House Update Part 6

familyroom1
Our family room couch and coffee table are both from Restoration Hardware, while the rug is from West Elm.

I’ve been so preoccupied blogging about my pregnancy and babies that I haven’t done a home design post in months (excluding my most recent post on the nursery). That said, if you’re wondering what we’ve been up to in terms of our house the answer is A WHOLE LOT. We’ve been trying to get as much done as possible before Baby Lease arrives (any day now!), and I’m proud to say with the exception of our joint office and living room bar we are virtually done. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been a real team effort and we’re both very pleased with the results.

Let’s start with the entryway:

mosswall
Entryway table and moss wall.

By our front door there are two dark wood columns, so when I saw this Crate & Barrel entryway table I told David I thought it would tie in nicely with our exterior. Our door is see-through and this table is the first thing to catch your eye. Our floors are also very light and I liked the contrast of the dark wood and steel black legs.

My original idea was to hang a mirror or a piece of art above the entryway table and call it a day, but David had other plans: installing a moss wall. He’s a big fan of plants and greenery inside the home and there’s a company in Miami called Plant the Future that designs beautiful arrangements and installations using dried plants and moss. The moss you see here is real but preserved and it’s nailed to the wall via a wood backing. It requires no maintenance, because if it did — believe me I would’ve resisted this idea. Two months later there’s still a bit of an odor from the moss, however, I have to admit the wall does a great job of adding color, dimension, and a hint of wow factor to our entrance.

Family room:

Familyroombuiltins1
Family room custom built-in wall unit.

Custom built-ins cost a fortune, but we decided to splurge on a wall unit for our family room to hide our media equipment and complete the large open space. I looked at images on Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration and we made sure to get at least three different quotes from cabinet and mill working shops. We worked with Viking Kabinets in South Miami on this wood piece which took about a month to build once the design was approved. The hardware is from Restoration Hardware, and the built-ins are painted the exact same color as our walls (Benjamin Moore White Heron).

familyroombuiltins2
West Elm lamp from our condo.

The fun part was styling the shelves by combining books, picture frames, and decorative objects of varying heights and sizes. David had certain pieces he absolutely wanted displayed like a deer skull he had found and spray painted neon green; a Wallstreet themed chess set, a train with his name written on it in graffiti, and a robot sculpture. Meanwhile I wanted to put out these two Rodin-esque sitting men sculptures I had bought a while ago,  plus some pretty cookbooks, and family photos. We also had an alphabetized classic book set from Penguin in a neon color palette which my mother-in-law had purchased, as well as an antique bronze clock. I knew I wanted a cohesive color palette, and somehow without trying all that hard it worked out to be bronze (to go with the hardware), silver, and whatever color books we could find (the brighter the better to pop against the white). Any objects that didn’t fall into either category got nixed. The cost didn’t make this an easy decision, but I have to say the wall unit makes the entire house feel so much warmer, put-together, and to be honest with you — grown up.

Living room: 

livingroom1
Our living room. We’re planning on building a custom bar where the bar cart currently resides.

Our living room is right off our entrance and is quite long so we were really unsure how to decorate it. Fortunately, we had hired Montreal-based designer Scott Yetman to help us create a furniture layout plan  for part of the house. Getting professional design help is expensive, but if you can afford it it’s often totally worth it, particularly when it comes to conceptualizing the layout of challenging spaces. Because the room is long and rectangular, Scott suggested creating a sitting area around a circular coffee table and rounded swivel arm chairs and we loved the idea.

familyroom3
Living room sitting area.

A friend of ours told us about the brand Room & Board and while in New York this summer we went to their store and tested out their Otis swivel chair that I had spotted online. Chairs are one of the most expensive furniture items so it’s important to try them out before buying. We picked up a bunch of fabric swatches and brought them back to Miami with us, ultimately deciding on “Vashon ink”.

Two of my favorite furniture brands are West Elm and CB2 because their products are stylish and fairly priced. We ended up ordering the Darbuka black coffee table from CB2 for our living room and I think the sleek, steel piece pairs nicely with the plush chairs, as well as our entryway table.

livingroom2
A daybed by the window = perfect reading nook.

Our living room layout plan included a daybed style sofa so as not to block the window while simulatneously creating another sitting area in the rectangular space. What’s more, our family room is right off the living room and since we were putting a traditional sofa there across from the TV, we needed another type of couch for this particular spot.

I discovered  the American furniture brand Joybird via Instagram’s targeted advertising and liked their designs and direct-to-consumer concept. The Hughes daybed was just what we were looking for so ordered a swatch kit and David picked this charcoal color in the Bennet fabric. The couch is right by the window and makes for an ideal reading nook.

A few months ago I thought we’d never be done furnishing our house because we had to wait almost two months for nearly everything and that’s only after we actually agreed on what to get in the first place. Fast forward to today and I can’t believe all that remains to be done in the living room is installing a custom bar where the bar cart currently resides. It’s definitely not a priority and I actually think the bar cart looks pretty good for the time being. Besides, with baby arriving any day now it may be a little while before we’re hosting an open bar night.

xoxo

Val

House Update Part 5: Nursery Reveal

nurseryedit2

Less than two weeks to go till Baby Lease’s official due date and I wanted to share our nursery design with you. As previously mentioned, we wanted the room to feel like an extension of the rest of our home and to be a happy and cozy space for our little boy or girl. It’s why we opted for a white and grey color palette with the addition of light wood tones to compliment the maple floors in the room.

Once we got the color story down, I used the online design service Havenly to help me with the layout because I wasn’t sure where the best place for each piece of furniture would be. Plus, this way I could see a 3D rendering of the layout before making any purchases and would feel more confident going forward.

Nurseryedit1

We had set a budget and after some extensive research I decided I wanted to get the crib and dresser from Babyletto. I felt their designs and price points were right on and I had seen their pieces featured on several design blogs I admire. I showed David different crib/dresser combos and we picked the Hudson crib in white with natural railings (to coordinate with our light wood floors) and the all-white Hudson six drawer double dresser.

Continue reading

Boy or Girl? Some Thoughts on Gender

davidandari2
How adorable is my husband David and his younger sister Ariel? 

I can’t believe that in about three weeks we will finally meet our baby! As you know we have decided not to find out the gender until the big day. People often ask me if this has been challenging, but it honestly hasn’t been.

I would’ve decorated the nursery the exact same way because I’m not a big fan of anything too girly and because I want the room to feel like an extension of the rest of our home. I also like to plan ahead, and, depending on when we have a second child (we definitely know we want to have at least two kids) there’s a big chance our second baby will be using most of the same furniture, or taking over the room entirely. And while some moms-to-be can’t wait to buy gender specific baby clothes, I for one love white and grey outfits on tiny tots and had no problem buying a few items now, and waiting to get the rest after baby’s arrival.

But decor and clothing aside, David and I couldn’t be more excited for the big gender reveal, and above all — to meet our (pray to god) healthy baby. That said, I do have some thoughts on having a boy versus having a girl. Since we may have two kids total, I think it would be an ideal scenerio to have one of each and then close up shop. However, I love having an older sister, and I think the bond shared between two siblings of the same sex is so special (provided they can push sibling rivalry aside). Conversely, my husband is a big brother who has always looked out for his younger sister, and so the thought of having a boy and then a girl melts my heart (I’m very emotional these days mind you). FYI: a boy first followed by a girl is his personal preference.

Continue reading

Motherhood Resolutions

Pregnancy35weeksEDIT
This is #35weeks

Hi!

I always like to reflect on the year that passed and make resolutions for the year ahead around the time of the Jewish New Year. It’s usually celebrated in September or October and coincides with the start of the scholastic year. It just makes  more sense to me to do it around this time rather than in late December/January.

Given I’m 35 weeks pregnant (holy sh*t!) pretty much most of my thoughts are centered around pregnancy, labor/delivery, and motherhood. I’m not sleeping much  due to a combination of heartburn, muscle spasms, side pains, and having to pee every hour on the hour (oh how I love being pregnant!) so I’ve had even more time to ruminate. Lucky me. Needless to say, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what kind of woman I want to be as I prepare to add mother to my resume, and below are some of my new year’s “resolutions” if you will.

  1. During baby’s first couple of months, I will NOT, I repeat, I will NOT put pressure on myself to get much done other than keeping baby alive and relatively happy.
  2. I will not let my pride prevent me from asking for help if and when I need it.
  3. I will not Text/Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat while nursing (at least until I get the hang of it and even then only on rare occasions).
  4. I will not post more than one Instagram story per day of me cooing at my adorable baby.

Continue reading

Do This With Your Partner Before Baby

babypicEDIT
Headed to a wedding at #29weeks

Hola from Orlando. I’m currently 30 weeks pregnant and we’re  in Orlando with our family in an effort to hide from Hurricane Irma. I’m feeling grateful my due date is two months away and praying for the health and safety of my family and friends.

Week 29 marked a turning point in my pregnancy. My heartburn got more fierce, and I started to experience pain in my pelvic region. I described it to my husband as feeling like someone punched me in the crotch and left me all bruised up. TMI? Consequently, I listened to my body and stopped going to my beloved dance cardio classes because it’s too much jumping and too high intensity for me to handle right now. Last week even prenatal yoga felt like too much, however, this week I was able to handle a barre class and I’ve started swimming which I should’ve done a long time ago because it’s so wonderful while pregnant.

In other news, we attended a birthing/parenting class at our synagogue which included an hour long session entitled: from partners to parents. An amazing clinical social worker by the name of Amy Small talked to us about the inevitable transition we’d be experiencing and I thought one exercise was particularly helpful. She had the spouses sit across from one another and instructed us to take turns telling our significant other the things we expect from them as a parent. Each person got three minutes to speak (no interruptions allowed), and when they were finished the other person had to repeat everything back to them and ask if they’d missed anything.

Continue reading

My Maternity Fashion Favs

Maternitystyle1
25 weeks and wearing an old blouse by Cooper & Ella and Maternity Jeans (link below) by Luxe, the in house brand from a Pea in the Pod. 

I’m currently 26 weeks preggo and I’m not so pleased to report that everyday activities like getting out of bed, or bending over to put on my shoes are starting to be a bit of a nuisance. They’re not full blown problems by any means, but I can see them on the horizon. Oh the joys of being pregnant!

I finally feel like I’m carrying around a little load and I’m experiencing heartburn after virtually every meal. I’ve also had to purchase a special sciatica knee pillow to make sleeping on my side more comfortable and keep my knees from awkwardly banging against each other. I’m telling you, if my husband doesn’t bow down to me after I give birth to this child I don’t know what I’ll do. Just kidding. Sort of. Okay, not really. Mothers are GODDESSES and men just have to accept it. Got it guys?

Anyways, this is a post about maternity fashion which I must say I’ve realized is a whole other beast. There are SO many products out there it can get overwhelming trying to differentiate between what you actually need and what products just have really good marketing. I feel the same way about baby/kids products (more on this in another post). My goal throughout this pregnancy is to look and feel my best without spending a lot of money on clothes I’ll only be wearing for a few months (even taking into account a second pregnancy).

Continue reading

Musings From a Nervous Mama-To-Be

Babybump24
And we’re off to a Dance Body Class. This is #24weeks

Okay, yes I’m super excited to welcome a baby into our lives, but guess what — I’m also scared and nervous. Our lives are about to change in a major way, and even though I’m 99.99 percent confident it will be for the better, I’m also human, and this human has her fears/worries. It also doesn’t help that I’m generally an anxious person with a fair share of OCD tendencies (perfect storm anyone?).

That being said, I have read personal accounts of peoples’ anxiety improving since  becoming parents because the experience helped them gain perspective they were previously lacking. After all, how can you worry about whether you picked the right curtains, or if your last review was poorly written when you have a tiny human life to protect??!! I certainly hope I fall into this category of folks. In my dreams I’m a zen mama, but so far I haven’t been a particularly zen mama-to-be so lets see how that goes. I like to aim high.

Continue reading

We’re Having a Baby!

Pregnancy3
This is #20weeks

I had hoped 2017 would be the year I got pregnant and I’m so excited to share that Baby Lease will be arriving November of this year!

This may be oversharing, but if you’re thinking about getting pregnant you may be interested in knowing a bit about my pregnancy journey. It goes something like this: After 14 years of being on the pill I went off it in January and got my first non-pill period six weeks later. I then downloaded the Ovia fertility app and based on when I had my period it told me what days of the month would be optimal for baby making. Five weeks later I’m peeing on a stick and it’s POSITIVE! I’m sharing this story because that’s what this blog is all about, but believe me when I say we both realize how ridiculously lucky we are right now and we don’t take anything for granted.

So how do I feel? Today I’m 22 weeks and fortunately I feel mostly good. The last three weeks I’ve been suffering from daily heartburn and the occasional short-lived shooting pain up and down my side that I’ve learned is called round ligament pain. I have to pee virtually every hour, including most nights, which I tell myself is good practice for the sleepless nights ahead (hey, just trying to put a positive spin on things). Thankfully, I’ve been able to stick to my workout routine which consists of dance cardio and barre a couple times a week. This is not only good for the baby, but mama needs it to help quell the occasional holy SH*T we’re having a baby freak-outs (more on this in the next blog post).

Continue reading

House Update Part 4

powderroom1
Our powder room is done! We kept the existing mirror, light, and faucet. The wallpaper is by Cole & Son; the sink is Alepe, and the accessories are by Kartners. 
powderroom2
Given the narrow space we really couldn’t fit a vanity in here, so we had to go minimalist with the sink and accessories. 
powderroom1
Powder room “before” shot. Not going to miss that mosaic tile or ugly sink. 

It has been almost two months since we moved into our new home. Can you believe it? I can’t. We’re pretty settled in now (finally!) and all of the construction is officially complete. We’re waiting on some custom built ins for our family room and office but they’ll arrive ready to be installed. It will be two months till our custom pieces are completed (FYI: everything takes two months when it comes to home renovations/re-decorating)) but I’m happy to announce that after months of deliberations we picked Viking Kabinets for the job.

In other exciting news, our powder room is officially done! Our Alepe sink arrived  from Germany after 10 weeks, and its compact size and circular shape is a perfect fit for the narrow space. It also goes great with our wallpaper which we love. Some people discouraged us from choosing the wallpaper we did because the architecture of our home is so modern, but we’re happy we chose something that really spoke to us. I simply don’t believe in the principle that just because the architecture of your home is a certain style it should dictate all of your interior design choices. I’m all about mixing it up.

Continue reading

House Update Part 3

masterbed1
Our Restoration Hardware bed with Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams nightstands 

Victory! We stuck to our move-in date and we’ve been living in our house for exactly two weeks. These two weeks have been exhausting, and there was a point I thought we’d never make it through all those boxes. Butttttt, with lots of help from one very organized mother-in-law and a lot of long days, we made it. We’ve got a couple big projects left and after that’s done we can focus on getting the place furnished and hanging all of our art.

The major project that remains is creating an entryway from our joint office (which is right off the kitchen) that will lead into the dining room. We think this will create a better flow, especially for all those parties we plan on hosting (a gal can dream). We ordered a set of double pocket doors and they arrived today. I’ll keep you updated on that in my next post. We’re also hoping to finalize our plans for custom built-in shelves for our family room, as well as a custom bar for our living room (for all the entertaining we’ll be doing!). Custom built-ins are expensive (what isn’t?), so it’s been taking longer than expected to find the right company for the job.

Continue reading