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Current Obsession: Utility Sinks

I was having lunch at Farmhouse in Evanston yesterday and they have this great utility sink in their bathroom. Of course (because this is just how my mind works) as my daughter was washing her hands, I was thinking why we don’t use these sinks more in residential design. They’re really a great way to get that modern rustic look that we love so much.

Z+ Architects via Houzz
ENJOY Co. via Houzz
Modern Organic Interiors via Houzz
This one adds a little bohemian flair and I love how they’ve created a a bright tile backdrop that keeps this bathroom from feeling too stark and cold
Incorporated architects & designers via Houzz
Via Houzz
And you don’t have to have the under piping exposed
Gaspar's Construction via Houzz
Kits Construction via Houzz
Peace Design via Houzz
Or, you can make the pipes and faucets more modern looking to balance the traditional sink
Perfect addition to a laundry room or kid’s bathroom
Upscale Construction via Houzz
ENJOY Co. via Houzz
Tessa Signature
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Judge a Book by Its Cover

Today was the first day of school (insert both happy and sad faces here depending on what moment you got me today.) So, that means two things: one, that hopefully Amy and I will have more time to do posts. We know we’ve been super lame about posting this summer! We have so many projects we need to update you on and a list of topics we want to write about and hopefully with four of the six of our collective kiddos in school now we’ll be able to get to them! Two, it means is that I finally got around to tackling my one of the projects on my to do list–going through all the kids books and moving them around from 6 year old to 4 year old, from 4 year old to 1 year old. Yup, the old hand me downs happen with clothes and books.

Books are big in our house. When I was growing up we had books everywhere…everywhere. A perfectly curated library takes years to put together. Well, unless you turn to Juniper Books.

Juniper Books is like one of those dream companies you wish you’d started. Damn it, another one I missed out on!! They’re booksellers, but think of them more like tailors of a bespoke library creating your perfectly-personalized, beautifully-thought-through-in-both-looks-and-content collection. Tell them what you love and they pull the perfect library together for you and man do they make it look good!

Juniper Books via Houzz

So, in 2010 Juniper Books decided to take books as decor to the next level with gorgeous custom book jackets–for the books you buy from them or for the books you already have.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 9.20.40 PM Juniper Books

Juniper Books

Where it used to be that you’d have to scour bookstores for perfectly-colored volumes to match your decor (with books that of course you’d read too!) now Juniper Books can actually print new covers in any color you wish.

I love these ones that still make the content of the book important, but are all just clean and pretty

This country club went all out–and while it’s a little gimmicky for my taste, putting custom jackets on their old leather law books to create this scene was certainly clever and gave new purpose to books that were likely never read

Perfect as a gift

Great for the foodie or oenophile

In honor of my kids hitting the books, I might just have to invest in my own little (and it would have to be little given the cost!) custom library.

Tessa Signature

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Creating a Vignette

Today I’m reposting one of my favorite things to do in a home……and the best part, it doesn’t take much creativity!  Also, Tessa and I visited West Elm yesterday and hands down it’s one of our favorite places to buy items to display in a vignette.  Later this week, I will post my favorite items.  

We often get asked about styling–a bookcase, coffee table, console, etc. The secret to styling is learning how to create a vignette. Creating a vignette with favorite objects in your home can be one way to truly make a space personal. In simple terms, a vignette is a group of small items purposefully arranged for display.  This can be done in the kitchen, hallway, living room, bedroom or really any room in the house.  You can display a vignette on nightstands, coffee tables, bookshelves or entry tables.

There really isn’t any wrong or right way to create a vignette but I’ve learned a few tips along the way.

1.  It’s important that scale, shape and size is taken into account when choosing objects.

2.  Think of these three tips as you choose your objects–Try to display something tall, something meaningful, and something fresh.

3.  Setting items on a tray is a great way to display lots of little objects without it looking too cluttered.  The tray gives the items boundaries.

4. Use different textures and different heights to create interest.

And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, a vignette should be unique to you.

I could pin beautiful vignettes to my Pinterest boards all day long but here are a few that demonstrate the rules above.

Perfect example of objects of different heights and I love that the frames are not the same finish which creates more interest.


Nice mixture of height and adding something fresh to the mix.

dresser vignette

When adding interest to a coffee table–books are your best friend.  But don’t just stop at one stack…work your way all the way around a table.

coffee table

A stack of books is always a nice addition and I love how they’ve used books here to create height for a lamp.

lamp on books


Using the books like a tray, it gives these three small objects a purpose and a nice choice of three items that differ in scale.

photo on book

Simple but beautiful use of different frames sizes to keep it interesting.  I also love how they have hung the gold frame instead of leaning all of them.


House of McNairy

Amy Signature

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