Friday, March 29, 2013

'Five Things" Friday - Easter Edition

Happy Good Friday. Easter is on Sunday and I'm looking forward to celebrating the very special day of Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection! Our weekend will be filled with Easter egg hunts, an exciting church service and brunch with family. Today's 'Five Things' edition touches on some festive ideas in celebration of Easter & spring. Enjoy! What do you have planned for the weekend? Wishing you a wonderful Holiday weekend :) xoxo - Julie
One. My son Luke with the Easter Bunny for the very first time. He wasn't scared at all - he was actually quite comfortable in the bunny's snugly arms :) [Photo via Instagram: juliethigpen]

Two. How beautiful are these cake pops, dusted in gold with little stars? These would make a great Easter dessert! Recipe and image source found on Sweetapolita.
Three. I adore this Striped Pleated Skirt Dress from the Loft - it's so fresh for spring! I actually tried it on last weekend and may have to go back and buy it. Would look so cute with nude pumps and gold jewelry. Anyone get dressed up for Easter Sunday?

Four. DIY Sprinkle Easter Eggs via StudioDIY blog. Such an original and fairly easy way to dress up your eggs! 

 Five. This incredible tablescape shouts "spring"! I love the idea of using coffee mugs for flowers at each setting. And the lemonade served in mason jars?! Love! If you're in need of a last minute tablescape idea for Easter or a spring brunch you're hosting, this look is simple, fresh and easy. [Image Source]


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Inspiration Snapshot: DIY Bookcase Makeover

How fabulous is this bookcase?! It was transformed from a simple white piece of furniture to a stylish statement piece by blogger Sarah Gunn, just by using a stencil + paint (and a little patience)! I thought it was wallpaper at first glance, but she used a stencil from Royal Design Studio. Click here to see the before & after and click here for step-by-step instructions. Have you used stencils on any decorating projects? The wheels are spinning in my head on what I could do with some paint and a cool stencil around my apartment...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Review: Around Beauty by Barbara Barry

Thanks to the fabulous team at Rizzoli, I had the pleasure of reviewing Barbara Barry's very first book, Around Beauty, and absolutely loved it. Barbara Barry was one of the first designers that caught my eye and became a favorite when I was in design school. She has such a signature style. Clean, crisp, beautiful, elegant, balanced, timeless - all of these words come to mind when I see her work. Around Beauty is centered around the very thing that inspires Ms. Barry on a daily basis: beauty. The first sentence of the book she says, "when I think about what moves me most in life, it's beauty." Ms. Barry takes you on a journey through her design approach, process and all of the things that inspire her along the way. Through Barbara's eyes, you can find beauty and inspiration just about anywhere - through a blooming peony, a turning leaf, a snail's shell, a single piece of furniture in a room, watercolor - you just have to take the time to notice those small details so many of us overlook on a daily basis. Each chapter is filled with stunning photos of interiors and close-ups of the fine details that make the space so special. She walks you through some of her amazing projects, including her own home, and let's you in on the process of how everything came together, what inspired the color scheme, and much more.

In Barbara’s world, every detail is harmonious. Comprehensive and beautifully designed, this unique book is a collector’s piece for all design fans. I'm obsessed with design books and this is one just became one of my favorites. If you have a passion for design and beautiful things, you will really enjoy Around Beauty, I promise you that! Below are some snapshots I took to give you a peak inside the book. Enjoy!



Monday, March 25, 2013

Quote of the Week

  "There's always room for another lamp. But remember - low wattage for diva lighting."

- Jonathan Adler, Happy Chic Accessorizing

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I spent a couple days at the beach with my family and had a blast! The weather was perfection. Wishing you a fabulous and productive week :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Celebrating Five Years!

Wow...It's hard to believe that I began this little blog 5 years ago! I was in a very different place back then, working as a project manger at a busy design firm that was eventually brought down by the sinking economy. After being laid off, I took a leap of faith and started my own interior design business. During those uncertain times, Belle Maison was what truly kept me focused on my passion and motivated me to keep pushing forward. Over the course of 5 years I have developed some wonderful friendships with fellow bloggers and readers, networked and collaborated with some incredible brands, had the opportunity to travel to several different states on behalf of my blog, and have had the chance to connect with my fabulous and loyal readers. Your comments, emails and encouragement through the years means more to me than you'll ever know. I truly hope that I've inspired you in one way or another, whether it's been to make your home more beautiful, to take a chance and paint your bedroom wall bright teal or to start your very own blog. God continues to bless me in life, even through the rough patches (and there have been many over the last couple years). I can honestly sit here today and say that I'm filled with so much joy. I have so many things in life to be thankful for, like my adorable son Luke and my husband Ryan. Let me tell you, there have been a million nights where my husband has waited patiently to watch a show or movie with me, while I work away on the next day's blog post. Although he may not always understand why I put so much effort into Belle Maison, he knows it's so very special to me, which is why he just lets me continue doing my thing, year after year, and I love him for that.

And as I'm sure you've noticed, I gave this little blog a (much needed!) overhaul. I worked with Elizabeth from TMC Designs and am very happy with the way it turned out! I figured 5 years deserved a face lift :)  Just having a fresh layout has given me new motivation and excitement to make 2013 the best year yet on Belle Maison! I look forward to recruiting a team of talented contributors to bring you more inspiration, along with continuing on this journey sharing the things that catch my eye and keep my passion for design burning bright! Thank you for following along and I hope you'll continue on this journey with me for the next 5 years.

*** 5 Years of Memories...Events, Projects, Favorite Interiors and Family ***

Much love and gratitude,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Contributors Wanted

Belle Maison is approaching its 5-year anniversary and to celebrate, I'm giving my blog a complete overhaul - something I've wanted to do for a long time! You'll get to see the shiny new layout later this week. Along with the fresh new look of Belle Maison, I've been working on new ideas and ways to bring you better content, more features, etc. Between caring for my 10-month old son while working from home (nearly impossible!), multiple design projects, meeting with clients, answering emails, and trying to have some sort of personal life, I could use some help in the blog department! That's why I'm reaching out to my fabulous readers in search of the first group of Belle Maison contributors. I'd love to recruit 4 - 5 contributors to join my team! The categories I'm looking to cover are:
  • Decorating & Interior Design
  • DIY
  • Beauty & Fashion
  • Food
TIME COMMITMENT: 1 to 2 blog posts per month for 6 months.

EXPERIENCE: You must have your own blog, which you update on a regular basis. I'm searching for bloggers who have a similar aesthetic to mine and are experienced with creating content that's fresh and updated.

CONTENT: Fresh stories / tips / tutorials / ideas...accompanied with pretty photographs and well written copy. All images must have a credit and link to source. The posts you write for Belle Maison can't be posted on your blog, however you can link to the post.

WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU?  This could be a great opportunity to gain more exposure on your blog and maybe make some new connections in the process. You'll  be featured on the Contributors page with a small blurb about you, your photo and a link to your blog.

SUBMISSIONS: Please email me @ julie[at]modernchichome[dot]com with the subject "Contributor" and let me know which category you're interested in, along with a link to your blog. Once the contributors have been selected, I'll contact them via email and announce them on my blog in about 2 weeks.

OTHER SUGGESTIONS OR IDEAS: If you're not interested in becoming a contributor but have some ideas or suggestions for future posts on design related topics, dilemmas, etc., feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post. I'm always on the lookout for new ideas and ways to connect with my readers.

Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing from you! xo - Julie


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Going Bold: Graphic Rugs

When it comes to area rugs, do you prefer a bold print on the floor or something a more subtle? I tend to gravitate toward rugs with large patterns for the floor...I think because they often "anchor" a space and make such a statement. Don't get me wrong, solid and textured rugs definitely have their place and can look beautiful in the right interior, but there's just something about a graphic rug that really does it for me! Here are a few fantastic examples of interiors centered around a bold rug. The key is to balance all that pattern with the right upholstery, pillows and accents. I have a large gray and white chevron rug in my living room and I love it! What are your thoughts on this? Do you have a graphic patterned rug in your home?

[A fabulous pattern in muted colors against a soft gray wall keeps this space from feeling too busy]

[I feel like this Greek key rug really "makes" the entire space! Because of the white walls, a plain rug probably would've made the space a little on the boring side]

[This herringbone print spices up an otherwise neutral / plain jane space]

[The bold print on the floor gives this traditional interior a modern feel]

[This rug works really well alongside the sofa pattern because it's much larger in scale. That's the trick - mix it up with large, medium and small patterns!]

[I feel like you can never go wrong with a bold stripe, especially if it's black and white! This classic pattern really adds a fun pop to this cute living room]

[Sometimes "more is more"! The graphic rug ties the entire space together and looks amazing]


Monday, March 18, 2013

Quote of the Week

"When you live with beautiful things you stimulate your mind, you enjoy life a little bit more."

- Ralph Rucci

[IMAGE SOURCES: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5]


Friday, March 15, 2013

'Five Things' Friday

What a week it's been! My computer stopped working last week and I had wait 6 days until my husband could finally fix it (thank goodness for my iPhone!). And my poor little baby has been teething, which has resulted in him skipping naps / clinging to me every minute of the day, forcing me to stop everything and just be in the moment. I'm pretty sure God was telling me (well, actually forcing me) to slow down and relax. I've been on the go, go, go for months and it was time to pause and refocus. Do you ever just shut everything down so you can take a deep breath and reflect on what's important in your life? Sometimes it's essential! Hope you have a wonderful and happy weekend! I'm off to bake a cake and prep for the small dinner party we're having tonight to celebrate my hubby's birthday. Cheers - xoxo Julie

One. Our dining room doubles as my home office and I finally gave in and completely moved all of my baskets of fabric / wallpaper / tile samples to my closet. Luke just couldn't resist pulling everything out of the baskets and I got tired of constantly trying to stop him. Now he can play with his toys in wins!

Two. Next week marks the 5 YEAR anniversary of Belle Maison! To celebrate, I've been working with a graphic designer on a blog face lift, which I hope to reveal next week. Can't wait!!!

Three. Loving the new prints & wovens line by Mary McDonald for Schumacher. This living room is absolutely gorgeous - the orange, cream and taupe color combination is so unexpected! Click here to see the whole collection.

Four. I need to make a copy of this and hang it above my desk! [Image source]

Five. Zara Home has some exquisite new tabletop accents in time for spring! Colorful dishware, linens and more - perfect for Easter or a fun Sunday brunch.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sneak Peek: Threshold @ Target

I'm a huge fan of Target and shop there WAY too often (I think last year I single-handedly kept them in business), so I'm really excited for the brand-new line they're launching just in time for spring! Threshold is an entirely new line of home products characterized by fresh patterns, higher-quality materials and artistic techniques from around the world. Available in stores and online on March 17, the Threshold collection offers affordable, unprecedented style. Here's a peak of some of my favorites from the Threshold Spring 2013 lookbook. I'm all about the Starburst Wood Mirror (49.99) and the Pintuck Gold Toss Pillow (24.99). What's catching your eye?
Available at Target March 17th...Vine Print Lamp Shade and Blue Ceramic Lamp Base  // Pintuck Gold Toss Pillows // Metal Stool with Wood Top // Brass Hurricanes // Tan and White Diamond with Teal and Pink Reverse Pillows // Ceramic Frame 

Starburst Wood Mirror // Threshold Red Diamond Pattern Poufs // Brass Accent Table

Available at Target March 17th


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Inspiration Snapshot: Small + Stylish Bedroom

I'm dealing with a cranky, teething 10 month old today, which is leaving me with about 60 seconds to do this blog post! Do any of you mommies have days like these? You put the baby down for a nap and as soon as you sit down to answer and email, pay a bill or take a shower they're wide awake and ready to go?! Anyway, I love this bedroom designed by Michelle Adams from Lonny...she did an awesome job creating a cozy, chic, glamorous bedroom with very limited space. The leopard ottomans and polka dot painting add just enough pattern interest without overwhelming the space. Love the gallery style walls, mirrored chests and leopard lamp too!



Monday, March 11, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

'Five Things' Friday

So happy the weekend is finally here! Today I'm continuing my 'Five Things' series, where I share with you the latest things inspiring me, current projects and anything else that's recently caught my eye. Wishing you a fantastic weekend :) xoxo - Julie

One. A snapshot of the art wall I just completed for an employee lounge at a clothing company. I can't wait to show you the rest of the space once it's finished! [See more on Instagram: juliethigpen]

Two. These simple DIY Easter eggs were decorated with temporary tattoos and they look beautiful! [Image Source: Country Living]

Three. Another DIY project to add to my (never ending) list! Came across this canvas silhouette project on Pinterest, created by Christina Williams. Go here for details.

Four. I love this little nook for so many reasons! The oversized wing back chair in one of my favorite Schumacher fabrics / the glossy red dutch door / the great use of an awkward corner with custom built shelves / the warm wall color, Chocolate Souffle by Ralph Lauren. [Image Source: Country Living]

Five. Such a fun and interesting way to display a beautiful book collection! [Image via Pinterest]