Mix This With That: Reading Nooks

Hello! I meant to post yesterday but we’ve been having so much fun making new friends down under the day got away from me. This time of year as the weather turns colder in the States, we all look for places to curl up with a tablet, shelter mags, or good book to pass the time with a cozy blanket over your lap.

reading nook thoughtful place

via a thoughtful place

I invited five stylish blogger friends to “Mix This With That” and the challenge was to create a chic reading nook complete with chair (or chaise), side table, lamp, and accent pillow. I spent time with all five of these ladies at the Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event in September and I’m happy they’re all here today to mix chairs, lamps, and accents to create a reading corner.

I’ve followed Jennifer of Rambling Renovators for years, she’s delightful both in person and on her popular blog and displays amazing taste in her adventures in decorating and renovation!

jennifer mix this with that

“This look is all about mixing modern and traditional. The graceful lines of the side table and linen chaise (perennials classic weave in fog) play against the fashion forward accent pillow (how fun is the exposed brass zipper) and the minimal yet delicate table lamp. This reading nook would look striking in my imaginary bedroom suite, but it’s comfortable enough that I could happily read myself to sleep in that chaise.”

~ Jen

Emily A. Clark is a favorite, always sharing her design tips and tricks on decorating with amazing style along with her insights on motherhood. Emily’s reading corner combines two of my faves, deep pink and indigo.

 emily mix this with that

Emily grounded her corner with the manchester chaise in bold magenta velvet – the iconic chiang mai blue accent pillow adds dramatic flair. Partnered with a budget friendly navy blue accent table and the pharmacy pole lamp, she creates a corner  where anyone would love to spend an hour or two.

. .

I met Darlene of Fieldstone Hill Design in person a few months ago but have loved reading her blog for over a year. She has such an eye for great design and I look forward to her decorating posts, she is always teaching us something new!

darlene mix this

Darlene mixed the oh so luxurious avery chair with a casual yet contrasting pillow in taupe and mint. The side table is a conversation piece with its intricate detail, the cone floor lamp highlights the reading material of whomever is lucky enough to sit right here!

Kristin of Bliss at Home is an inspiration, she manages to do it all and I marvel at her talents! Super mom, designer, and blogger, she’s definitely one to follow!

kristin mix this with that

“Reading is one of the ways I love to relax, so I opt for a chaise over a chair. Feet up! Relaxation is all sensory so a soft velvet pillow adds some comfort to the lounging. A great reading lamp is key and I am so into the lamps and lighting Rejuvenation is putting out right now. A table is a must to set your coffee mug on and I dig the modern tulip table to mix with the traditional.”

~ Kristin

I’ve followed Megan of Honey We’re Home for years, she and I share a dedication to fitness and she’s about to become a mom again! Megan has classic style and flawless taste!

megan mix this

“I have this chair and it is very nice in person at a great price point! I think that faux fur throw pillow is so cozy for the holidays! :)” Also shown is the terrace side table and petite arc metal floor lamp, both from West Elm.

Do these ladies know how to style a reading nook or what? Thanks so much Jennifer, Emily, Darlene, Kristin, and Megan for pulling together such inspirational spaces, I’d take ANY of them, wouldn’t you?!


10 Must-Have Rustic Chic Home Decor Gifts!

Image source: Burke Decor

Image source: Burke Decor

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I really love a rustic chic style; it’s kind of my own style.

And even though I like to work on all kinds of projects, it’s especially fun when I get a project that aligns with my own personal aesthetic.


I’ve done a little shopping.

For me, for you, and anyone you know who has this similar style in their home.


This style combines texture, natural materials, some bronze, gold, and silver metallic touches.

I like touches of black for contrast, rustic wood tones, and maybe one accent color. The more varied the colors you put in a space are, the less likely the natural, textural elements will stand out. So I’m not a fan of a cacophony of color in spaces that are designed in this style.

I do like large, oversized items. That tray is large and gorgeous; we used it in a client’s home recently for her coffee area. It’s quite impressive.

Click here to purchase!

Click here to purchase!

I’ve used the bronze knot several times on projects, it’s sort of my go-to accessory, and it’s becoming a bit of signature for me. It appeals to many and works in lots of different types of spaces. Everyone picks it up and handles it, as it feels good to the touch.

Click here to purchase!

Click here to purchase!

Petrified wood decor items are so hot now. I love these nesting tables from Interlude. They can go anywhere to help fill in a room and add a little style.


This little shopping trip below has some items that would be perfect gifts for the rustic chic style lover in your life.

Happy Shopping! 😉

10 Must-Have Rustic Chic Home Decor Gifts!


Decorative Banded Knot


Zambia Bowl Horn


Declan Bone Tray


Ikat Bands Pillow


Throw Pillow


Storage Box


Drop Vase


Brass Bowl


Nesting Tables


Alabaster Frame

Installing Laminate Flooring in an Enclosed Porch

Dear Bob and Betsy,

I just finished building an enclosed porch onto my home. It’s enclosed with four walls so I’m able to keep all water out and keep the temperature somewhat in control. The room has window walls on three sides so I get ample sunshine. I don’t always turn on the heater or cooler out there so the temperature does fluctuate a little more than the rest of the house. I’d like to install some whitewash laminate to complete the look of my beach home. Can I install laminate flooring in an enclosed porch with so much direct sunlight and without me running the a/c and heater out there everyday?

Thanks! Lauren C.

Dear Lauren,

Congratulations on your new addition! It sounds like you’ll have a great retreat to go enjoy your backyard or views.

Enclosed patios are a unique type of room. It sounds like you have some of the most common challenges that go along with these rooms, including climate control concerns and consistent UV rays.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

The Direct Sunlight 

The direct sunlight is less of a concern with laminate flooring. Unlike hardwood flooring, which can fade quickly when exposed to sunlight regularly, laminate is able to withstand UV rays.

The top layers of your flooring are decorative and protective. The whitewashed wood design you’re interested in is actually a high-definition print out; it’s not real wood. This is beneficial to you (and many other homeowners in your position) because it lets you have a stunning floor in an area where hardwood and engineered hardwood couldn’t last as long.

The color and pattern on your laminate flooring should last you for years, even in the harsh sunlight.

Climate Control 

The lack of climate control is a different story. Climate control is essential for all types of flooring with natural elements – laminate included.

Although decorative layers top your laminate, the bulk of the flooring is made up of wood, a natural material.

The inner core layer is the largest part of a plank of laminate flooring. It is made up of a high density fiberboard using fibers from real wood. It is infused with a plastic resin to make it more stable, but this does not solve the issue of expansion and contraction.

In a non-climate controlled room (or one that isn’t regularly controlled), you can see a large fluctuation in temperatures. This can put an unusual amount of stress on your flooring, causing it to expand and contract regularly. Over time, this can weaken the joints and could lead to your floors buckling.

Unless you plan to keep your room at a consistently temperate range, we recommend not using laminate flooring in this part of your home.

Did this help? Get more answers to common questions about your flooring needs by signing up for our newsletter.

The post Installing Laminate Flooring in an Enclosed Porch appeared first on Passion for Home – Bestlaminate Blog.

DIY Gemstone Garland

Greetings! Today (as I’ve said a billion times) we’re still traveling outside the country, but I wanted to pop in and share this really simple DIY project that’s easy and festive and adds a bit of bling to your home for the holidays. Before I left, I strung a garland of large beads that mimic gemstones across my mantel.


I was in the mood for jewel tone colors and faceted shapes this season – this garland is  like jewelry for your tree or mantel and is made with large faceted beads that mimic gemstones.


To recreate you’ll need large gemstone like faceted beads available on Etsy (see sources below) and elastic stringing cord found in the jewelry making section at Michaels.

The elastic stringing cord comes in a few colors, I chose silver for the season and to complement the blue and green beads. The 1mm size fits perfectly inside the bead so you can string them easily by hand. Notice how large the beads are, they’re over 1½ inches wide.

thread thin cord

 The technique is so simple: create a double knot a few inches down the cord to start, string the first bead, then create a second double knot on the other side to secure the bead in place so it doesn’t slide up and down the garland. Repeat the double knot technique down the cord allowing about an inch or two between the beads.


It takes some time, so I put on a movie while I made this. I also kept it wrapped around a piece of cardboard (not shown) as it got longer to avoid any tangles.

gemstone garland in progress

The elastic cord makes it easy for the garland to drape nicely on a mantel, and the double knots hold the beads in position. It would be equally as pretty strung on a tree! I like that the beads are chunkier and faceted compared to the traditional small circular beaded garland available this time of year.

gemstone garland swag

These large gemstone shaped faceted beads come in dozens of colors, I purchased mine from Swoon and Shimmer and Fox Supply, they’re the kind used for statement bracelets and necklaces.

 faceted beads

 14 beads of each color (total 42) made a gemstone garland 5 yards long.


 gemstone garland strung on mantel

Use the garland year after year to bring the bling for the holidays! ..

Aging in Style

Odd as it may sound, one of the hottest trends in architecture and design this year is design for aging. As more and more baby boomers approach retirement age, they, and their adult children, are thinking about the house they are going to live in over the next few decades. Many already are making modifications to their current home or drawing up plans for their next, best home. And today, they have many more options than they would have had even a few years ago.

Design for aging has, well, matured in recent years. Gone are the days when “age-friendly” meant institutional. Today’s age-friendly homes incorporate accessibility, safety, security, and ease of maintenance in contemporary and stylish designs using the latest appliances, fixtures, technology, materials and colors. These are homes designed for a casual but active lifestyle. Spacious, open layouts provide ample room for entertaining and family gatherings. Rooms can be easily adapted to suit multiple purposes, such as a home office that quickly converts into a guest room. They also are eco-conscious, designed to maximize the use of natural light and to conserve energy and water.

Whether you’re thinking of remodeling or buying a new home or condo, an interior designer can guide you through the many options available to make your next house your best house. Designers have an in-depth knowledge of the materials, products and techniques to seamlessly integrate age-friendly enhancements into the look that complements your taste and lifestyle, ensuring you will “age in style.”

Let us help you find the designer that’s just right for you. We provide tailored designer referrals at no cost to you. Contact us to schedule a personal, confidential consultation.

Celebrity Homes: Ellen DeGeneres’s California Ranch Home

Ellen DeGeneres is everywhere. She’s a comedian, actress, writer, producer, and, of course, television host. She’s a spokespoerson, activist and humanitarian. She also has several homes and fashion lines!

As if all that isn’t enough, in her free time (though we’re not sure how she finds any) she is passionate about redesigning houses and interior design. She turned that passion into a reality with her hit HGTV design competition show that is going into it’s second season in 2016.

Her most recent project was designing and upgrading a horse ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Ellen DeGeneres’ California ranch is made up of 8 cabins, several barns, horse stables, and beautiful landscapes. She and wife Portia de Rossi took twelve short months to spruce up and decorate every space, living in each cabin as they redid it.

Here’s a look at our favorite details of their horse ranch makeover:

Cabin 8’s Living Room

Cabin 8’s living room has a warm and inviting feel. There is light flooding in through a wall of windows, brightening up the room and making it feel cozy yet open. The black brick wall containging the fireplace provides friendly look next to the bright white of the walls and wood beamed ceilings.

Ellen Degeneres Home

Photo Credit: TODAY.com

The Horse Barn

Even though the horse barn is still used for horses, Ellen gave it her personal touch. She decorated one stall as a sitting room with antique furniture and elegant framed bird prints. The barn floor is done with rubber tiles and the entryway area has seating as well as an antique French workbench.

Ellen DeGeneres Horse Stalls

Photo Credit: TODAY.com

The “Romantic Barn”

The Romantic Barn serves as the game room for ping pong and poker and has hosted many famous friends. The room has 20th century factory lamps (a gift to Portia from Ellen on their first wedding anniversary) and other vintage or antique furnishings.

Ellen DeGeneres Ranch

Photo Credit: TODAY.com

The Outdoor “Living Room”

There’s an outdoor living area located in the pasture under a large oak tree. It’s made up of a beautiful wooden pergola with billowing curtains on one side with a day bed and wicker sofa underneath. This is an amazingly a picturesque spot to relax, would you agree?

Ellen DeGeneres Interior Design

Photo Credit: TODAY.com

What’s your favorite part about Ellen’s horse ranch? You can follow Ellen on Facebook or Twitter.

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The post Celebrity Homes: Ellen DeGeneres’s California Ranch Home appeared first on Passion for Home – Bestlaminate Blog.