Fixing Fairlawn

Our Fixing Fairlawn project came to an end last week as ShopDog packed up their bags and we went in to take pictures of the completed space.

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This Buffalo home started as a literal textbook 80s kitchen. Soffits and all. There was so much that needed to updated, the renovation kind of sprawled into the entire first floor. The clients were great to work with and had a good idea of their style and what they wanted from the beginning.

before kitchen

before kitchen

Soffits…. Soffits everywhere

Soffits…. Soffits everywhere

the wall taken down between the two rooms

the wall taken down between the two rooms

We started with taking the wall down in between the kitchen and dining room in order to be able to put an island in. For the breakfast nook, we ripped out the soffits and actually added about a foot to the existing wall in order to get a larger space for the stove wall.





Wood stain selections. So important!

Wood stain selections. So important!

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The entry tile to the house. We used three different tiles and arranged them in a Buffalo check pattern

The entry tile to the house. We used three different tiles and arranged them in a Buffalo check pattern

We picked clean and crisp finishes - like the bright white cabinets and chrome hardware, and paired them with softer elements - like the wallpaper and the hand-made tile, to balance out the overall look. 

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We went back and forth a few times on brass and black finishes or black and chrome. We ultimately ended up with chrome in the kitchen, and I’m glad we did! In order to get a bit of brass in the renovation, we used it in the powder room.



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The powder room is a lot more moody than the kitchen, but still feels cohesive in the space. I love that they were down for dark shiplap!

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black shiplap.jpg
The transition from wood flooring to the powder room floor we used a brass 3/8” shluter.  Because this room will get so much use, we used an epoxy grout so that it will be way harder to stain, and won’t discolor over time vs if we went with a lighter grout.

The transition from wood flooring to the powder room floor we used a brass 3/8” shluter.

Because this room will get so much use, we used an epoxy grout so that it will be way harder to stain, and won’t discolor over time vs if we went with a lighter grout.

The other updates through out the home included re-sanding and re-staining all the floors, we put up new doors and hardware (such a huge difference!), painted, and re-tiled the entryway. We also took out the front closet doors and replaced them with built-ins. This allowed a more functional mudroom space!

We are really happy with how this project turned out, and if you follow West End you probably have seen us tag @fixingfairlawn on Instagram! The client started the account to document the renovation and it was really fun to see it from her perspective. 

Cheers!

2018... What a YEAR!

Wow guys.

When I set out on this journey 2019 seemed so far away, I thought that I’d never make it. I had lofty goals and set the bar high for myself for my first year in business, so I took a moment to reflect about this past year and look at some of the highs and lows.

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West End is closing out 2018 with 54 client projects. (Holy S@*#!) When I set off I had a goal of 20 in order to make financial ends meet. I was sick to my stomach and so nervous that I wouldn’t make it. It’s been a ton of hard work, long hours, luck, and the people I’ve surrounded myself with that give me unlimited encouragement and collaboration. That last statement was an understatement but I can’t really put into words how much of a whirlwind it is until you do it.

My #1 and #2 supporter

My #1 and #2 supporter

We’ve grown out of our home office rather quickly, and set our sites on opening a studio downtown. I’m sure my husband will be ecstatic that there are no longer tile samples scattered through out the house. We also have 3 part time employees! One of the things I learned right away was trying to do everything myself was impossible. Brining on help was one of the best decisions I made this year.

I took this picture in the beginning of summer in the home office. Right now it’s overflowing into our second bedroom and dining room.

I took this picture in the beginning of summer in the home office. Right now it’s overflowing into our second bedroom and dining room.

Along with all the good, there was also some bad. I’ve learned to call bad situations learning experiences, because they are just that. We aren’t going to make the same mistake twice - and as we are flailing through our first year of business it’s okay to make mistakes. All the experience in the world working for someone else wouldn’t have prepared me for owning a business. We’ve learned what works in terms of our contracts and payment, we’ve formed relationships with those business who are like minded in our philosophy, and left those behind who fell short. We’ve said no to projects that didn’t feel 100% the right fit, after learning that trying to make them work is not worth it.

Sullivan to the rescue

Sullivan to the rescue

I was thinking one day while walking Milo on how to describe what opening a business felt like, and I came up with something along the lines of:

Its like jumping off a bridge and learning to fly and then hitting the water. Then learning how to swim and reaching land. Then you have to learn how to walk, but you realize you’re alone on a remote island LOL. Well, at-least sometimes it feels like that.

Our first magazine Cover!

Our first magazine Cover!

On top of trying to master the business side of it, I’ve pushed myself and the team to think outside the box when it comes designing everyone’s spaces. I’ve consistently been sourcing new tiles, fixtures, lighting, and hardware in order to not source the same thing for different projects. We’ve been blessed with some clients who have given us the green light to some really unique ideas that have turned out fabulous.

Looking forward into 2019 we I’ve set some new goals into place. We are getting the studio in gear o open early in the year. I’m looking forward to finding the balance of being open to the public, but also having a space to spread out and work with all our materials in plain sight. I am messy by nature so that should be an interesting combination. Concentrating on not growing too fast and making sure our systems are in place to accept and successfully manage all the projects that come our way. Sometimes I like to say yes to everything thinking I am a super woman but in reality I can’t spread ourselves too thin. Finding that perfect balance will be something to master in 2019.

Fisher Price in the house (literally) filming a commercial!

Fisher Price in the house (literally) filming a commercial!

We have our first trade show in 2019 and will be traveling to Vegas to attend KBIS. Hoping to bring back all sorts of goodies!

Personally, it’s been quite a year as well. I got married! Wooo! I’ve been lucky to travel almost every month working remotely. When I set off into business I defined my success as work-life balance and whenever I get too stressed I remind myself of that. Looking forward to a beautiful 2019, thanks for all who have been along on the journey.

California

California

Tulum!

Tulum!

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Wedding!

Wedding!

ITALY! Honeymoon

ITALY! Honeymoon

Designing A Guest Room Glow Up

With all the work that goes into designing a house to make it feel like a home, the most rewarding part is when you can share it with all the individuals you love most. While the dining and living areas are the ones that get the most attention for entertainment purposes, I want to instead focus on how to create the perfect space for your out of town guests. So from a gal who loves to play host, (I mean obviously I have to encourage visitors so I can have an excuse to whip out my custom branded Jenga set) here are some of my tips on designing a room that is so warm and inviting that your guests will never want to leave.

One of the ways to create interest in a space is by playing with textures, and don’t be afraid to mix and match. All that matters is that the textures and textiles you select all evoke the same message. For example, the use of velvet and the decorative cotton cord macrame in this room creates a warm feel that says “Hey traveler, come rest your weary feet and relax.” Yup, it’s true. As a designer the textiles just speak to me.

As you may recall, lighting really makes an impact in a space in terms of design and the guest room is no exception. Create more depth by layering the lighting - wall sconces, recessed lighting, floor lamps, a reading light. By providing options it allows your guest to be able to control their environment to reach the ultimate level of comfort. This goes for natural lighting as well. If it is a very bright room, be sure to invest in some solid blackout curtains or shades to allow your guests some reprieve from a sunrise wake up call.

Nothing can make your guests feel more pampered than having stellar bed linens. Quite honestly, it’s just science that high-quality sheets equals a restful night of sleep. I mean just look at this sublime layering of linens from Parachute. Sign me up for an afternoon siesta please and thank you!

Source  @arrowsandbow

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to add a little bit of flair or character that is inherently you. The room should be a tangible extension of your own hospitality so whether you’re someone who loves to make sure their guests are always fed with a mini snack bar stocked with their favorite treats, or you’re someone who loves books so you have a shelf filled with classic or hottest new reads. Do something that really rings true to you and your guests are sure to feel the ultimate sense of welcome.

What are some ways that you’ve made your guest room the ultimate oasis? We love to hear how you’ve found a way to personalize your space!

Unwrapping Our Favorite Places to Source Wallpaper

It’s the most wonderful time of the year- you know where the mall parking lots turns into the hunger games, the Hallmark channel releases a movie with the same storyline that’s brand new, and the only forgiving thing about the guy that keeps wearing the same red suit as last season (and the season before that) is that he brings us nicely wrapped gifts. I mean truly, have you ever received a gift that is so nicely wrapped that you’d be just as happy if you decided not to open it? Well, I believe I might have a solution for you.

West End Interiors  Mid Century Meets Cali Project  / West End Interiors  Pittsburgh Project

West End Interiors Mid Century Meets Cali Project / West End Interiors Pittsburgh Project

Instead of decking your halls with tinsel or holly, why not wrap them in some of the most beautiful wallpaper you have ever seen? Hallways, the kitchen, a bathroom, even the ceiling; the limit does not exist to where it can be used people!!! Essentially, West End Interiors is here to make your home the gift that just keeps on giving. So go ahead and tear through that gift that your Aunt Karen probably spent 20 mins meticulously wrapping, because I am sharing four of our favorite places to source wallpaper for our designs.

I’m about to go out on a limb here to shatter an interior design illusion: you don’t have to break the bank to infuse design into a space. *gasp* Chasing Paper is proof of that with their beautiful high-quality, affordable and most notably removable wallpaper. That’s right commitment phobes, feel free to avoid cuffing season all together this year with these stylish designs. Their selection has a modern and youthful feel that can add character to any space.

There is something that can feel cozy and nostalgic about wallpaper which is exactly what the creators of Hygge & West fell in love with and have infused into the brand. All their wallpapers are handmade and screen printed in the U.S. which heck yes, support local artisans! While their beginnings started with traditional wallpaper, they too have a line of removable wallpaper.

If you seek to work with those that are truly an expert of their craft, look no further than north London’s Cole & Son. Since 1875 they have produced designs that have graced the halls of Buckingham Palace and Parliament, but don’t be fooled by their age. They’ve managed to not only excel at creating traditional wallpapers that withstand the test of time but they also keep up better than the Kardashians with advancing trends by supplying vibrant and modern selections.

Oh Scandinavia, how you strum our heartstrings! If minimalism is your middle name (don’t worry, we’re not judging. Okay we are just a tad…) then Scandinavian Wallpaper is sure to resonate with you. Simplicity and luxe are two things they are exceedingly good at. You can get an up close and personal glimpse of their geometric work at Ugly Duck Coffee in our neighboring city of Rochester, NY!

So which styles call to you? Whichever they may be, come 2019 the West End Interiors showroom will be carrying a selection of wallpapers that are sure to appeal to all varieties of tastes!

Materialism & Interior Design

If were all being honest with ourselves, we have the urge to buy, buy, buy. Luckily for me, I’m constantly buying things for my clients and am able to curve my own spending because I spend so much of my time sourcing and researching items for my projects. By the end of the day, I don’t want to make any more decisions and that is a blessing and a curse.

(Blessing :I don’t spend money

Curse : I can’t even pick what I want for dinner)

I want to explain my thought process when it comes to material items for your home. This borders the line of what an interior designer and what an interior decorator does. Interior Designers (like us) focus more on construction projects, but when that project does come to an end most times we are styling with furniture and merchandise for those open shelves in the kitchen, curios, fireplace mantles, ect. But how much stuff is too much stuff? When do “things” start to lose meaning and functionality and just become clutter? There is a fine line. In the past few years I’ve really struggled with the mindset of the (dare I say) average American consumer. 

How much stuff is too much stuff?

How much stuff is too much stuff?

Minimal Decor

Minimal Decor

My personal approach is to ask myself before suggesting anything to a client is:

“Is this functional?”

“Does it have meaning behind it?”

“Does it add to the space in a way that helps make the room feel complete, but not cluttered?”

“Is this going to make me happy on a daily basis?”

This is personally a little too much “stuff” for me

This is personally a little too much “stuff” for me

I’ve always leaned more towards the side of minimal “decorations” I don’t want to buy stuff to shove on a shelf for the sake of it looking pretty. Yes - sometimes we do that for photoshoots, but for every day living I find keeping it minimal is a lot more enjoyable. It’s less to buy, less to dust, and less stuff you can get sick of. Ever get that feeling that there is too much stuff creeping in and you just want to throw it all out and start new? Yeah - we are trying to avoid that!

As an avid cook & baker this functional set up sings to my soul. Functional Decor = Win.

As an avid cook & baker this functional set up sings to my soul. Functional Decor = Win.

Now, do I love beautiful things? Absolutely. I’m not saying you shouldn’t splurge for a piece that you really love. Makers and crafters put their hearts and souls into their work and projects, and when you see something - like a beautiful hand painted bowl - and you know that every time you walk by if it’s going to make you happy, then I’m all for it. If you’re going to home goods to fill your house with stuff just for the sake of it - I would say hold off and re-evaluate.

I love when clients have collected things over the years that I can find a fun way to display. Whether it’s mugs, or photographs, little figurines (within reason, lol), stamps, postcards, coins - whatever. I’m happy to use those as part of the decor. It has meaning and also gives you a chance to keep collecting these items now have a special place to display them.

For example, I have a collection of coffee mugs. Every time I travel to a new place and see one that I like, I allow myself to purchase it as a souvenir. They sit pretty in my glass front kitchen cabinets where I can see them, and every morning when I have my coffee I pick which one I want to use and theres a happy memory attached it to.

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A cute, colorful, curated collection. These types of display have to be taken into consideration during a renovation because of the specific sizes of the items.

A cute, colorful, curated collection. These types of display have to be taken into consideration during a renovation because of the specific sizes of the items.

using all white creates a textural impact.

using all white creates a textural impact.

How about filling in space with plants instead of decor?

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Plants are a great way to add height to a room.

Plants are a great way to add height to a room.

Everyone has different opinions on decor and their idea of what the perfect amount of “stuff” is. These tips are just a rule of thumb that I like to follow when wrapping up a project.

XO
Raelyn

Look Out Al Roker: West End Interiors 2019 Design Forecast

We’ve officially made it through the first of the major holiday trifecta, and before you know it *blink* the new year will have arrived. While I will be grieving the fact that I’ve only recently nailed down dating things with 2018 (literally… every. damn. year.) I will also be looking forward to hitting the refresh button on design trends. And when I say refresh, I’m talking beyond Pantone’s Color of the Year.

So let’s hit that button, and here’s the challenge I’d like to present to you: instead of investing in a brand new gym membership (it’s always so crowded in January anyways) why not make a resolution this coming year to improve our homes? Trust me, if there’s one thing we know it’s that your home is also trying to be the best version of itself. Here are some upcoming trends I’ve mentally catalogued over the last few months that we are sure to see in 2019.

also note just because we are calling these “trends” does not mean they do not have staying power for years to come ;)

Colorful Statements in Cabinets and Tile

Image Sources: West End Interiors  Argonne Renovation

Image Sources: West End Interiors Argonne Renovation

Ah, color. Life is too short to simply be living the beige sort of life! I’m always trying to find unique ways to incorporate it into my designs. With the Argonne Renovation we used this beautiful shade of green shade from Benjamin Moore on the cabinets to bring some dimension into the kitchen space. Another unique way that color is popping up is in tile, which is why I’m making it a focal point for West End Interior’s first showroom on Main Street in Buffalo, NY (another key thing to look forward to in 2019!) But I’d like to encourage clients to go even bolder with colors, I mean do you see this marigold yellow?? Because quite frankly, I’M HERE FOR IT!

First image is using  Fireclay , a brand that will be carried in our showroom!  Image Sources:  Apartment Therapy  /  Pinterest

First image is using Fireclay, a brand that will be carried in our showroom!

Image Sources: Apartment Therapy / Pinterest

Image Sources:  Curbed NY  /  Pinterest

Image Sources: Curbed NY / Pinterest


Uniquely Shaped Tiles

Image Sources: West End Interiors  Buffalo Loft Project  /  @slabshapers

Image Sources: West End Interiors Buffalo Loft Project / @slabshapers

Okay, time to think outside of the box (or hexagon for that matter.) There’s a whole world of differently shaped tiles out there and I want people to take more notice. I used this beautiful fish scale tile in a recent remodel for transitional flooring and I truly cannot get enough of it. But also, check out this inspiring oblong crystal shaped tile backsplash I discovered. I’m telling you, there’s more out there than squares, rectangles and hexagons.

Modern Traditional Style

Image Sources:  @suzannahstanley  /  @palmandprep

Now some of you may be wondering, “modern traditional?” Yes, it’s as simple as it sounds. Taking cues from traditional style and updating its look a bit. Great design happens when you can find a way to successfully marry different styles.

The traditional side tends to focus more on a neutral but heavily contrasted color scheme, ornate & larger trim details, and brining in accents that have an old world vibe to them - such as an oil painting with a detailed frame, light fixtures, or furniture. With that comes a sense of warmth and familiarity. Then, by incorporating just a few modern elements you add in the feeling of a fresh and new look. We usually mix in modern elements with lighting & clean-lined cabinetry. Nailing this style relies heavily on the lighting and furniture that is picked for the space, and the trim, cabinetry & paint help balance it out.

When the two styles are mixed together you get a really sophisticated & welcoming interior.

Best of both worlds, right?

Image Sources:  Sabbe Interior  /  Alice Lane

Image Sources: Sabbe Interior / Alice Lane

Image Source:  Sabbe Interior

Image Source: Sabbe Interior

Terrazzo

Image Sources:  Bovary  /  Dressing the Room

Image Sources: Bovary / Dressing the Room


Coming back in a big way! Look for a more modern version of it popping up in 2019. Larger aggregates in the mix make the material feel updated vs. thinking you’re walking down a school hallway. And not only will it be showing up in flooring, but in furniture as well. We welcome it with open arms, so much so that we’ll also have samples of Terrazzo at the West End Interiors showroom!

Image Source:  Season is in Colour

Image Source: Season is in Colour

Samples you can expect to see at the  West End Interiors Showroom

Samples you can expect to see at the West End Interiors Showroom

Cabinets with No Hardware

Image Sources:  Behance  /  Contemporist

Image Sources: Behance / Contemporist

Do you enjoy a sleek and minimal look? Then cabinetry with no hardware is definitely something you should consider. The thing I love about this is the thought and craftsmanship that goes into making these one of a kind pieces. Don’t be afraid to get creative with the shape of your “hardware”

Image Sources:  Contemporist  /  Minford

Image Sources: Contemporist / Minford




Dark Colored Moldings & Doors

Image Sources:  @ohfarmhouse  /  @leahmdesign

Image Sources: @ohfarmhouse / @leahmdesign

We’re tired of white trim, right...? Or is it just me. With 2019 comes a revival of contrast and color to pull us out of this all white everything trend. While this look is not always a look for every room or style of home, a dark trim can really draw attention and become an unifying design element throughout a space. We’ve been drawn to medium and dark tone paint colors for our door and trims in the past few projects. We’ve even got an entire room of yellow trim planned for the new year (YEAH, YELLOW!)


Marble Slabs Stealing the Show

Image Source:  Pinterest

Image Source: Pinterest

Marble is a timeless material and is used in a ton of West End projects. We predict that the material will start to get a little more use in larger formats and patterns will be embraced. We have seen it as backsplash before in a kitchen - but shelves, showers, and fireplaces are bound to make a strong debut in 2019.

Image Source:  @pocodesigns

Image Source: @pocodesigns

West End Interiors - Design Trends 2019 - Interior Designer Buffalo NY 16

When Bold Comes Knocking: Front Door Colors That Make a Statement

It’s the best time of year- time to bake some pies, grab your stretchiest pants (I’m talking Joey in Phoebe’s maternity pants) and pack up the car to grandmother’s house we go. During the drive, my annual reflection of how many glasses of wine is deemed “socially acceptable” at family dinner is suddenly interrupted by all the beautiful homes and their front doors decorated for the holiday season.

But it’s not the doors with the most festive fall wreaths that grab my attention, but rather the doors whose owners have defied status quo to paint them in beautiful bold colors. It’s crazy how painting a door can be so easy to do and yet make such a statement. I personally love it when our West End clients are willing to take a walk on the wild side of bold colors. So if your front door is just begging to be dolled up with a splash of paint, here are some #doortraits I found that spoke to me along with some paint recommendations.

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You may have heard how it’s not easy being green, but these doors make me think otherwise. Plus, that dutch door? Killing me. If you’re looking for more growth, balance and prosperity in your life you should consider going green. Some swatches I find complimentary are Benjamin Moore’s Absolute Green or Farrow & Ball’s Arsenic.

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Now here me out you “millennial pink” naysayers, because I’m kind of here for this design moment. I mean if Wes Anderson can bathe an entire hotel in it, why not your front door? The color pink welcomes in friendship, harmony and inner peace. Take a glance at Benjamin Moore’s Mixed Fruit or Farrow & Ball’s Pink Ground. Come on, you know you want to!

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Excuse me while I have a moment to relive my Roman holiday honeymoon as well as this moment when I stumbled across this gem. With little slice of modern in an ancient oasis, you couldn’t help but stop and stare, am I right? (It’s okay, I know I’m right) The color yellow represents optimism, enlightenment and joy. If you’re looking to try that on for size why not look into Benjamin Moore’s Bold Yellow or Farrow & Ball’s Citron.

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I get this sense that orange sometimes gets a bad rep. Just because there’s no other word that rhymes with it doesn’t make it any less of a great color guys! Personally at West End we’re really digging the burnt orange vibes. It’s said that orange is the color of adventure, risk taking and independence. Why not try Benjamin Moore’s Racing Orange or Dragon’s Blood (yes, I may have selected this for the name alone.)

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Grab your painters tape, we’re about to get real funky. Now even though this isn’t really a color, I love this awesome use of a chevron pattern. Props to this fella who apparently only spent $50 to create this beauty. I mean, it really speaks for itself: eye-catching, artistic and youthful. Isn’t that an awesome kind of energy you’d like to welcome guests with?

No matter what the color, or pattern, you’d like to use on your front door, West End Interiors asks that you consider all the possibilities out there. Worst comes to worst, you can always paint it back to plain white if you’d like. We have a feeling that won’t be the case though.

Let There Be Light: My Favorite Sources for Light Fixtures

So here’s a bright idea- let’s discuss lighting. Don’t worry, I’ll see myself out...

But really, I think we have all been a witness to a sad boob light at least once in our lifetime or have seen a room that appears to have so much character and charm in the daytime but for some reason it is nowhere to be found after the sundown. So let’s shed some more light on this issue, shall we? Okay, okay- last one, I promise.

West End Interior Designer Buffalo NY - Light Fixtures 1.jpg

The key to design and creating a truly elevated space is to infuse your personality into every detail, and sometimes that requires you to look above eye level. If your design preference is more contemporary, tie it together with a modern fixture. Trying to create a soft feminine feel? Find a piece that reflects that as well. Selecting lighting is a crucial part of our design process at West End so I’m going to share with you four of our favorite sources for fixtures:

  • There is something to be said about things that are handcrafted and locally made, although in this scenario when I say local I’m keeping it within the parameters of New York State. Allied Maker is based in Long Island, NY and owned by a couple who act as both the artisan designer and manufacturer. They work with raw materials such as brass, alabaster and wood to create pieces that are sleek, modern and truly one of a kind.

Source:  Allied Maker  / Source:  Allied Maker

Source: Allied Maker / Source: Allied Maker

  • For someone that is looking for a balance of high end and more affordable, Schoolhouse Electric is a great option. Not exclusively focused on lighting, this home goods company collaborates with various artists to create an eclectic collection of quality and one of a kind goods. Although it is based in Portland, Oregon we’re fortunate to have fairly easy access to one of their East coast showrooms in Pittsburgh, PA. Trust me, it’s worth the drive.

  • An important thing to embrace in design is variety in textures. It’s not about everything being matchy-matchy per say, as much as it is about finding pieces that utilize different materials that compliment one another. Serena & Lily happens to do this exceptionally well. Their home goods line features a variety of styles of lighting, however the ones that personally resonate with me are fixtures that utilize natural materials such as woven rattan or even concrete. It’s a unique way to incorporate texture into design outside of the traditional rug or throw pillow.

Source:  Serena & Lily  / Source:  Serena & Lily

Source: Serena & Lily / Source: Serena & Lily

  • Don’t worry traditionalists, I promise I haven’t forgotten about you. It’s common when people here traditional that they associate it with being outdated. On the contrary, I believe a traditional style executed well results in a space that is timeless. The Urban Electric Company does a great job of evoking a sense of tradition with a modern twist in their light fixtures by seeking inspiration from classic architecture, such as Chelsea Bridge in London for this lantern pendant.

Take note next time you’re in a space that you feel is well put together. What kind of light fixtures do they have? What type of material is it made of? Soon you’ll begin to understand more the importance of the phrase, “setting the mood” and why lighting plays such a huge role in that.








The Bad Wedding

I always thought the hype around a wedding  day was overplayed. So did Jon. Man were we wrong.

When we set out on our wedding planning journey, we knew that we wanted to do something different. We desperately didn’t want to get married in a banquet hall, and longed for an experience with our guests that lasted longer than 6 hours. Our goal was to create a summer camp vibe for everyone that lasted all weekend. I’d like to think we were pretty successful!

Our invitations

Our invitations

For our venue we chose Long Lake, NY- right in the heart of the Adirondacks, it’s a place where Jon and I spend a lot of time all year round. His family has a house there, and we are lucky enough to come and go as we please. As you enter the park, you can feel your blood pressure drop. Theres really nothing like it. The clean air, the mountain views, the pristine water of the lakes, just beautiful. Long Lake is about a 4.5 hour drive from Buffalo, so we knew we had to make it a weekend event for it to be worth it to our guests the travel that far. 


sunset.JPG

Our venue was at a public pavilion, on top of a hill overlooking Long Lake. The venue itself was free, (SCORE!) but needed a lot of work to bring it to my standards. I knew I wasn’t going to be a bridezilla, but there were times where it peaked through because coordinating a wedding is stressful AF. We chose the last weekend in July to celebrate. Two days before the wedding it rained like I had never seen before, and I was worried all week as there was a forecast for rain - but luckily for the weekend the sun was shining and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. Some sort of higher power above arranged that for us and we are grateful.

jon and milo.jpg

The prep that goes into a wedding is maddening. My mom helped a TON with all the decorations, thoughtful things for our guests like making huge food baskets for everyone at the hotel?! Blankets, bubbles, bathroom baskets, smores station, signs, pie stands, you name it and my mom thought of it! So really, when I say wedding planning is stressful it may have been in combination with opening a new business and making approximately two thousand decisions a day, LOL. In the end, the party was worth all the preparation.

Truthfully, the one piece of advice that we listened to from everyone was to not spend a lot of money. We stuck to that and made sure when we were making decisions that we took into consideration what would really matter for the weekend. We knew the most important things were food, beer, and ambiance, so thats where we focused our time and money.

Our guests arrived on Friday through out the day.  We rented out three cabins next to Jon’s house on the lake and all of our friends stayed there. It was great to be able to walk from house to house, barefoot, with beer in hand and see all of our closest friends. That was one of my favorite parts.

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I had to LOL

I had to LOL

Jon’s parents threw our rehearsal dinner with our bridal party and close family - picnic style. Paninis, salad, coleslaw, potato salad, just straight up good camp food! It was delicious and prepped us to party for the night ahead.

On Friday night we met everyone at the hotel where the majority of our guests were staying. There is a huge porch that overlooks Long Lake, and we jammed about 100 people onto it. The place was alive and rockin’! It was great to be able to see everyone the night before and took the pressure off to mingle on our wedding day.

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On Saturday morning, we spent a few hours at the venue getting ready for the party! We had a crew of family and friends about 20 people strong who helped us prep everything. This was such a huge help and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. From moving all the picnic tables, hanging the globes, stringing the lights, setting the chairs and tables, the bar, the food tables - there was a lot to do! We are so thankful that everyone pitched in and did a fantastic job. 

My cousins helping out. Love them!

My cousins helping out. Love them!

For the set up, I had always pictured how the pavilion would look at sunset and at night. We didn’t want to use the overhead fluorescent lights that the pavilion, so we strung lights from one end to the other to make it glow. The lights mixed in with all the paper lanterns we hung really gave it a beautiful ambience. 

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For the flowers, my mom and I went shopping in early June and bought a ton of potted plants. She replanted them and kept them alive until the event, and thats what we used to fill the canoe for the backdrop of our ceremony. The canoe, visually, was my favorite thing at the wedding. It came out even better than I had imagined and framed us perfectly as we said our vows. The only flowers that we had professionally done were the flower crowns, bouquets, and boutonnieres. My mother in law bought wholesale flowers and spent the morning in town with a florist putting them together. They came out GREAT! For the centerpieces we chose to do ferns, which we picked on their property and stapled them to the table. It was super windy up there during the day, so I was afraid if I just left them they’d all blown away. Come time for the reception some of them were crinkly - but whatever, it was perfect to me!

Flamingo napkins for the win.

Flamingo napkins for the win.

A vendor of mine was kind enough to let me borrow these beautiful rugs for the ceremony. They made the whole space!

A vendor of mine was kind enough to let me borrow these beautiful rugs for the ceremony. They made the whole space!

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My sister made this fabulous scene for people to take photos with.

My sister made this fabulous scene for people to take photos with.

The last thing I did was set the tables and the greenery and then I was off to get ready!


My bridal party and I got ready at a beautiful camp right next to Jon’s house, and the boys got ready a few doors down. It was super informal, and we played music and drank mimosas and did each others hair and makeup. If you know me, I am not glitzy and glam so I didn’t want to do full blown hair and makeup on my wedding day because thats just not who I am. 

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Jon and I knew that we wanted to read our vows to each other prior to reading to them at the ceremony. We chose the end of his dock to do so, after a game of rock, paper, scissors for who went first. I’m glad we did this first, because we couldn’t get through them without sobbing and it was one of the most special moments to me to have that to ourselves. After the sob fest, we took some pictures by ourself and with our wedding party and got ready to head to the venue.

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pro tip: hanna was running out of the frame after throwing my veil up LOL

pro tip: hanna was running out of the frame after throwing my veil up LOL

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Birkenstocks for wedding shoes!

Birkenstocks for wedding shoes!

My first true love

My first true love

Jon’s Best Man, Joey. I love this picture.

Jon’s Best Man, Joey. I love this picture.

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my people, i love you so much!

my people, i love you so much!

We reserved the drunk bus in town to take our guests to and from where they were staying. No drinking and driving, ever! Jon and I stayed behind with Milo and made our way to the venue with Jon’s dad.

When we arrived the venue, I was so excited to see all of our friends and family sitting there waiting for us. It was really perfect.


Our vows covered a recap of what we’ve learned from each other, the experiences we cherished through out our relationship, and our promises to each other. When I say everyone was crying, there was not a dry eye in sight. At one point we looked over at everyone sitting and had to chuckle at how hard everyone was crying. We took it as a compliment.

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Our suggested dress code was Hawaiian shirts & floral! Look at how awesome everyone looks LOL!!

Our suggested dress code was Hawaiian shirts & floral! Look at how awesome everyone looks LOL!!

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Milo accidentally ripped my veil off during the ceremony, but it’s okay because he’s sooo cute :)

Milo accidentally ripped my veil off during the ceremony, but it’s okay because he’s sooo cute :)

Joey in the background, LOL

Joey in the background, LOL

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After our vows, it was time to party! We had Dino BBQ roast a whole pig. Milo followed me the entire day until the pig was served, then he sat under it the entire time LOL! We had local beers from the Adirondack region, and wine for our guests. By the end of the night, we kicked all the kegs and the wine, and even went through all the bottles of liquor my father-in-law snuck in LOL it was quite the party!

We opted for pies instead of cake. Yum!

We opted for pies instead of cake. Yum!

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Dancing the night away with all of our friends and family was my favorite part. Jon and I created the playlist over the past 6 months, and let it play through to the very end. I loved this way of doing it because we were in total control of what was playing, and we are not into the typical wedding playlists (sorry… no black eyed peas lol).

(warning, we like to party shown in the pictures below)

All of the parents!

All of the parents!

This was within the first 5 minutes of the music going on lol

This was within the first 5 minutes of the music going on lol

A family that loves to dance!

A family that loves to dance!

I wish I knew what song was on!

I wish I knew what song was on!

Did I mention we love to dance?

Did I mention we love to dance?

The end of the night ended with a gathering at the hotel with everyone who wanted to keep partying! I have to admit this part is a little foggy for me, but hey! I know it was a good time!

Overall, we walked away feeling so much love, so grateful, and appreciative. People always say that it’s the best day of your life, and I don’t think that we believed that until we were in it. I couldn’t imagine it going any better. The only thing that makes me upset is that we only got to do it once. However, we are thinking that a renewal of our vows is due every year on the same weekend so we always have an excuse to party.

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