Marble Backsplash

I have always loved one, solid sheet of marble (rather than individual tiles) as a backsplash, but I assumed it would be too expensive and too difficult to cut to exact size. Then I had the idea of using counter top laminate, which is only 0.035 inches thick, and costs around $2/square foot. So, last week I ordered a sample of laminate in Formica’s Calacatta Marble:

Formica Calacatta Marble

I am still waiting on a laminate sample of  Wilsonart’s Calcutta Marble:

Wilsonart Calcutta Marble

From the images, the Wilsonart Calcutta Marble is my preference, but I will decide once I can compare the samples.

These laminate sheets are designed to be used as counter tops, so they are durable, waterproof, and stain-resistant  – perfect for using as a backsplash! As I mentioned in Kitchen Inspiration, we will have black bottom cupboards, concrete counters, and white upper cupboards.  Here are a few examples of marble backsplashes:


Now you know our secret! When you come to visit, just act impressed, as if it’s real marble.

To see my entire Kitchen Ideabook on Houzz, click here.

Featured image from Home Depot – purchase exact sample here!


Open Concept

Before Joanna Gaines became famously known for knocking down walls and opening the space between dining rooms and kitchens, I have loved an open concept floor plan.

You will notice that technically our “front” door opens into the dining area, but the main entry that we plan to use will enter through the living room. first-design(1)

Here are a few examples of an open layout, from the perspective of the living room.

To see my entire Living Room Ideabook on Houzz, click here.

As I mentioned in my Designers to Follow post, I have too many Instagram screen shots of ideas and inspiration on my phone. Here are a few open concept ideas I have saved:

Click on any image to enlarge.

Design & Live

Sita Montgomery Interiors

Home Decorating Ideas

Home Inspiration

Featured image from: Restoration Hardware – purchase exact sofa here!

Mid-Mod Townhouse

My sister and I have similar design styles. In fact, this past Christmas I noticed a candle-holder on her mantle. She said, “I thought you would like it. I actually bought it for you, but decided to keep it for myself.” Only sisters can get away with that.

This house was vacant for five years before the church – where Nate is working – renovated the house for staff housing.

Living Room – Before
Living Room – After

Their living room looks like it came straight out of my Living Room Inspiration! Compare their living room with one I saved for our house:

I guess you could say we think alike.


Another similarity we have is our searching of Craigslist for a good deal. We drove to Burlington, VT together to pick up this modern farmhouse dining room table. The two clear acrylic chairs in the dining room and the white leather chair in the living room are also more great Craigslist finds. The buffet is from the thrift store; all it needed was a modern face-lift!


Nate and Cherith moved to this house from Brazil. Before moving, they sold almost everything, but they kept a few things that reminded them of Brazil, including the two authentic cowhide rugs in the living room and master bedroom.

Thank you Cherith for sharing these inspiring photos of mid-century/modern decor ideas!


Light Fixtures


Durand asked us where we were going, and our response was all too familiar to anyone who frequently shops on Craigslist: “We’re going to a parking lot to meet a lady and buy some lights from her.” I guess there are worse things you could buy in a parking lot.

For $25, I brought home four onyx mosaic light fixtures, including a chandelier, a semi-flush mount, and two pendants.

I figured out how to shorten the wires of the chandelier, and we plan to hang it in the master bedroom. I found a similar chandelier online for $484.91:


I have been considering a ceiling lamp from Ikea for $29.99, so when I found not one, but four lights for less than the price of this one, I knew I had to go for it.


I’m still not quite sure where I will put the pendants. I was thinking about possibly hanging them in the laundry room if I don’t come up with another idea.


Or maybe I’ll just let Durand keep them.

Featured image from: Ikea – purchase the exact fixture here!


Modern Basement

The first project Ashley and I worked on together was a secret mailbox, hidden half-way between her house and mine. To build our mailbox, first we found an old tree stump, then dug out the rotted wood, placed a metal coffee can inside, and covered the can back up with pine needles. We were destined to be successful architects.

Now, twenty years later, we are both in the process of building our first home. Ashley and Erik, much further along in the process than we are, offered this advice for first-time home-builders:

  • Make your plans as detailed as possible
  • Get as many prices for products from several different sources
  • Establish a relationship with a reputable sales rep from local building suppliers.
  • Limit your time running after supplies by making detailed lists

    “We just finished siding and now just have to finish grading in the front. As for the interior, the upstairs radiant is almost finished, then we can tape and paint and put a floor down and we’ll be ready to sell!”

What makes their situation unique is that they are living in the basement, while slowly building the rest of the house. Ashley said, “We are doing it all with cash, so it’s been slow, but we are almost there! We should have everything done in the next couple of months, and then we plan on putting it on the market and hopefully selling right away! And then we will do it all again…It has been a bit slower than planned, but it’s worth it!”

Two of my favorite design details about this basement are the mid-mod living room and the Edison-bulb pendants in the bathroom.

“We’ve been living down here for the past four years and plan to finish the upstairs by spring and then put the house on the market.”
“We both have basically the same taste, so we designed it together. I’ve helped as much as I can, where I can, when it comes to the building process, but it’s been pretty minimal! I built a few walls!”




“We found this house online years ago. We liked the exterior and then just laid the interior out together…We don’t actually have blueprints, Erik just went off of the outside dimensions and built away!”


Good luck, Ashley and Erik! Thank you for sharing pictures of your beautiful home!

Mixed Metals

I already mentioned my love for gold accents in my Kitchen Inspiration post. The only things better than gold accents, however, are mixed-metal accents, such as gold and copper!


I found this detailed, gold and copper nail-art-canvas for $1.00 at a local garage sale this summer. We love spending time on the lake, and I could not pass up these colors!


This copper and stainless steel bowl is from the thrift store – more on that gold mine to come – and the black and gold plate was a wedding gift. I think this plate may be to blame for starting my love of black and gold (Thanks, Jen!).


Another thrift store find, this copper ice bucket is a perfect jar for dog treats. It sits on a shelf out in the open all day, but still fits right in with the mixed-metal decor.


Don’t let him fool you; he gets more than enough treats.


And finally, this gold and copper teapot was a Christmas gift from Tommy’s mom, the gold S mug from my friend Nichole, and the gold and black plates from my sister Karalie.

[Also, the heart artwork, or heartwork, if you will, is just a framed gift bag that I found on clearance for $0.70 at Home Goods.]



Denzel is obviously just as excited as I am to see all of these mixed-metal pieces come together for our new house.

Check out  E. Interior’s post for more on mixed metals!

Kitchen Inspiration

In an era when all things stainless steel reign supreme, we are potentially taking a big risk by using gold hardware in our kitchen, but these pictures solidify how gorgeous it can look. Using clean, modern pieces creates an edgy, yet timeless look. Like the first picture, we hope to have gold hardware, black cupboards on the bottom, and white cupboards on top. Not pictured in this post, we will also have concrete counter tops, which you can see in my previous post, Designers to Follow.

Also, any takers on those dreamy, gold pendants in the third photo?  They are currently selling for $535.00 each – not quite within our budget!

Featured image from: Lowes – purchase exact faucet here!