Halloween Chic

Simple Halloween decor that is classic and spooky

Our Halloween decorations were all sourced from Michael’s craft store. We spent less than $100 and will use all of the decorations again next year. I wanted to bring in the “spooky” and “freaky” without making the decor too dark or sensational, and on a white bookcase it was impossible to make the decor too dark anyways, so I worked with what we had and even incorporated some of our usual shelf decor, that with the black fabric looked spooky too!

The hand mannequin that is always on our shelf looks spookier with the Halloween colors

I flipped all of our books so that black, white and red bindings were the only visible colors facing out. I removed all items from our shelves that were out of color scheme and hid them below. I layered a combination of black fabric, black stuffing and faux fall leaves across the shelves with a mix of styrofoam (read: cheap) skeleton heads, black crows and a “bag of bones” nestled in a chicken wire box.

All of the books turned out or face forward were red, white and black / B&W

The black stuffing went a long way to elevate basic shelves to Halloween chic with the mix of faux leaves. Be sure to stand the leaves up in the stuffing so that you can see them from afar vs. simply laying them down flat.

Leaves standing up in the black stuffing add more color and texture than leaves laying flat

The crows were a fun addition to the shelves and we were able to tuck a few away in some “surprise” places throughout the house.

A crow perched atop the Sapiens bookcase

Each fireplace mantle was decorated differently with a combination of small pumpkins, white and orange, and more faux fall leaves. In total, I used four bags of the faux leaves and they went a long way. I took all of the extra leaves and piled them at the edge of the fireplace on the ground.

Out of frame is a pile of faux leaves at the base of the den fireplace

The dining room fireplace was decorated with faux leaf branches from Michaels and a line of orange and white striped pumpkins from the patch!

The faux leaves look real against the [real] mini orange and white striped pumpkins on the dining room fireplace

The dark Calla Lillies that we always have in our living room in their bone vases look perfect for Halloween! The white pumpkins are simple and sweet. 

Friendly “Halloween” flowers in the kitchen

All of our mini pumpkins were purchased at the pumpkin patch. We bought 15 of these minis and scattered them though the house!

All of our pumpkins were cleaned before we placed them around the house. 

While we will have to toss the pumpkins end of season, all of the other decor can be stored for next year. 

In our entry we nested a bundle of dried corn against a cluster of larger pumpkins and more faux leaves

Happy Halloween!

The Story / Sapiens Bookcase

How I make a good looking book stack

Design Within Reach has finally re-released the famous Story Bookcase in a short and tall version here. I purchased ours on Amazon in 2017 before the re-release here. The Amazon version is 79.6″ high, 14 shelves and $285 + $43 shipping. The DWR version is 75.5″ high, 12 shelves and $295 + $21 shipping. If you’ve ever seen this bookcase in a photo and wondered how someone can possibly stack their books so neatly without them falling over, well, this is how.

The Sapiens Bookcase from Amazon

While the bookcase is a bit pricey, I love it because it can hold a ton of books in a super space efficient way and it looks chic.

 

Large to small, white bindings out (or pages)

I stack my books from large to small, bottom to top (I wouldn’t recommend any other way), with white bindings or pages facing out. Yes, this means that if the binding is colored, it is facing pages OUT and binding IN such that the entire front of the stack is in shades of white. Of course you can stack any way you’d like.

Time consuming exercise to get this right!

To most quickly order the books from tallest to shortest I first line them against the wall to gauge height and organize on the floor first, into groups, then transition to the shelves.

 

 

I leave a bit of room at the top for extras that tend to collect around the house

The Sapiens Bookcase is such a great architectural piece that adds nice interest to any room. If short on floor space, the short stack can be added to the top of a desk or console for equal impact.

Drafty windows meet Etsy

Many of the windows in this home are drafty because they are old! The den is a great example with curved glass windows from 1897 and the bedrooms all have wooden framed windows that raise and lower on chains. In addition to being energy inefficient, the draft does blow in some dust and debris – yuck – which is not great for the new paint job! I searched solutions and found only a couple that I would consider myself. Now, these are NOT the most energy efficient solutions, but they are the prettiest, so keep that in mind.
First, there is window putty that can be inserted in the gaps. It is pretty discreet, but I couldn’t find it in white, so I gave up.
Second, there is Etsy! Etsy solves so many problems in a chic way. I am loving these Grain Sack Linen-Canvas door and window draft stoppers from Woods & Shore and ordered the beautiful yellow and cream version for the guest.

Woods and Home
Woods & Shore, Grain Sack Linen-Canvas door and window draft stoppers

For the den, I ordered these SixSewThree draft stoppers filled with 100% balsam needles. Apparently the smell is great and I love the look for colder months in our cozy, dark den.

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SixSewThree, 100% balsam needle filled draft stoppers

Hopefully they look as good as I am expecting. I will post a picture when they are in place!

 

 

 

Wendy’s (Ellis) Green

Farrow & Ball full gloss paint

I discovered high shine “Wendy’s Green” paint from Farrow & Ball while searching for the perfect olive paint. The store actually does not carry a true olive paint but good news!, the custom mixed Wendy’s Green is available, with a 2 gallon minimum. This is the same green that designer Wendy Labrum used at the 2017 Lake Forest, IL Design & Garden Showhouse. I love it!

All room images were pulled from La Dolce Vita.

The one that got away 

Perhaps anyone who has house hunted has found the “almost perfect” house before finding “the one”.

We each found our own “perfect” house but unfortunately it was not the same house, so we went with neither and had to move on. However, from time to time i still think of this one…

This house was even better in person and I loved every detail. It was impeccably clean and looked like it came straight from Architectural Digest.


The molding was fresh and new (no cakey old paint) and the cream walls were the perfect backdrop for art. There was an incredible flat marble fireplace that was the perfect touch of modern for the space.

The dining room windows looked out on Lincoln Park and I loved the books and beams.

The back of the house didn’t have the best view, but that was the only slight downside that I saw.


The endless closets were a great plus!

If you like what you see – this beautiful place is still up for grabs!

A rental loft: my first Chicago project

a breezy loft gets a post-modern rental makeover

With their open floor plans and soaring ceilings, lofts are one-of-a kind residences and why this loft stood out among a sea of rentals. Interestingly, I had come across photos of our loft online when I lived in New York, before we moved to Chicago, when browsing the internet. This was before I had ever contemplated living in Chicago, so to end up in this exact building by chance is either an amazing coincidence, or a great example of the powers of the internet on predicting consumer choice!

Coffee table: Molteni, Chaise: Room & Board, Chairs: InMod, Bookcase: Sapien / Amazon, Art: designers own

The furniture chosen for this loft was intended to be low profile and transitional so it could move out of the rental someday and into a more permanent spot. This explains the lack of a full couch, which would have been a big commitment, expensive, and potentially hard to incorporate well in a new space. This couch is perfect because it can just as easily serve as the main seating as it is here, or divide a large room.

Chairs: InMod, Couch: Room & Board, Barstools: Eric Trine, Coffee Table: Molteni

The chairs from InMod have custom cushions that were made by Patio Lane with Ralph Lauren fabric. The original InMod cushions were very low quality but the chairs are solid walnut. The Molteni coffee table was purchased off the floor as a sample for 50% off.

Monkey painting: designer made, Woven chair: designer made, Bookshelf: Sapien Amazon, Chairs: InMod with Patio Lane custom cushions, Table Lamp: Neiman Marcus

What made this apartment fun was I had to start from scratch. This provided a lot of fun challenges to get the best deals and make the most from the least. So many elements in this home were made by hand such as the dining room table, the dining chairs, the woven leather chair, most of the artwork and the bar cabinet.