. We can’t say enough good things about our experience buying our first home with Philip! [Read more…]

RVA Social Calendar | Spring Pop-Up {presented by The SoGood + Ledbury)

Hey, RVA stylistas: you’re officially invited to an amazing pop-up event at the CCH Collection presented by Richmond-based darlings the SoGood and Ledbury. [Read more…]

Style Inspiration | The Carolina Inn

photo: carolina inn

Happy Monday! The warm weather is finally upon us – isn’t it lovely? I am so excited for spring this year!

Last weekend, my husband and I traveled down to Chapel Hill, NC for the wedding of my beautiful sister-in-law, Carol, and her sweet fiance Duncan. The wedding took place at the charming Carolina Inn — a Chapel Hill institution. We had a suite at this beautiful hotel, and I was blown away by the sweet, Southern, traditional yet modern decor. Whoever did the interior design for this gorgeous inn: bravo!  [Read more…]

Tuesday Ten // Sea Glass-Inspired Home Accents


photo credit: mochatini

Happy Tuesday!

As I was doing some cleaning and organizing over the Labor Day weekend, I realized that so many things I love the most at home right now are a pretty, ethereal sea glass color — that airy, pale blue-green that immediately whisks you away to coastal daydreams.

Whether it came off of our wedding registry or bought as a gift for myself, here are a few of my favorite sea glass-inspired home accents. Share your favorites in the comments below!

1. “Cumulus” Wine Glasses (Anthropologie, $14.00)



2. “Camelot” Throw Blanket in Mist (Bedford Cottage, $79.95)

3. Glass Water Bottle in Holiday (bkr, $30.00)

[Read more…]

Tuesday Ten // Farmhouse Inspired Decor

Farmhouse-Style-DecoratingH a p p y Tuesday, lovelies!

For a couple of years now, the words “rustic” and “farm-to-table” have been on the lips of many a wedding planner, interior designer, event planner, and restaurant owner. As the trend has evolved and grown over the past few years, we’ve seen rustic, farm-chic style infiltrate its way into our homes and even our closets!

Here are my favorite rustic, farmhouse-nspired decor items to make your home feel arcadian country chic– no quilts or needlepoint required.

[Read more…]

Must-Have Mondays: Blue + White Wares


0002_1665269791_mediumHappy Monday, everyone! I hope you had a great weekend. My parents are coming to visit from South Carolina next weekend, so we spent a good chunk of the weekend running errands and getting things in order and organized for their visit. This included hanging a few things and moving a few things around to showcase them on our pretty built-in bookcases in the living room.

One thing I really wanted to showcase was the few pieces I have of blue and white wares, also known as blue and white porcelain. These classic pieces are having a major comeback, and I’ve so enjoyed the accents and pop of color around the house.

One of my favorite pieces is this beautiful Spode “Blue Italian” hexagonal vase that we received as a wedding present from a dear family friend. It makes such a statement and is so classic and elegant. I just love it!

I have a few other blue & white pieces that I picked up here and there – from yard sales to eBidLocal auctions.

Are you loving this trend, too? Here are a few of my favorite blue & white accent pieces for your home, after the jump!


[Read more…]

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